As social media becomes more entrenched in our daily lives, it’s no surprise that people are trying to constantly find the best ways to get likes, hearts and favorites. It’s this behavior that begs the question: “When is the best time of day to post on Instagram?” This is a question that has challenged both individuals and companies large and small alike for years. The reality is that the answer is somewhat vague and can change at any moment.
Why Finding the Best Time to Post Matters
Growing a following on Instagram requires you to push compelling content that one or more people may want to see time and time again. Creating such content is an entirely different article, but for many people who do create content people crave, if you don’t post it at the right time of day, most people will never see it. This is especially true for marketers who have continued to rely on paid media to put in front of potential customers rather than relying on organic content to surface on your feed.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive time to post, as there are too many variables – not to mention that the timing can break down between the best time for influencers, for retail, for B2B, for education and more.
Using Your Own Analytics Tool
When it comes to identifying the best time of day to post on Instagram, you should know that there is no single answer to that question. Each tool you try will likely identify different times of day you should post on or around. To help identify these, you can user a variety of tools.
The first of which is Buffer, one of the most popular social publishing tools around. Buffer requires something of a workaround, but if you connect your Instagram account, you can click on your “Posts Tab” and sort your recent Instagram posts account to most popular. It requires a little bit of manual work to determine, but once you do, you can start identifying times to experiment with in the future.
Alternatively, you can look at tools like Iconosquare, which are admittedly more for hopeful or already-established influencers. Take advantage of the two-week free trial and let Iconosquare help identify a whole host of tips and analytics for your account. That will include identifying the best times of the day you should post on Instagram. In fact, it will do one better and not just tell you the best day but also the best times as well on that particular day.
Iconosquare’s customized dashboard will help visualize this metric in a way that is incredibly easy to read and understand. Use that data now, then come back to it in a month and see if it has changed.
The Skyscraper View of Instagram Posting
Given the difficulty in nailing down one time of day that would work for everyone on Instagram, it’s a little easier to look at the view from the top. Let’s call this the skyscraper view. Nearly every social media analytics or publishing tool has their own take on the best times for Instagram engagement. In the case of Sprout Social, they look at the best times by industry that will raise you above the noise. For example, they view the best times for global engagement as shown below.
- For individuals, the best times are Wednesday at 11am and Friday from 10-11am. They consider the worst time to post on Sunday and the best time as Wednesday.
- For media companies, Sprout has an entirely different take on the best times. They consider Friday at 9am the best day and also identify Friday as the best day overall. Saturday and Sunday are unsurprisingly the worst times.
On the other hand, Later.com has an entirely different view on the best times to post on Instagram. In their case, they offer findings for the best overall times they’ve identified after looking at 12 million Instagram posts with followers from one hundred to one hundred million.
- In this case, Later.com identified Monday’s at 6am, 10am and 10pm as the best times for you to publish. On Sunday, that changes from between 7-8am and again around 4pm. How about during the week? Wednesday’s at 11pm, while Thursday at 12pm and 7pm look good. If this shows you anything, it’s that times can vary wildly, and the same schedule will likely look very different next year.
The good news is that Later.com can help you in the same way Iconosquare does individually and identify your top seven posting times. As a publishing tool, you can then schedule your posts in advance to make sure you don’t miss hitting these times and the best opportunities to increase your engagement.
If you decide to make a go out of becoming an influencer through Instagram, switching your post over to a business profile opens the door to analytics tools, better known as Instagram Insights. Once you have opened that door, you can, among other details, look at the most active times of your followers and use that data to help you identify the best times you should publish.
So What Do You Do Now?
There is no shortage of tools to help you identify the best times to publish on Instagram. The problem is that almost none of them agree with each other, which kind of puts you back at square one. Using the manual workaround method through Buffer may sound tedious, but you will be left confident that you can visualize trends that are working for you. Paying Iconosquare or Later.com will be very helpful if you want to make a business out of Instagram. And if Instagram stops working for you, these tips will help you get back into the photo game.