Instagram has quickly become a demanding platform. It wants images, stories, reels, clever captions, stickers, polls, emojis, memes, and even more videos. So after putting hours of effort into all the Instagram requirements – you’re ready for people to see it, but when? When is the best time to post on Instagram? Honestly, it depends on your social media goals: Do you want reach, or do you want people to be engaged? We’ve looked at two up-to-date studies done by Later and Sprout Social, and combined the information just for you!
Before we get started:
Please remember that you shouldn’t let ‘the best time to post’ hold you back or scare you from posting at all. Just posting is better than being paralyzed by trying to post at the perfect time.
The Best Time To Post On Instagram:
Monday To Sunday
We know what you’re thinking – those times are really early. When it comes to posting, most of us thought that you should post when your audience is the most active – while this does give some good results, it’s not the only factor that impacts engagement!
Yes, Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm takes timeliness into account, but perhaps not as much as it once did. Instagram recently confirmed that the number of interactions in the first 30 minutes does not determine a post’s ranking in the Home Feed.
With this in mind, Later suggests businesses use an ‘early to rise, early to post’ method. Most businesses post when their audience is most active (9 am – 1 pm) but this is when competition is highest. Posting before this may just get your post showing up on your followers’ first scroll of the day.
The Best Time To Post On Instagram For Engagement: Monday To Sunday
Sprout Social also did its own study on over 20,000 of its users’ accounts. Its findings are opposite to Later’s, as it takes the traditional approach of posting while engagement is high. Measuring social media engagement is an important insight metric as it shows you how well your content is resonating with your followers. You can use this information to optimize future posts or gain insight into what posts can be used for Instagram ads.
As you’ll notice, the posting times are a lot later than Later’s suggested times. The times shown are common ‘lunch break’ hours, or when people hit that 3 pm slump and reach for their phones to scroll IG for some motivation or humor to get them through the rest of their working day.
The Best Time To Post On Instagram: By Location
Here we go, another curve ball Instagram has thrown at us, location. Different regions have different audience behaviors and can be heavily impacted by time zone overlaps.
For example, New York is 3 hours ahead of California — but accounts based in New York will likely still have followers spread across both regions. Here are the best times to post in local times across different time zones:
The Best Time To Post On Instagram: By Type Of Business
A big shoutout to Sprout Social who furthered their research and helped outline the best times to post according to different business types. Please note this is a general outline, while these local times are a good starting point, if you want to get the most engagement, it’s best to find your best times to post based on your unique audience using Instagram Insights. We’ll get into this further down!
Tips and considerations on how to identify the best time
to post on Instagram for your business:
1. Use Instagram Insights
Head to your Instagram profile, tap insights, and get access to a range of data! Understand your audience from age, gender, city, and country. With this information, you can see which time zone your audience is most active, and post accordingly. The age range may also help ballparking wake-up, idle, and bedtimes.
Combine the data from Later and Sprout Social above to guide your posts but also do your own research with Instagram insights. If Excel is your friend, we suggest creating a spreadsheet to track how much engagement you receive when you post on different days at different times. It may take a few weeks, but you can use this accurate information to help you choose the best days to share specific posts.
Note: In order to access Insights, you’ll need to set up an Instagram business profile or an Instagram creator profile.
2. Use a planning and scheduling app
If you want to skip the experiments and get right to the good data, platforms such as Later, Sprout Social, or Planoly do all the hard work for you! For example, Later automatically calculates your 7 top posting times based on your best-performing posts from the recent month.
One of the biggest keys to success on Instagram is: consistency. Having access to scheduling platforms allows you to schedule your content in advance, giving you more time to engage with followers and not have to think of a new post every day.
3. Don’t forget about Instagram Stories.
They’re easy to do, and a great way to find out more about your followers with polls and quizzes. Also, they’re up for 24 hours so if someone missed your post, seeing your story saying ‘new post’ may just push them to go check it out!
4. Reels Reels Reels
We’ve mainly focused on posts in this blog, but the same rules apply to reels and feed videos. Publish all your content at ‘peak activity’ time zones and it’ll give you a good chance at success!
5. Think about your audience personas
Your audience ‘personas’ represent your customers as human beings – it’s a summary of their lifestyle, occupation, hobbies, interests, income, etc. This is essential for identifying the best time to post on Instagram. For example, let’s say your ideal customer is a mom. Posting after kid’s bath and dinner time around 7 pm might be best, or at 12 pm when they’re sitting in school pick-up traffic.
Questions to ask yourself when thinking of your persona and when to post:
- Why do they go on Instagram?
- How much time do they spend on Instagram?
- How many accounts do they follow?
- When will they have time to engage with my posts?
- How many times a day do they check Instagram?
So, when is the right time to post on Instagram?
Well, it’s up to you! Either use the times above as a guide, use the suggested times from your Instagram insights, or use a third-party tool such as Later. As long as your content is educational, entertaining, or empowering, you’re already on the right track to success. Remember, don’t let these times hold you back! If you have a post you want to share, do it! Don’t let a perfect time or perfect day let your post feel imperfect.