I used Instagram for 6 months until I started looking at the data.
I love data. I use it for everything, even to track email sign ups.
Data doesn’t lie, it isn’t biased, and it can give you insights that cannot be replaced by a conversation with an expert.
That’s not to say I ignore expert opinion and research, in fact, I try to apply these findings where it is appropriate. It’s just not the driving force behind my Instagram posting strategy.
Sure, experts who say to post on Monday between 8am and 9am, while people are travelling into work might be right.
The problem with this is that if your business is targeting tourists travelling in the UK, the advice clearly is irrelevant for your needs.
That’s why you need to develop your own opinion using data unique to your market.
Every business is different with different target audiences and in different timezones. In this same way, your strategy should match your marketing approach.
So, do listen to what’s out there online to help guide you, but base the bulk of your strategy on what your audience tells you. That’s really the key to unlocking your Instagram following and engagement growth.
Overall, my Instagram posting strategy follows the 30: 50: 20 rule:
- 30% on what OTHERS say
- 50% on what your DATA says
- 20% on what your GUT says
Let’s first look at what others say and then in true Your Brand Found style, I’m breaking down what you need to do based on your own data.
What OTHERS Say About The Right Time To Post On Instagram
I’m breaking this down into two elements:
- What 12 Entrepreneurs Say About Knowing What Time To Post On Instagram
- What Studies Say About The Best Time To Post On Instagram
What 12 Entrepreneurs Say About Knowing What Time To Post On Instagram
Maureen Fitzgerald – @wisconsinmommy
First, make sure you have your account set up as a business account. This allows you access to all kinds of helpful analytics. You can then experiment with posting at different times of the day and see what your results are. Or, being a busy entrepreneur, you can outsource the task and let one of the paid apps (like Buffer or Later) figure it out for you. (I have no affiliate with either service!)
Anita – @Twirp Communications
The best time to post is when you have something worthy of posting. There’s no use in posting at the best time of day if your content isn’t useful. Posting at one specific time isn’t going to magically make your audience engage with your post.
However, you should be able to figure out when is the best time for you to post simply by doing some testing. Post at 8am every day this week, then at 2pm every day next week, then at 6pm every day the week after. Compare your results. If morning worked best, then try 8am, 9am and 10am. Compare again.
There is no one right answer for everyone. It depends on your audience and the only way to know what works for your audience is to test it!
Mariah Magazine – @mariahmagazinedesign
You have to monitor it. You have to test out different kinds of posts, at different times, on different days, and see which ones get better engagement. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for this. It all depends on what timezone you’re in, who and where your target audience is, and what kind of content you’re posting. My best advice is to just keep tweaking until you start getting the results you want, and keep monitoring it. It’s alllll about the data 😉
Minuca – Instagram: @Minuca Elena
The best time to post on Instagram depends on where your target audience is located. Your followers, potential clients, live in the US, in Europe or Australia? Check the time zone. It also depends on their age and interests. In general, I think the best time is in the afternoon, around 2-5 pm. You can also post twice per day, morning and evening. Test different times and see what brings you best results.
Hannah Faulkner – Instagram: @hannah_halfmoon
I believe the best time to post is very early in the morning, before sunrise, definitely before 6 am. Many people start their day by scrolling through their phones as a way to adjust their eyes. I like for my posts to be the first impressions of inspiration to start their day on a positive note.
Ted Rubin – Instagram: @tedrubin
Whatever, and whenever, works for you. Most important advice… be YOU, add value, and pay attention to the results, then adjust timing and content accordingly. #NoLetUp!
Heidi Larsen – Instagram: @foodiecrush
I’ve found posting between 4pm and 5pm MST on weekdays is the best time to reach my audience. That way I’m reaching those finishing up their work day and continuing to reach people before they hit the hay at night with continued pick up in the am if the algorithm decides to show my post to more followers 😉
Don’t worry about the time to post! With the Instagram algorithm in full swing it’s not as important anymore to post at a specific time but to post when you have something that is worth sharing. I would still recommend to space posts out some, but focus on sharing valuable content vs. overthinking when to post it.
Jon Tromans – @jon.tromans
Every sector and industry can be different and don’t assume that when you’re engaging on Instagram others are too. Experiment with scheduling posts at different times with consideration to time zones. I use Zoho Social to spot engaging times and schedule my posts when I know my followers are active.
Once you’ve spotted some good times to post, stick to it but always keep an eye on things in case they change.
Abiola Akanni – @yogabybiola
Create a business profile on Instagram and study your Insights, specifically the section that highlights the times and days your users are most engaged.
Annie Appleby – @yogaforce
I use the crowdfire app. It lets you know the best time to post. The most engaged time is on Monday 7-10pm. On Fridays 1am and 8pm are sweet spots.
Dennis Seymour – @denseymour
First of all, it will depend on the bulk of your location and your audience. Through Instagram, you will grow an audience that’s from different countries/localities but you’ll notice that you will get more from certain specific places.
There are tools that will help you with this. If you are running a business account on Instagram, you already have access to Analytics. If you use a social management software such as HootSuite or Buffer, you will also have the analytics there. It depends on what your status is now on Instagram, but for me, a basic way is that I would start with differing times and use those tools as preliminary checks as to when (days/time) posting will get more engagement. In today’s Instagram feed system, posting at the right time isn’t as “critical” as before when it’s sorted by date.
Today, you want to post it at the right time to get the most engagement possible. Find those best times in the week for your audience, get as much engagement as possible and get yourself in that Explore page. Trust me, you’ll win. Good luck!
What Studies Say About The Best Time To Post On Instagram
According to Coschedule, Tuesday at 2pm is the most effective day and time to post on Instagram
Whereas, Hopper found the best time to be between 6pm and 7.30pm during the week.
Later found that 50% of Social Media managers surveyed found 7pm to 9pm to be the best time to post on Instagram.
Mavrck analysed 1.3 million posts and concluded that midnight, 3pm and 4pm where the most popular times to post, with Wednesday, Thursday and Friday being the best days to post.
However, Hubspot’s study disagreed with Mavrck who stated that anytime on Monday or Thursday was a good day and time to post except from the hour between 3pm to 4pm. Hubspot did also mention that good times to post included 2am, 5pm and 7pm.
It’s great to see a few patterns emerge and that’s really what I look for in studies.
Again, use it to GUIDE what you do, not BE what you do.
However, if you’re new to Instagram this is probably a good place to start, and then a few months later you should have enough data to establish the right time of day to post.
Finding Your Best Time To Post On Instagram Using Instagram’s Native Analytics Tool
One of the best ways to find the best time to reach your audience on Instagram at a time they are “around” is to use Instagram’s Native Analytics tool.
Take a look at my analytics.
It’s clear my followers are located in London and are most active on Tuesdays.
Taking it one step further, let’s look at the best time on Tuesday to post on Instagram.
It’s clear 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm are sensible times for me to post on Instagram.
That took me less than 5 minutes to find the best day and times to post on Instagram and ultimately optimise my posting schedule for Tuesday.
I could then dive into the other days and find the best time to post across the entire week in less than an hour.
Let me show you how to get your hands on this data. It’s very simple.
Step 1: Open Instagram
Step 2: Click on your profile
Step 3: Click on the bar graph (top right)
Step 4: Click “see more” in the “Followers” section.
Step 5: Scroll down and look at the data within the “Top Locations” and “Followers” section to gain your precious Instagram posting day and time insight. 🙂
The “Gut” Part Of Picking Your Best Instagram Posting Time
If I spent all my marketing days making decisions based on data only, not only would it suck out the creativity behind marketing, i.e. what I enjoy, I think it would also be a wrong move to take.
Because people, circumstances and situations change. In other words, past performance is not a true reflection of future performance.
I know I’m starting to sound like an investment advisor, but it’s true.
Not only that, but sometimes I just want to post at 11am on Tuesday.
Because I feel like it.
I know it’s not the data driven answer you were expecting, but I purposefully do things outside of the box to see what happens and just get things done.
When you have a ton of things to do to grow your business online, your priority has to be on DOING and that’s why my “Gut” argument helps achieve.
As you begin building your Instagram strategy, you need to spend time looking at your analytics.
Not only will it inform you about your audience, Instagram’s analytics helps you justify WHY you do things.
For instance, why you publish an Instagram post on Sunday at 3pm.
But don’t forget about forming your own opinions and treating Instagram marketing as an experiment. It’s up to you to be as creative as possible!
Hopefully, in that creative process you find the best strategy for your specific audience and those that you are trying to reach. Most importantly, have fun with it.
The joy is in the process. 🙂