Learn when to post on Instagram for optimal engagement (Updated June 2020)
Optimize your Instagram posts by understanding the best posting times and days for maximum exposure and peek engagement with followers.
If you search the internet you will find dozens of conflicting reports as to when is the best time to post on Instagram. This is due to the fact that there are many factors involved, from what niche you are in to where the majority of your followers reside (time zones), to how old your followers are, etc. It will help if we think about it logically, and then we’ll apply some research.
- What is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?
- Best Time to Post on Instagram Each Day of the Week
- Post on Instagram during Off-Work Hours
- Time Zones Are Important to Consider
- How to Find Your Analytics on Instagram
- What Days Are Best?
- Understand Your Followers and Understand Your Niche
- How Often Should I Post?
- How We Determine Our Best Posting Times
- Let’s Summarize When to Post on Instagram
- Best Practices to Post on Instagram
- Should I Use a Scheduler to Automatically Post to Instagram?
- Be Ready for Your Best Time to Post on Instagram
- It’s Up to You
What is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?
The best way to find your ideal posting times is to test your audience. Since everyone’s audience is unique this is the ideal way. However, it’s not easy to test your audience. Firstly, it is time consuming to conduct the tests. Next, you need to keep track of results. And finally, there’s more time spent interpreting the results. The additional difficulty is that there are many factors at play, not just the timing.
Therefore, the next best method is to understand your audience. Who are they? What are their Instagram habits? You can take a poll in your stories and ask them directly. Do whatever you can to get to know them intimately. The better you know your audience the better you can serve them in all ways.
Best Time to Post on Instagram Each Day of the Week
Best Time to Post on Instagram on Sunday is between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm central. Many people tend to take a break on Sundays, making it the slowest day of the week for most audiences.
- The best time to post on Instagram on Monday is 11:00 am – 5:00 pm central, but varies depending on your audience, time zone, etc.
- Generally speaking Mondays are the least active day during the week.
- People are busy diving into the week.
- Therefore, overall there is less Instagram activity on Monday than the following days of the week.
- The best time to post on Instagram on Tuesday also varies of course, but studies show that 5:00 am and 9:00 am – 6:00 pm central are optimal.
- For some audiences Tuesday is a high traffic day.
- Activity is definitely increasing from Monday.
- Best time to post on Instagram on Wednesday is 5:00 am and 11:00 am and 3:00 pm central. It is a big day.
- For many audiences Wednesday is the best day to post on Instagram.
- We recommend using your most powerful posts on these days.
- Be on stories, and never skip Wednesday and Thursday posting.
- The best time to post on Instagram on Thursday is 5:00 am and 11:00 am and 3:00 – 4:00 pm central.
- For some audiences Thursday tops Wednesday, but both are in the top two days.
- The best time to post on Instagram on Friday is 5:00 am and 9:00 am – 4:00 pm central.
- Activity also starts to lessen in general on Fridays as people make plans, engage with family and friends, and get off their phones.
- The best time to post on Instagram on Saturday is generally speaking around 11:00 am central.
- Saturday is definitely a slower time for Instagram.
Post on Instagram during Off-Work Hours
- 8:00- 9:00 a.m. is a good time. People are having coffee and “checking in.”
- 11:00-12:30 is a good time. People are having lunch, taking a break and peeking at their social media. Fewer posting and more peeking, that means a little less competition.
- 6:00-9:00 p.m. is a great time. People are starting to relax and finish with the tasks of the day. This is the best time to catch the majority of people checking their Instagram.
Time Zones Are Important to Consider
Don’t assume the majority of your followers are in your time zone. They may or may not be. For example, the best time to post on Instagram Mountain Time might actually be more aligned with the best time to post on Instagram Eastern Time because the majority of followers reside in New York.
How do you find out where the majority of your followers live? There are plenty of tools out there, but the easiest tool to use is the one Instagram provides business and creative account holders. Private accounts do not have these analytics.
How to Find Your Analytics on Instagram
- Go to your home page
- Tap on the top right horizontal bars nicknamed by developers as “the hamburger”
- Tap on “Insights”
- Go to “Audience”
- Look at “Top Locations” to see where the majority of your followers live
- Next, scroll all the way down to the bottom and see when your followers are most active hourly and daily
Understanding Time Zones
- The optimal posting times I mentioned in this post are based on Central Time Zone.
- If you are on the East Coast, generally speaking your “version” of these peak times will be on the later end, West Coast a bit earlier.
- It also depends on when you usually post.
To help you understand (if thinking about time zones is new to you):
- Best time to post Instagram engagement west coast is two hours earlier than central times listed.
- The best time to post Instagram engagement east coast is one hour later than central times.
- And finally, for the best time to post on Instagram Mountain Time is one hour earlier than central.
If your followers are spread across the world try to find times where your top audiences overlap best, and choose those times. This may seem crazy, but if you use draft mode you can have your post ready to post when these key moments occur.
What Days Are Best?
Many studies have been conducted to determine the best time to post on Instagram and the best days to post on Instagram.
- The best days to post on Instagram are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
- When talking days of the week it turns out that the best day to post is Wednesday because it has the highest engagement of any day.
- Thursday is the highest traffic day.
I used to think weekends were higher, but it turns out not to be true. People plan things and are out of their normal routines. I get less engagement on my posts, but I get more new followers. People tend to “explore” IG a bit more on the weekends.
Understand Your Followers and Understand Your Niche
Your best time to post on Instagram will be different depending on your audience. Are you a business posting to other businesses? Best posting time for business to business is during weekdays. This makes sense because it is part of business and not a leisure activity.
Always consider your audience. For example, if you a photographer, the best time to post on Instagram for photographers generally speaking is probably before the work day 7-9 am and after the workday 5-7 pm.
Understanding your niche is key to understanding when (and how) to post.
How Often Should I Post?
There are a variety of schools of thought, and there are a lot of factors involved in this decision. There are two main elements.
Quality over Quantity
If you don’t have a quality photo in your niche it’s always better to not post. Every post has the power to help or hurt. If it isn’t helping it’s hurting. Instagram is unforgiving and fickle. One post your followers don’t love and a percentage of them may easily hit “unfollow.”
Consistency in Posting is Key
Posting consistently shows you are committed and reliable. Followers like that. So does Instagram. Show your followers they can depend on you, and you will be able to depend on them. It really is almost that simple.
Decide what you can keep up with on a consistent basis and shoot for that. Whether it’s once a day, twice a day, or every other day it needs to work for your life. Never think, “Oh, I haven’t posted in a week. I’ve got some time; I’ll post four to five today and make up for lost time.” This will backfire. Keep those photos ready in draft mode and space them out regularly, once a day at key times.
How We Determine Our Best Posting Times
Remember your optimal time depends on where the majority of your followers reside. Make sure you know this information. Use Instagram’s analytics to stay on top of this information.
If you have a business account on Instagram, you can use the analytics available in Insights to see where your followers are located. This is where you get a handle on your audience’s top time zones. You can use the charts regarding location, age, gender, and of course activity to help you determine your best times and days to post.
For more info on best Instagram posting practices read our blog post.
Let’s Summarize When to Post on Instagram
- Each day has different optimal times.
- Each time zone has different optimal times.
- Every particular feed, based on its followers, has its own optimal times.
- Instagram analytics provide important information that you should use to understand your followers, who they are, their characteristics and habits.
- Get to know your followers intimately to best serve them.
Best Practices to Post on Instagram
- Experiment. Try different times and see how your followers react.
- Pay attention. Take note of what times work and what times don’t do as well.
- Keep time zones in mind. They are very important.
- Think about the natural times that your target audience is checking their phones. Apply logic. When you understand your audience it starts to make sense.
- Also, keep in mind that your ultimate times will be when the highest number of your followers is on their phones but not posting.
- Once you determine your best times stay consistent. Ultimately you can train your followers to find you based on consistency.
Should I Use a Scheduler to Automatically Post to Instagram?
Here are several reasons why we think posting using a scheduler is a bad idea.
- Instagram does not prefer it.
- When it is automatic you might not be aware that you just posted.
- You might not be on your phone or available to respond to comments in real time.
- If you don’t respond to comments in real time you don’t help create motivation for others to comment.
- You miss the chance to create real conversation.
- If you’re not on Instagram engaging on other feeds as your post goes live you miss the chance to remind people of you and draw them to your post, which is a great strategy to help engagement.
Be Ready for Your Best Time to Post on Instagram
We know life happens, and it’s hard to always be ready to post at just the right moment. Here is what we do that helps us post at the best time all while maintaining our sanity.
Use Draft Mode in Instagram
We recommend creating your post(s) when it is convenient for you. Save your posts in the draft section of your Instagram and you’ll be ready to share.
Key Engagement Tips
We highly suggest making time to manage your comments and stay with your post for at least a half an hour. Ideally, we recommend being on the platform for the first hour. During that time answer your comments as quickly as possible. The goal is for your follower to see that you replied to them. You want to catch them still looking at their phone.
While waiting for comments to come in spend time on other feeds leaving genuine, stand-out comments. This activity can make a big difference in your post success.
After the first hour or so just check back multiple times to answer additional comments. Make your best effort to answer as many as you can. The goal isn’t perfection. The goal is simply do what you can.
If you have only ten comments there is no reason why you shouldn’t make a point to answer all ten. If you have 30, you still should be able to make time to answer all 30. But if you have 200, obviously do your best.
Sometimes if I have very high engagement I scroll through and make sure I read, tap the heart so they know I’ve read their comment, and answer all questions. Again, do what you can do. Effort is perceived and always appreciated.
It’s Up to You
So, these are things to consider. Notice how I used the word “optimal” a lot. There isn’t a huge difference between times, although there is some. In the end, it’s simply something to consider. You can take all this information and then do as you please. You can post organically if you have more fun doing it that way.
Jodie and I take the information and sometimes we follow it, and sometimes life happens. If you are working hard to grow your Instagram account and really want all your efforts to pay off as much as possible, follow this advice. If you are here to “just have fun” you can ignore all this analysis. We are huge believers in enjoying the process. If posting “when the mood hits” makes it more enjoyable, then we recommend doing just that.
Finally, we have over 40 Instagram-related posts here on our blog, so be sure to keep reading. If you aren’t already a subscriber, we hope you will join us so you don’t miss the latest posts. Click the box below and receive free bonus material to help you on Instagram.
For more info on when to post on Instagram, read Later Media’s article, “The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2019, According to 12 Million Posts.”
Also, feel free to comment with questions and let us hear from you if you found this post helpful by commenting below. We absolutely love hearing from you.