One of the many tasks of a marketer these days is to identify the best time to post on Instagram to ensure maximum exposure. Predictably, the schools of thought on this topic vary widely and change over time with Instagram’s ever-evolving algorithm.
What is generally accepted across the board is that the best time to post on Instagram can be specific to each brand. Your brand’s audience is unique and may even be spread across different time zones.
Posting the right content when most of your followers are online can significantly increase your reach and levels of engagement. So it’s important that you monitor and analyze your brand’s Instagram performance to determine the specific days and times that work for you.
That being said, there are some general guidelines you can follow that will make it easier for you to pinpoint the best time to post on Instagram.
How the Instagram algorithm ranks posts
Instagram cites that the three top factors determining where posts rank on the feed are:
- Interest – posts containing content that the user has previously shown interest in will rank highest
- Recency – the more recent the post, the higher up the feed
- Relationship – posts from family and friends with whom the interactions have been more frequent will appear higher in the feed.
Interesting and well-written content is key to building a large following on Instagram. It is just as important to post that content at the right time or your followers won’t see it. Because the Instagram algorithm favors the most recent posts it is essential to find the best time to post on Instagram to reach your target market.
Instagram will recognize your posts as containing quality content if users quickly react to it. Instagram will, as a result, show your posts to a wider audience.
Digital marketing expert, Neil Patel, claims consistency in posting as a key for Instagram engagement. He cites research that shows that if you change your posting habits from say, several times a day, to only a few times a week, you will lose followers and see less engagement.
Learn more: How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2020 (and how to beat it!)
Tips for Finding the Best Time to Post on Instagram
Finding the best time to post on Instagram is essential if you want to ensure that you don’t slip off a user’s feed. This is by no means an exact science but considering human behavior can point us in the right direction.
According to research, people are most likely to scroll through their Instagram accounts when they have a small window of time on their hands. These times include the following:
- Early in the morning before work starts – 80% of people will check their cell phones within the first 15 minutes after waking.
- During lunchtime on weekdays
- At the end of the workday
- Weekend afternoons
Data also shows that many people also check Instagram just before going to bed.
Unsurprisingly, Forbes reports that most users are viewing the content on their phones and that as a general rule, the best time to post to Instagram is either early in the morning, or late at night. The same article suggests that posting earlier in the day is a good strategy for most brands, particularly from Tuesday through to Friday with 5 am identified as an ideal time for high engagement, as well as between 9 am and 6 pm in a user’s timezone. Mondays are less favorable for a couple of reasons, such as lower usage at the beginning of the week, and more competition with many brands posting again on Monday after a break over the weekend.
The best time to post on Instagram is dependent on the product that you market and the industry in which you operate. It is also dependent on the demographics of your target market, their activities and the content that you post. The demographics of your target market should offer you pointers to the best time to post on Instagram. If you’re targeting working adults, for example, the times that they are most active on Instagram may be quite different from the Instagram engagement times of college students.
If you choose your times carefully, you give yourself the best chance of being viewed by a large audience. In pursuit of recency, you may want to consider posting more frequently.
Some tips on finding the best time to post on Instagram
Know your audience and what their timezones are.
Post for the timezone when your followers are most active. Our MavSocial reporting features identify what timezones your audience occupies, allowing you to accurately target those times with your posts and ensure that your posts receive maximum exposure.
Schedule differently on weekdays and weekends
Engagement is typically higher on weekdays than on weekends. This is because people tend to turn to social media when commuting or during lunch breaks at school or work. Over weekends people may wake up later. They may also go out in the evenings.
Experiment with upload times and measure
If you are unsure of the best time to post on Instagram for your target audience, you should experiment and measure engagement. Try posting at various times during the day and on various days of the week. Then measure the level of engagement to find which are the best times to post for your brand.
Use MavSocial’s reporting features to check the times that you posted along with the number of comments and likes that you received for the posts. It will take a little while to see the trends but, in the end, you should have a pretty good idea of the best time to post to Instagram for your brand.
You will also want to take into account which types of posts generate the most engagement with your target audience.
Scheduling your posts
Using a scheduling platform like MavSocial means you don’t miss a beat when identifying the best time to post on Instagram. Plan your posts in advance with our easy-to-use campaign calendar and schedule your Instagram posts in minutes.
Changes to the Instagram algorithm in 2020 has made it even more important that you get your content out there at times where your audience is most likely to quickly see and engage with it.
Ensure that you consistently identify and leverage the best time to post on Instagram with MavSocial.