Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users and has grown into a social media mammoth.
According to Facebook research, 83% of people discover services and products on Instagram. 81% of them use it to research brands, while 80% use it to make purchase decisions.
What does that mean for brands?
It’s, therefore, a great time to grow your presence on Instagram, if you haven’t started yet. However, your posts may get lost in the ocean of posts that are uploaded onto the platform every minute. That’s why you need a strategy to ensure that your target audience sees and engages with your content.
Knowing the best time to post on Instagram gives you an edge over your competition. At the same time, it helps you make the most out of your fan-following on Instagram.
To succeed at increasing your engagement, you need to understand Instagram’s new algorithm and what it means for brands.
Understanding the New Instagram Algorithm
To better understand the new Instagram algorithm, let’s start from the 2016 update. This update announced that feeds would prioritize user moments.
In 2018, the app introduced improvements to ensure that users had more control over their feeds and received timely posts.
Fast forward to 2019, and now users see posts based on their activities on the app.
Image via Instagram
The changes to Instagram’s algorithm mean that your feed is no longer chronological. Instagram now shows content based on timeliness, Instagram usage, and the accounts you engage with the most.
How can you make use of this information?
So for brands, that means that your audience sees your posts if the algorithm has determined their interest in your brand. They also see your posts if they have interacted with your brand before. And lastly, the time of posting also affects if your audience will see your posts.
When you take these factors into consideration while posting, there’s a good chance that the right people will see and interact with your updates.
Now that you’ve understood the latest Instagram algorithm update, let’s take a look at the best time to post on Instagram.
Best Time to Post on Instagram Depending on Studies
Several organizations have conducted studies to determine the ideal times to post on Instagram. While they ended up with different results, some similarities stood out.
CoSchedule compared statistics and data from 25 studies. They found that the best times to post are before work; before, during, or after lunch; and after work.
According to their study, catching people over their lunch hour break is a great idea. You can increase your chances by posting when they are almost finished with their daily activities. The study also found that Friday is the best day to post on Instagram.
HubSpot found that the best time to post is on Thursday at 5 AM, 3 PM, 11 AM, and 4 PM. The best times for the other days of the week are as follows:
Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 5 AM
Monday from 11 AM to 5 PM. During this time, people are probably having lunch or starting to get exhausted with the day.
Other notable times include:
- Tuesday from 9 AM to 6 PM
- Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM
- Thursday at 11 AM, and 3 to 4 PM
- Wednesday at 11 AM and 3 PM
- Saturday at 11 AM
The best time to post on Sunday is between 10 AM and 2 PM. Your audience is likely to hang out with friends or eat brunch during this time.
High engagement happens on Wednesday and Thursday at 3 PM, and Friday at 5 AM. In summary, post from Tuesday through Friday from around 9.AM to 6 PM.
While these studies are essential, it’s great to establish the best posting time for your brand. This way, you can have an Instagram posting strategy that caters to the specific needs of your audience.
Let’s try to understand how you can achieve that.
How Do You Figure Out The Best Time to Post on Instagram?
Every Instagram account has a distinct set of followers with unique needs. Thus, it’s crucial to find the best time to post based on your audience.
The best time to post on Instagram for a clothing store will differ from that of a club. Understanding who your audience is becomes a priority.
For this, you need to ask the following questions about your audience:
- What are their priorities?
- How do they interact with your posts?
- When and how do they engage with your brand?
- How do they access social media?
- At what time are they likely to be online?
You must also consider the numerous posts and hashtags used by users and your competitors. If you fail to look at these things, there’s a good chance that people may not notice your posts.
Posting at the right time on Instagram may sound complicated.
The good news?
However, there are tools out there that can make your work easier.
Instagram scheduling tools can help you post consistently. This can help you remain relevant for your audience and it can engage them as well.
With these tools, you can automate posting on your Instagram account with ease. All you need to do is schedule the posts and the tools will take care of the rest.
Scheduling tools help reduce the time taken to post your content. That will allow you to focus more on the quality of your content, and that, in turn, can help improve your engagement.
In addition to third-party tools, Instagram has built-in tools that you can use to analyze your demographics, activity trends, and engagement. You can get personalized Instagram insights on your profile. These insights include data about individual Instagram Stories and posts as well.
Instagram Insights gives you data on the past week’s performance of your profile. You can get information such as the number of posts created, followers lost, and followers gained.
Additionally, the insights show you the time of day when your followers were most active. At the same time, it shows you the activity of your followers for each day. The app also provides insights on follower activity such as the reach and engagement for each post.
Use these insights to understand the content your audience likes. You can also use them to gauge the contribution of your social media influencers to your campaigns.
Google Analytics custom reports can also help you find out the best days to post on Instagram. Their insights include metrics such as the days when you get the most traffic on Instagram.
You can also view the specific times when your followers are the most active on Instagram. Based on this, you can determine the best time to post on Instagram.
For a more in-depth look, consider tracking and measuring your Instagram post-performance using third-party tools. They include Crowdfire, Iconosquare, Keyhole, and Pixlee.
These tools provide you metrics on the reach and engagement of your posts. You also get access to historical analysis of posts, and post-performance analytics for your profile.
These metrics can help you determine the effectiveness of your posts at different times of the day and that, in turn, can help you figure out the best time to post.
It’s also important to revamp your strategies as your follower count grows. That will help ensure that your audience remains engaged with your content. An audience that passionately shares your content helps your brand grow and increases your reach.
What to Consider When Deciding on the Best Time to Post on Instagram
Day of the Week
As you have noticed from the studies mentioned above, engagement variations appear for different days of the week. For instance, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday have 5 AM as the ideal time.
Why is that?
This could be due to a high number of people checking their Instagram feeds immediately after they wake up. People are also likely to go through their Instagram feeds and messages in the morning during weekdays rather than weekends.
The exception is Monday. Due to Monday blues or maybe due to the rush of starting the week, people don’t check their Instagram accounts early in the morning.
The research also indicates the likelihood of people checking Instagram during the lunch breaks. Users checked their accounts during their lunch breaks on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Similarly, people may feel lethargic post-lunch and this may shift their attention towards their Instagram accounts.
All of this research won’t help you if you don’t consider your audience. There may be a good chance that your audience is different from the ones used in the studies.
So what can you do?
That’s why it’s essential to conduct your own research using Instagram Insights or other third-party tools. Create your posts based on this research and post at appropriate times.
How many times per day should you post on Instagram in 2020? After all, the freshness of your content is important.
Ensure that your audience can see new content from your Instagram account every day. Try to post once or twice a day and keep creating a variety of content. Mixing up the post types makes sure your audience does not get bored with your brand.
The most important part?
Always give priority to the quality of your content and not its quantity. Once you have established a consistency, keep it going.
Don’t post three times a day this week and then scale down to one post each day next week. It may cause a drop in your engagement levels as the audience may start losing interest.
Before you start posting, decide on the frequency of content that’s manageable for your brand. The emphasis should be on the quality of these posts and whether you post once a day or thrice a day, the posts must be of the highest quality possible. Avoid flooding your account with irrelevant content.
You can, of course, add more posts as you grow. But make sure that you maintain the frequency and quality of content.
According to the CoSchedule study, the best time to post also depends on your industry.
- Best time to post for B2C business is 8.00 AM in the morning, 1.00 PM (lunch break) and 9.00 PM
- Best time to post for Software services at 11.00 AM, 1.00 PM (during lunch break) and 5.00 PM (after work)
- Best time to post for B2B from 12.00 PM to 1.00 PM (mid-day and lunch break), 5-6 PM (after work) and from 8-9 PM
- Best time to post for the healthcare sector at 10 AM and 2 PM
- Best time to post for higher education from 5-6 PM
- Best time to post for the media sector is at 9 AM, 12 PM and 3 PM
It’s critical to post on Instagram when your audience is most active. And if you have a wide geographical reach, you need to consider time zones as well.
Social media marketing tools can come in handy for this as you can schedule posts depending on various time zones. Your goal should be to post whenever the audience of each time zone is the most active.
How to Create Posts That Drive Engagement on Instagram
Posting content on Instagram at appropriate times can help you get engagement. However, if your content quality isn’t up to the mark, you may not get the desired engagement.
So what’s the solution?
To come up with high-quality posts, you need to start creating powerful visual content. It’s also essential to come up with engaging captions for your posts. The idea is to bring your posts to life and engage your audience. Here are some tips to help you do so:
Instagram provides various filters and editing options for your posts. Some of these filters include Gingham and Clarendon. The former gives the photos a vintage edge while the latter accentuates dark and light colors.
You should also consider using third-party apps that can give your images and videos the kick they need to look professional and appealing.
My personal favorite is the image editor PixTeller. The best part about this tool is that it’s cloud-powered. You won’t need to install additional software in your system. Plus, you can edit and reuse the cloud-housed images any number of times.
You can use Stories to tell your brand story and give your followers a behind-the-scenes look into your brand. Stories are easy to create and work extremely well in generating engagement. After all, over 500 million people watch Stories on Instagram daily.
Another option is using videos. They generally get 38% more engagement than images. Videos also autoplay on your follower’s feeds, and this can catch their attention as they scroll through their feeds. The more time they spend watching your videos, the more they are likely to engage with your brand.
You should create both short and long-form videos to catch the attention of your followers. Long-form videos can be added to IGTV as well.
My preferred video editing tool is vidIQ. Not only can I cut slick videos using this video maker, I can also optimize my video’s metatags, titles, and overall SEO. Plus, it’s certified by YouTube which means you get a 24×7 YouTube consultant at your fingertips. Although your target is to make it big on Instagram, it won’t hurt to make your presence felt at YouTube as well.
You should explore live videos too. They may not have a bearing on the algorithm, but they can work as great tools for generating engagement.
Write Engaging Captions
Additionally, you can get your followers talking about your content using question-based captions or by tagging them. According to the Mention study, more tags lead to a greater number of likes and comments on the posts.
If you want to write eye-catching captions that work on Instagram, tools like Articoolo can come in handy. You can create optimized titles for your blog posts and find quotes to include in your captions.
Post Contests or Giveaways
Another way to drive engagement is through contests and giveaways. These can help increase your engagement rates, especially if the prize you’re giving away is valuable.
If you want to create giveaways that create a real buzz on Instagram, make use of Vyper. Once you have a substantial follower base who regularly participate in your contests, you can design loyalty reward programs for them using Vyper.
By rewarding your followers for participating in your giveaways and programs, you can reward them freebies or store credit, which will foster loyalty for your brand.
You can also use hashtags to increase your reach and engagement. Combine community hashtags, branded hashtags, and those of your product, to increase your reach.
Use hashtag research tools such as HashTagForLikes to find relevant hashtags for your brand. You can incorporate these hashtags into your posts and increase your reach and engagement.
Leverage User-Generated Content
You can also leverage user-generated content to come up with engaging posts for your Instagram account. 60% of consumers consider UGC an authentic form of content as compared to just 20% for content created by brands.
You can encourage your followers to create content using your hashtags and give them shoutouts on your Instagram account.
Partner with Influencers
Alternatively, you can partner with influencers and brand ambassadors to secure quality user-generated content. They will create exceptional content and drive people towards your brand.
How can you find influencers for collaboration?
You can use tools like Heepsy for finding relevant influencers for your brand. You can also conduct start-to-finish influencer marketing campaigns on the platform.
Q1. What is the best time to post on Instagram?
A. The best posting times vary by time zones, industries, and audience segments. But generally speaking, here is what different studies suggest regarding that:
- HubSpot: Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 5 AM, and Monday from 11 AM to 5 PM.
- CoSchedule: Before work; before, during, or after lunch; and after work
Q2. Is it bad to post on Instagram at night?
A. It’s not necessarily bad to post on Instagram at night. But you won't witness much engagement post 9 PM on the platform. The best time slots for posting on Instagram are off-work hours (11 AM -1 PM) and evenings (7 PM – 9 PM).
Q3. What is the worst time to post on Instagram?
A. After work (6 PM onwards) is not a good time to post on Instagram. Also, posts published during weekends usually witness low engagement. So, save your best posts for weekdays.
Q4. Is Monday a bad time to post on Instagram?
A. Monday from 11 AM to 5 PM is one of the best time slots to post on Instagram.
Q5. Should I post everyday on Instagram?
A. It’s recommended to post at least once per day on Instagram. But, limit your posts to no more than three.a day.
Q6. Does Instagram have a post limit?
A. No, Instagram doesn’t place any limits on your post volumes. It shows the last 200 posts of your followers in your feeds.
Q7. Is it better to post on Instagram at night or in the morning?
A. It’s better to post on Instagram before 9 PM. The best time slots for posting on Instagram are off-work hours (11 AM -1 PM) and evenings (7 PM – 9 PM).
Q8. How many times to post on Instagram?
A. It’s recommended to post at least once per day on Instagram. But, limit your posts to no more than three.a day.
Q9. How to check what time you posted on Instagram?
A. Click on the post whose posting time you want to see. Then, click on the three vertical dots below the post and select “Embed Code” from the menu that appears. Then, go to a text editor and paste the copied code. You will see the posting time and date at the end of the code.
Instagram is a great marketing platform. It works especially well if you know the best time to post for your industry and the type of content your audience will engage with.
Maintaining an active presence on Instagram increases your reach and engagement. By knowing the exact time to post on the platform, you can maximize both your reach and engagement.
What are the other things brands need to consider to find the best time to post on Instagram? Let me know in the comments.