As marketers gain access to an increasingly large repertoire of tools, post timings still remain a tried and true, cost efficient method of maximising reach.
So then, comes the frequently asked question, “Is there still a ‘best’ time to post content?”
The short answer is yes – to an extent.
This is done by identifying the key timings when your followers are most active and therefore more likely to see, like and engage with your content.
This, however, has become a much more complex as Individual social media platforms have changed the way their algorithms display branded content, making it necessary for marketers to adapt their social media strategies accordingly to each platform to ensure their advertisements reach their intended target audiences.
Read on to learn when the best time is to post on social media, for each platform!
When Is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?
Facebook remains the world’s largest social media platform around with 2.32 billion monthly active users (MAU). And the numbers of daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU) logging into the platform are still growing – both increased around 9% from last year.
With numbers like that, the potential reach of your Facebook content, if posted at the right time, is staggering.
But where and when is the best time to post on Facebook? We looked into the data.
For brands with an international reach like in the United States, we looked at each coast separately. We found that while there was some variation, the United States generally favored late morning posting. Here are the details:
On the West Coast of the United States, we found that the best time to post on Facebook throughout the week was between 8:00 am and 10:00 am.
The very best times of the week?
Mondays – between 8:00 am and 10:00 am, and Sundays – 9:00 am and 10:00 am boasted the highest number of impressions.
On the other hand, the worst time to post on Facebook for the West Coast seems to be after 7:00 pm. Impressions don’t start to pick up again until about 4:00 am.
This is particularly useful for businesses based in a different timezone from your market – you will want to tailor your posting times to that market’s periods of peak activity to maximize your reach and engagement.
The best time to post on Facebook for the East Coast of the United States is generally a couple hours later than those on the West Coast.
We found that, according to our data, the best time to post throughout the week in this region is between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.
Sundays – between 9:00 am and 11:00 am and Mondays – between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm have the edge, as these time periods had the highest average impressions of the week.
What is worst time to post for the East Coast of the United States? Impressions drop significantly after 8:00 pm, similarly to the West Coast. Impressions don’t start to pick up again until at least 4:00 am
Next, we looked at data for the British market. We found that the best times to post on Facebook for the UK were late morning and afternoon, between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.
The heat map for average impressions by time of posting in the UK tended to be a bit more spread out than in the US. Posting times for the UK are more dispersed and therefore may be more forgiving in terms of interaction – but on the other hand you may not have time slots where your audience is as active as found in the US.
The exception looks to actually be the weekend, where similar posting times garnered more impressions than during the weekdays.
One major difference between the US and UK markets in this research is the value of posting during the early days of the week. Both US time zones surveyed showed increased impressions during the first couple days of the work week, while the same numbers for the UK remained generally stable.
Timings like these are great benchmarks for your own posts – but the way to figure out the best time to post on Facebook for your specific brand or industry is by checking the numbers yourself.
You could do this manually, but thankfully you don’t have to.
Socialbakers features PrimeTime for better content scheduling and publishing decisions. You’ll be able to easily maximize your reach and engagement with smart, AI-powered publishing recommendations tailored to each of your Facebook pages’ active audiences – especially useful if your business runs localized pages in different regions around the world.
When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?
Instagram, the rising star of social media, has seen a meteoric rise from its beginnings as another image-sharing platform.
These days, it’s a social media powerhouse.
Instagram is the top choice for influencers and content creators looking for brand collaborations, and although Facebook’s user base is larger, Instagram’s 1 billion monthly active users are incredibly engaged. Instagram engagement is the highest of any social media platform at around three per cent, while Facebook and Twitter sit between 0.5 per cent and one per cent.
Users almost invariably choose mobile when logging on to browse Instagram. This is something to take into account when you’re trying to pin down the best time to post.
Another important consideration is the age demographic that uses Instagram: The Pew Research Center reports that 64% of Instagram users are aged 18-29.
Combine these and you can expect Instagram users to be tech-savvy, working individuals on the go.
What does the data say?
The folks over at Hubspot did their research on the subject as well. They found that the best time to post on Instagram is on either Monday or Thursday – at any time of day other than 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Interestingly though, they also found that the best time to post video content to Instagram was between 9:00 pm and 8:00 am on any day of the week. Bedtime browsing!
Instagram has, of course, switched to a non-chronological timeline, but the time that you post is still important as it impacts how the algorithms decide where to place your content.
If you’re posting when your followers are most active, your content will pick up steam much faster and Instagram will push it further up the feed – resulting in even more interaction.
On the flip side, periods of low activity may result in low interaction and placement further down your followers’ feeds where people are less likely to see it.
Again, as with Facebook, it’s important that you do your own target audience analysis research to figure out when your specific audience is most active on social media on a given day of the week.
There’s really no way to be too granular about fine tuning your posting times to better reach your audience.
When Is the Best Time to Post on Twitter?
Twitter is used in a slightly different way than other social media networks: people skim through content on profiles and topics they are interested in – often on their breaks during the workday.
You may find that overall interaction on Twitter will be lower than on Facebook or, particularly, Instagram. On the flip side, the reach of your content is potentially huge: the platform has 326 million monthly active users who send over 500 million tweets every day.
So how do you harness the fast-paced, hyper-current landscape of Twitter?
Content on Twitter needs to be punchy, grabbing the users’ attention immediately to get you those sweet, sweet likes and retweets. Get the hang of it and who knows, you might just go viral!
A key component to getting on the map with Twitter is answering the question: “When is the best time to post on Twitter?”
Unlike some other platforms, it’s less about publishing at exactly the right time with Twitter, as it is keeping up a healthy volume of tweets so that you stay on your audience’s Twitter newsfeed.
With that being said, when is the best time for you to post on Twitter?
Digital marketing guru, Neil Patel went into detail on the subject in his article An In-Depth Look at the Science of Twitter Timing. The data he found on the subject is fascinating for the US market:
If you want the engagement and reach, you should be tweeting at 5:00 pm EST. This allows you to catch people as they are leaving the office and scrolling on their commute home.
On the other hand, he says that if you want to boost your click-through rates, optimal tweet times will vary a bit: 12 noon and 6:00 pm will net you the most website clicks both midweek and on weekends.
It’s important to reiterate however, that you should always look at your own data to see when the best posting times for your individual business would be. In Socialbakers Suite, you can easily see when your audiences are the most active on Twitter at a glance to boost your engagement rates.
When Is the Best Time to Post on LinkedIn?
With a growth rate of about 2 new profiles per second and over 500 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network.
This where the most Fortune 500 decision-makers and executives spend their time, and a key difference that sets it apart is that LinkedIn does not have the barriers between accounts like Facebook. Content can be shared freely from profile to profile.
Even better, the people using LinkedIn are not looking for fluff, they tend to be much more interested in great content that could change and improve the way they do business.
LinkedIn is the #1 platform for B2B content marketing. It can be valuable to any business – it’s all down to the content you want to share.
So when is the best time to post on LinkedIn?
As a professional network, the best time to post on LinkedIn will reflect the people who are using it.
Aim for Tuesdays through Thursdays (Mondays and Fridays can be a bit slow). Publishing between 9am and 11am to catch users in their burst of morning activity. Publishing early in the day will also allow your content to pick up some traction for when your audience checks in again towards the end of the day.
The Best Time to Post on Social Media for YOU
When you’re finding the best time to post on social media, general guidelines are a great place to start. To really take your content and the engagement it brings in to the next level, you’ll need to look at the data for your industry, your region, and even your individual brand itself.
Your audience is specific to your brand, and while each platform needs bit of a different strategic approach, you can use audience information to maximize how well your content does across social media.
So where do you start?
Track Your Social Media Analytics
You can get started by using social media analytics to track the days and times your posts receive the most interactions and figure out the right posting times based on the data you have gathered.
There are some variables to consider when compiling your data though: if you’re posting about different topics or in different formats, your interactions will vary somewhat. For instance, video content may perform better on Facebook than an image or status posted at the same time or day of the week.
Still, tracking this data can be incredibly helpful in consolidating your information and looking for patterns of increased interactions around the same time.
One other difficulty with this data is that it’s siloed into individual social media platforms. It’s more useful if you are able to bring all your data together into one place. Consolidating your social media data allows for a much more holistic view of your performance across social.
You can do this manually, or you can turn to a third party solution, like Socialbakers social media analytics, to connect your social media accounts and let it do the work for you.
One great way to get a feel for your how your audience responds to content is to A/B test by choosing one variable, let’s say the time you post on social media, and testing two different time slots to see which one performs better.
This concept can be applied to pretty much anything from copy and content type, to posting times and frequency – any part of your content strategy that could be better defined is a great place to start with A/B testing.
Just don’t test too many variables at once or your data will be muddled. Keep your tests separate and have patience with them so that the results you bring in are clear and actionable.
Target Audience Analysis
Target audience analysis is the research of demographics, language, preferences, goals, and other metrics within a group. To boil it down, it’s researching who your audience is and who your audience is not – and/or helping you segment your audience so you know how to target different subsets within your audience.
Well-defined audience analysis can help you cut your costs and beat the competition by giving you the information you need to post relevant and engaging content that your audience will love.
When you’re considering when the best time for you to post on social media is, audience analysis can provide you with a wealth of valuable information about when your audiences might be active online and just as importantly where they will be active online.
It also helps you to fill in the gaps if you are posting at an optimal time for your industry, but your content isn’t performing as well as you think it should – audience analysis will allow you to fine tune your content strategy to match your specific audience and avoid generalizing.
Need help defining your audiences?
To make the most of your data, you’ll want to bring it all into one place. Native analytics and web traffic measurements are helpful, but you can skip the DIY steps of making sense of it all with the right toolkit.
Socialbakers Suite brings your social media and web data together to consolidate it in moments into actionable, defined personas with the help of AI.
Your audience isn’t a monolithic block, it’s made up of groups of people with different goals and preferences – these personas help reflect that, allowing you to target audience segments with laser-precision.
For more on audience analysis and personas, check out our full guide to target audience analysis.
Instead of asking yourself what the best time to post on social media is, think about each platform’s needs and affinities individually. On some, you may only want to post once or twice per week, while on others you may need to keep a regular schedule of content coming out to stay relevant on your audience’s feed.
Whatever your goals, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to questions like “what is the best time to post on Instagram?” or “what is the best time to post on LinkedIn?”
Instead, it’s important to know your audience and use the best tools at your disposal to keep your content strategy relevant and engaging.
With Socialbakers Suite and PrimeTime, you can leave the guesswork behind and making publishing a breeze with AI-powered smart recommendations for a content schedule that will keep your audience in the conversation.
Co-written by Jacob Porteous, Jr. Content Marketing Writer