Achieving success on Instagram can be a challenge, especially with its large user base and multiple time zones. But with a well-planned strategy to post regularly and at the right times, you can significantly increase Instagram engagement and gain more followers.
Since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012, the platform has grown immensely in popularity. Today, Instagram boasts 2 billion monthly active users, making it the fourth most-used social media platform and the fifth most visited website worldwide.
With so many users, standing out requires not just great content but also the right timing. Posting consistently and scheduling posts during peak times can make all the difference.
Instagram’s dynamics are ever-evolving, and understanding the best times to share content, be it Instagram Reels, stories, or regular posts, is crucial. By analyzing Instagram analytics and observing the performance of previous posts, you can tailor your strategy to match the habits of your primary audience.
This guide, backed by industry-specific data, will provide insights into the optimal times to post on Instagram, helping you connect more effectively with your audience and enhance your brand’s presence.
Instagram Algorithm Updates for 2023
Navigating Instagram’s frequently changing algorithm can be challenging. The latest shift emphasizes “new” content, making it vital for brands to post consistently and produce unique, captivating content to boost engagement.
Recent trends show Instagram’s growing focus on original, engaging content. In 2022, a pivotal announcement revealed that re-shared content would take a backseat in the feed, highlighting the importance of originality. This change underscores the rewards awaiting brands that tailor content to their audience. Merely re-posting won’t cut it anymore; it diminishes reach and engagement.
For brands eyeing success in 2023, the mantra is clear. Produce high-quality, visually compelling content that resonates with your followers. Consistency in generating such content is the key to piercing through the algorithmic veil and ensuring visibility.
Why is timing so crucial?
The algorithm gauges the engagement patterns and metrics of your posts, especially the speed at which they garner attention. Observing how posts perform throughout the week can give insights into when your top-performing posts are most likely to be seen. For instance, many brands have noticed higher engagement rates during after-work hours or during lunch breaks – these could be considered your peak times for posting.
Finding the perfect post time might be a puzzle, but it’s worth the effort. Audience members are more likely to engage with your content on a Friday night or Saturday evening, leading to more engagement. Imagine the impact when 98% of your followers see your post or story instantly. Rapid likes and comments on your Instagram Reels or regular posts signal Instagram about the content’s quality, amplifying its reach. This is why observing when other brands, especially global brands, start posting can offer valuable insights.
Now, let’s explore deeper into the winning formula…
The Best Time To Post On Instagram
To thrive on Instagram, understanding your audience’s behavior and engagement metrics is paramount. As the platform evolves, so should your strategy. Recent updates have shown that Instagram is placing a significant emphasis on “new” and original content, making it crucial to not only produce quality post content but also to time it right.
Your optimal Instagram posting times, be it for Instagram stories or regular posts, will be influenced by your specific audience’s Instagram engagement patterns. Dive deep into Instagram’s analytics to understand when your audience is most active and to discern how your posts perform on different days and times. For instance, if you notice a higher engagement rate during after work hours or early afternoon, those might be your peak time for posting.
For education brands or those targeting a global audience in the same time zone, it’s essential to adjust your posting schedule accordingly. This ensures that your content isn’t lost amidst the plethora of posts and gets the visibility it deserves.
Experimentation remains key. While general insights suggest active times on Instagram are during weekday mornings, lunch breaks, and evenings, as well as weekends, your Instagram Reels posts might deviate from this pattern. Monitor how your content performs on different days; for instance, if you notice a dip in engagement on a particular day posted, it might be less optimal for posting.
Pro tip: Instagram’s “Story Highlights” feature is invaluable. Given the ephemeral nature of an Instagram story, “Story Highlights” allows you to extend their lifespan, ensuring they reach audience members who might have missed them initially. This is especially useful if you’re targeting multiple time zones, ensuring your content remains accessible.
To ensure social success, consider creating a content calendar to schedule posts effectively. This not only helps in maintaining consistency but also in generating post ideas that resonate with your ideal buyer personas.
What Are The Best Days To Post On Instagram
Determining the best time to post on Instagram is a blend of understanding your audience’s behavior, your Instagram posts geographical location, and the nuances of the Instagram algorithm. While the times provided below offer a general guideline, it’s essential to remember that optimal posting times can vary based on where your audience is located and how they’ve engaged with your content in the past. Consistent posting and engagement history can also influence how the algorithm prioritizes your content.
Note: All times mentioned are based on Eastern Standard Time (EST).
The best time to post on Instagram on Sunday
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sundays are for relaxation and family. Whether it’s brunch moments or family outings, Instagram engagement surges, peaking around noon. However, by evening, activity slows as users prepare for the week ahead.
The best time to post on Instagram on Monday
6 a.m, 12 p.m, 10 p.m.
Mondays mark the start of the workweek. Engagement for Instagram posts spikes in the early morning, during lunch breaks, and late at night. The morning surge can be attributed to commuters catching up on social media, while the late-night spike is when users unwind.
The best time to post on Instagram on Tuesday
6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday sees a more even distribution of activity, spanning work hours and commute times. It’s common for users to scroll through updates during breaks or while preparing dinner.
The best time to post on Instagram on Wednesday
8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Wednesdays, or ‘Hump days’, can be challenging for engagement. However, leveraging commuting hours and late-night relaxation times can yield good results. Consistency is key.
The best time to post on Instagram on Thursday
7 a.m., 12 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Thursdays see patterns similar to earlier in the week. However, as the weekend nears, users are more likely to check their feeds. Avoid very late-night posts, as users might prioritize rest over scrolling.
The best time to post on Instagram on Friday
9 a.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Fridays have a unique spike around the late afternoon, aligning with standard office hours ending. While younger users might be active late into the night, others might head home for rest. Diversify your post timings to cater to both demographics.
The best time to post on Instagram on Saturday
11 a.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. – late morning and night-posting time
Saturday, surprisingly, is the worst day of the week to post on Instagram in terms of overall engagement. Given that many users take this day to disconnect or engage in offline activities, the platform sees a dip in activity. However, for those who browse their feeds, activity starts in the late morning, likely after a leisurely start to the day. As people take time to de-stress at night, whether it’s going out or spending time at home, engagement on social media rises as well. Saturday night is one of the best times to go live as well, as live videos are great as a spontaneous form of entertainment for those staying at home, especially after 9 p.m.
Note on Instagram in 2023:
Instagram remains a powerful channel for businesses and creators to achieve their marketing goals. However, brands should be aware that only 25% of American users feel that Instagram protects their data and privacy. This trust issue can influence user behavior and engagement on the platform.
However, in 2023 and beyond, it isn’t enough to post. Understanding the nuances of the platform, the preferences of your audience, and the shifts in engagement patterns is crucial. Always be ready to adapt, innovate, and engage authentically with your audience.
Instagram Reels-Best Times and Strategies
Instagram Reels, a feature that allows users to create and explore short, engaging videos on a new dedicated Feed, has rapidly gained traction since its introduction. Recent data indicates that Reels have the highest reach rate among all media types on Instagram, with an average engagement rate of 1.95%. This further emphasizes the importance of incorporating Reels into your content strategy.
As Instagram’s response to the rising popularity of short-form video content, Reels offers brands and creators a fresh avenue to showcase creativity, share insights, and engage with their audience in a dynamic way.
Peak Engagement for Reels:
The optimal posting time for Reels is during the early evenings, specifically between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST. This period aligns with users’ downtime, where they’re more likely to be browsing their feeds and are more receptive to the quick, captivating nature of Reels. This time frame often sees the highest engagement rates, making it a prime window for brands aiming for high engagement.
The Instagram algorithm has shown a favorable bias towards Reels, often giving them prominent placement on users’ feeds. Brands and creators should leverage this by integrating Reels into their content strategy. Not only do they have the potential to boost engagement significantly, but they also provide an opportunity to showcase a more relaxed, authentic side, fostering deeper connections with the audience.
While it’s tempting to jump on trending topics and sounds, it’s equally crucial to diversify your Reels content. Mix educational content with entertainment, behind-the-scenes glimpses with polished productions. This ensures that your audience gets a well-rounded view of your brand or profile on this social network.
Engage with Your Audience:
Reels offer features like AR effects, audio, and interactive elements. Use these to create engaging content and encourage user interaction. Pose questions, run mini-contests, or simply ask for feedback. Engaging your audience can lead to higher visibility and deeper connections.
Analyze and Adapt:
Regularly check your own data through Instagram Insights to understand how your Reels are performing. Which ones garnered the most views or engagement? Was there a common theme or style? Use these insights to refine your strategy and content for future Reels. Remember, while aiming for the highest engagement is key.
Insta-presence and Instagram insights
In the competitive arena of B2B marketing, mastering the nuances of Instagram isn’t just about brand visibility—it’s about lead generation. It’s also worth noting that 70% of shoppers turn to Instagram for their next purchase, and 90% of users on the platform follow a business. This highlights the platform’s potential for lead generation and sales.
Knowing when to post is foundational, but the real art lies in tailoring these moments to resonate with your distinct audience, ensuring every post is an opportunity to generate leads and achieve the most engagement.
Every piece of content on Instagram carries the potential to be a conversation starter with a prospective client. However, its efficacy is determined by how well it aligns with your audience’s preferences and the strategic objectives you’ve set for your Instagram presence.
For businesses with an Instagram profile, Instagram Insights offers a comprehensive view of post-performance, audience demographics, and peak engagement times. This tool provides:
Impression analytics for every post, helping you gauge its reach.
Demographic breakdowns offer insights into the age, gender, and location of your audience.
Engagement metrics highlighting the times your posts receive the most activity.
By leveraging Instagram Insights, you can identify which hours and days of the week garner the most engagement and which ones to steer clear of. But remember, like all analytics tools, it requires consistent traffic and time to discern clear trends. For businesses aiming to expand their reach, it’s essential to invest time in understanding these patterns.
If you haven’t yet ventured into Instagram Insights, the pathway is straightforward. Create a business Facebook page, link it with your Instagram account, and voila, you have access to a suite of data analysis tools. Beyond the power of Instagram Insights, it’s crucial to remember the ever-evolving nature of the Instagram algorithm and the importance of maintaining consistent engagement.
Beyond Instagram: Exploring Other Tools
While Instagram Insights is a potent tool, the digital landscape offers other platforms that provide even more detailed analysis and automation features. It’s also worth noting that only 0.1% of Instagram users are unique to the platform. Many use it alongside platforms like Facebook (82.9%), YouTube (75.5%), and TikTok (52.2%). This cross-platform behavior can influence your content strategy and how you engage with your audience. For businesses aiming to stay ahead of the curve, it’s beneficial to explore these tools and integrate them into their strategy.
Strategizing Your Posting Schedule
After pinpointing when your target audience is most active, the next logical step is to align your posting schedule with these times. When considering paid promotions, remember that 50% of users become more interested in a brand after seeing an ad for it on Instagram. However, the cost per click (CPC) for Instagram ads averages $3.56, which might be higher than other platforms
To maintain consistency, consider using scheduling tools or creating a content calendar to schedule posts effectively. This not only helps in maintaining consistency but also in generating post ideas that resonate with your ideal buyer personas. The digital space is bursting with options, but platforms like Later.com stand out for their precision in ensuring posts are timed to perfection.
Instagram Insights essentially gives you the impression analytics for every post made, including demographic breakdowns and most importantly, the time of day that your posts see the most activity. By using Instagram Insights, you can easily pinpoint which hours, on which days of the week, attract the most engagement, as well as which hours you should avoid. However, like with all analytic tools, studying the flow of user traffic (whether it’s for a website or Instagram), it does take time and consistent traffic to have visible trends. When using Instagram Insights, we recommend giving your growing business/brand an ample amount of time to see these trends regarding hours of engagement.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR INSTAGRAM POSTING TIMES
Armed with insights about optimal posting times, you have a good starting point. However, to further refine your strategy tailored to your unique audience, it’s beneficial to utilize specialized social media management tools. While Instagram Insights is a foundational resource, several other tools can elevate your Insta-presence:
Quick Schedule allows you to create your queue based on your best times to post. Simply select your posting times once, and each time you queue up Instagram posts, they will automatically be scheduled for your best times to post. Now that is convenient! Later’s Quick Schedule Tool also includes automatic posting. Yep, simply schedule it, and Later will take care of the rest. This social media management tool is particularly helpful if your followers are in a different time zone than you.
While users of Later can use it for other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, Later provides a whole bevy of benefits for all Instagram users. With their auto-posting function, their post-scheduling function, and their Linkin.bio feature that turns your Instagram profile into a mini-website, allowing followers to click on a link that corresponds to an Instagram post they’re interested in, leading them directly to your website, online store, or any other URL you wish to link. This makes it easier for businesses to drive traffic from Instagram. Later can be an invaluable social media management tool that can keep up your posts even when you are away from your phone. Later also provides an option for users to see what their future feed may look like with posts scheduled for publishing.
ViralPost truly is a social media genius. It regularly analyzes your audience data, detects the most active times for authentic engagement, and rates different posting options with a star system. Five stars at 1:23 p.m.? Go on and publish your Instagram posts. One star at 6 am? It might be best to hold off.
Hootsuite is marketed more like a personal assistant than as an Instagram management companion. On top of being able to schedule and auto-publish posts, you can also take a peek at your competition as well as explore relevant hashtags to add to your own posts for an extra boost. We recommend Hootsuite as a streamlined app that allows you to have healthy levels of engagement with your audience.
Buffer also allows for post-scheduling, but its main appeal point is its facilitation for teamwork: you can add up to 25 team members to this platform and even give varying levels of access to different features within the application. Perfect for the mid-size marketing team, Buffer combines both the essentials of managing Instagram content and the facilitation of teamwork.
Dive deep into analytics with Iconosquare, which offers insights beyond just engagement metrics. Understand your audience growth, best-performing content, and even track competitors. With its intuitive calendar view, schedule your posts for times when your audience is most active. Iconosquare also provides suggestions based on your past performance.
Planoly stands out with its visual planner, allowing you to preview how your feed will look before you post, ensuring a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing grid. Schedule your posts and let Planoly handle the rest. Its analytics dashboard provides insights into your content’s performance, helping refine your strategy.
Tailwind’s Smart Schedule suggests the best times to post based on when your audience is most engaged. Improve your post’s reach with Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder, which suggests the best hashtags for your content.
Incorporating these tools into your Instagram strategy can significantly enhance your brand’s presence on the platform. They not only help in determining the optimal times to post but also provide insights that can guide content creation, audience engagement, and overall strategy refinement.
Remember, while these tools offer valuable insights and automation, the core of a successful Instagram strategy lies in authentic engagement, understanding your audience, and delivering valuable content consistently.
INSTAGRAM SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY IN 8 STEPS
1) Best time to post? Your most active time zone(s):
Sure, you may live in New York, but if most of your followers are in Los Angeles, you should be posting with the PDT time zone in mind. It’s also essential to consider global demographics. For instance, India leads in terms of Instagram users, followed by the United States. Tailoring content to these major user bases can be beneficial.
If you have followers in two very different time zones (such as New York and London), posting at “odd” times in your local time zone may be helpful for account growth.
Unsure of what time zone your followers are in? Instagram Insights has you covered – and it’s free! After making sure your account is a business profile, click the bar graph in the upper right-hand corner and discover the amazing data in analytics! You’ll learn where your followers are located (you can filter this by city or country), their gender, their age, and, of course, the most popular days and times they are using Instagram.
2) Best time to post? During off-work hours:
Your Instagram audience is busy! Think about the times of day you check personal accounts on social media – during your spare time. Prioritize scheduling during a lunch break (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and evenings (7-9 pm). By lunchtime, everyone is looking for a break and to catch up on everyone else’s Instagram feeds. You don’t want users to miss out on your stellar content simply because they’re too busy.
3) Best Times To Post Reels On Instagram?
In the age of video social media and the decay of attention spans, video marketing in the form of Reels is a great way to keep your target audience engaged. There is no one-size-fits-all all approach for posting reels. It all depends on location, industry, audience factors, and the type of content you are sharing. However, posting during peak engagement times such as weekdays, specifically Mondays to Thursdays, around lunchtime and in the early evening, can generally increase the chances of your Reels being seen by more people. Considering your audience’s time zone and posting at times when there is less competition, such as during non-peak hours, can help your Reels stand out. It’s important to keep experimenting and testing different re-posting schedules and times to see what works best for your account.
4) Best time to post important stuff for Monday through Friday:
Though just slightly, the average engagement does shift depending on the day. Per Later’s research, Wednesdays and Thursdays drive the most in engagement rates, while Sundays drive the least.
5) Experiment and measure:
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to pull numbers yourself, Later has a task you’ll enjoy! Create a spreadsheet and track the amount of engagement each post receives at respective times. Here’s the best way to organize it:
Pick five different times throughout the week that fall within the time your followers are most active. For example, if your followers are most active between 12 and 4 p.m. EST, schedule your posts to appear at 12, 1, 2, 3, and 4 p.m.
In a spreadsheet, track how many likes and comments each post receives, along with the day and time each was posted.
The following week, switch up the timing of your posts! If you posted on Monday at 2 p.m. during week 1, post at 3 p.m. during week 2.
Continue this cycle for a few weeks and identify the times and days that your audience responds to best.
6) Consider you business niche:
Did you know that different sets of audiences tend to engage with posts at different times? It’s also essential to consider the platform’s demographics. Instagram is most popular among younger audiences, with people aged between 18 and 34 making up over 60% of its user base. Sprout Social advises adjusting your posting schedule according to your brand’s purpose.
Nonprofits: Nonprofits are turning to Instagram to help their audience visually engage with their brand.
The best time to post for nonprofits is Friday at 2 p.m.
Other notable times include Tuesday at 3 and 9 pm, Wednesday from 3 to 4 pm, Thursday from 2 to 3 pm, and Friday from 10 am.
Saturday has the least amount of engagement for nonprofits.
The safest times to post are weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.
Education: It makes sense! School systems need to be where their students spend their time, and that’s online.
The best time to post for education is Monday at 8 p.m.
Monday also has the most engagements overall for the week (consider the weekly updates for students).
Sunday has the least engagement for education on Instagram.
The safest times to post are weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Consumer goods: Instagram Shopping has provided consumer goods brands with an easier way to sell on the app.
The best time to post is Saturday at 11 am and 1 pm.
Wednesdays tend to see the most consistent engagement overall throughout the week. The safest times to post are every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday is the least engaged day for consumer goods.
7) Post when everyone else isn’t:
5 p.m. seems to be a great time to post for optimal audience engagement. Why? Matt Smith, the founder of Latergramme, has a theory:
“We think this is because fewer people are posting at that time and that more engaged users are using Instagram at that time”.
This, of course, makes perfect sense. At 5 p.m., people are just ending their workday and procrastinating those final minutes. However, try avoiding Monday at 5 p.m. It’s a pretty crummy time to post – perhaps because employees are getting out of work later due to the post-weekend rush?
8) Stick to it for 30 days:
Jumping from one strategy to the next will only hurt you. Stick to a daily posting schedule for 30 days to ensure the most accurate results possible. Are you daunted by the idea of posting 30 days in a row? Check out Plann’s 33 Amazing Instagram Content Ideas Guide!
So, what is left? Just one question remains: How often do I post?
To master your Instagram social media strategy it’s recommended for businesses to post between 1 and 2 posts per day. Remember to factor in curation as well. The most effective feeds are composed of 50% original content and 50% curated content (quotes, stats, facts, and even images from other users). Just be sure always to give credit in the copy! It may seem like a lot, but posting frequency should help you reach your goals. Adobe says some brands succeed with as many as ten photos per day (when sharing photos from an event, for example).
Regardless if you’re posting one time per day or 12, always focus on consistency. Try your best to maintain the same cadence each day.
In the bustling world of Instagram, it’s not just about what you say but when you say it. With billions scrolling daily, standing out is about syncing with your audience’s rhythm. The insights shared here aren’t just tips; they’re a roadmap. As we move forward, remember: It’s not about sheer volume but timely, authentic engagement. In this digital dance, timing isn’t just everything; it’s the only thing.