The Best Time to Post on Instagram to Get More Likes, Clicks & Followers

August 4, 2022
by
Sean Flannigan

The Best Time to Post on Instagram to Get More Likes, Clicks & Followers

August 4, 2022
by
Sean Flannigan
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When painstakingly crafting your posts on Instagram, your one big hope is that they do numbers. 

You want engagement—likes, comments, shares. You want to get noticed and for that to turn into something more, like sales.

And Instagram is great for that.

Ecommerce businesses worth their salt have loads of beautiful product images and a backlog of user-generated content to fill up the Instagram timeline with content that excites.

But what happens when you post at the wrong time? Will anybody see your awesome content? 

In this post, we’ll explore how posts can get lost in the algorithm, the best times to post based on the studies, and how to determine your individual best time to post.

Let’s go.

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How does the Instagram algorithm work (AKA, what happened to my post)?

As with any social network, the particular algorithm at work on Instagram decides what posts show up for users. 

The intent is to give people the best experience (read: keep them on the app as much as possible), but what does it mean for brands?

instagram explore page discover new post algorithm
Instagram’s Explore page

The Instagram algorithm ranks content to determine how it appears in users’ feeds, hashtag search results, the Explore page, and more. 

To do this, it analyzes captions, alt text, and hashtags and matches posts with user intent.

The significant factors that decide how a post shows for a user are their relationship with your brand (messages, comments, follows), their interest in your brand (regular interaction), and how relevant your content is to the user (recency and topic trendiness).

That last one is critical for what we’re talking about today—recency.

“One of the most important factors is time. Recent posts are much more likely to appear in people's feeds than older posts. So, if you want your post to be seen by as many people as possible, you should try to post it when most of your followers are online.”

- Ty Wilson, Co-Founder at CustomMade

 New content wins out over old content, even if it's just a matter of hours or minutes. So, you need to know when your followers are active and post at that time. 

That way, you can show up instead of your competitors.

If you don’t quite know this information, some general guidelines are a great place to start. So let’s start there.

When is the best time to post on Instagram?

While it would be nice to have a pat answer to this question, the reality is that the best time to post on Instagram depends on your audience

Each brand is different, and they need to understand who they are trying to reach to know when to get posts up on Instagram.

That said, there are some guidelines around when to post that we’ll cover here to get you on the right track.

A look at the top studies on the best time to post on Instagram

Some of the biggest names in social media management have studied the best times to post on Instagram. 

To find some consensus, I’ve taken the data from Hootsuite, Later, Sprout Social, and Expert Voice (the last of which is from 2020). 

While there is some agreement among a few of these studies for certain days of the week, not all studies were in agreement.

The most significant outlier in these studies was from Later, which consistently showed 5 AM to 6 AM times across the board. 

Unlike other studies, they also believe that Saturday and Sunday are the best days to post and that Wednesday and Thursday are the worst days to post.

Below, you’ll see what these studies say about when you should be posting to Instagram.

best times to post on instagram by day of week and best days of the week to post on instagram based on studies from hootsuite sprout social expert voice and later

While there are some glaring disagreements on what time is best, you can get some ideas of when you might want to post for each day of the week. 

The best time to post on Instagram by day of the week

Based on the above studies, we found the following times were the best for posting on each day of the week

Given the range of times for Sunday and the universal agreement that it isn’t a great day for posting, there is no right time to post on that day.

best time to post on instagram by day of week consensus of studies
  • Best Time to Post on Instagram on Monday: 11 AM
  • Best Time to Post on Instagram on Tuesday: 10 AM
  • Best Time to Post on Instagram on Wednesday: 11 AM
  • Best Time to Post on Instagram on Thursday: 11 AM
  • Best Time to Post on Instagram on Friday: 11 AM or 2 PM
  • Best Time to Post on Instagram on Saturday: 10 AM - 11 AM
  • Best Time to Post on Instagram on Sunday: no consensus

Generally, weekends aren’t a good time to post. 

People are out doing their own thing, and their activity on Instagram is more about posting beach pics than scrolling through brand posts.

While your brand likely isn’t posting just one day a week, there is some consensus on the best day to post. 

Leaving aside the outlier study, the best day to post on Instagram is Wednesday. The most optimal time to post on that day would be 11 AM.

The best time to post on Instagram by location

Following the suggestions above should be a good starting point for brands with audiences in just a few nearby time zones, like the US.

As your audience becomes more distributed globally, your posting time will become less potent on its own. 

wooden world map with pins
Image: Brett Zeck

For instance, if you are targeting both the US and Australia, you might want to split up your posting times to hit the ideal time in both regions. 

That odd Sunday afternoon post in the US will be a perfect Monday morning post for your Aussie audience.

“Set posting times become less important as your audience's geographic distribution widens. If your target audience is concentrated in one place, make sure you base your Instagram posting schedule on that time zone.”

- Shiv Gupta, Founder and CEO of Incrementors.com

That said, you need to know where the bulk of your audience is located and lean into a posting schedule that prioritizes their engagement.

The best time to post on Instagram by industry

According to Ty Wilson, Co-Founder at CustomMade, “Every industry is different, meaning what works for one might not work for another. 

“For many, the best time to post is during business hours, when people are most likely to be online and engaging with content. Still, there are some notable exceptions.

If your industry is B2C, you might want to consider posting outside of business hours. During these times, more people scroll through their social media feeds and look for content to engage with.

“Some industries, such as the fitness industry, do well by posting early in the morning or late at night. This is when people are most likely to be thinking about their health and fitness goals.”

The best time to post an Instagram Story

Instagram Stories are a great way to get engagement on the platform. 

More than 500 million accounts use Stories daily; 58% of users are more interested in a brand after seeing it in a Story.

Since each Instagram Story stays up for 24 hours, you just want to make sure you are posting them before your audience’s peak times

The worst time to post a story would be just after they logged off for the day.

So, posting your Stories in the early morning would ensure it is ready to view when most users are on, often during their commutes or mid-day work breaks.

Of course, you want to understand the behaviors of your specific audience to make the right decisions about posting so you can get the maximum engagement rate for your creatives.

How to find the best time to post on Instagram for your brand

Once you’ve built up a following on Instagram and have published a considerable number of posts, you can start finding your best time to post. 

Luckily, Instagram gives you the data to start optimizing your social media strategy.

Dig into your Instagram Insights

You must refer to your Instagram analytics to determine when your target audience is most active. 

“The best time to post on Instagram really depends on your target market. For instance, if you're targeting working professionals, the best time would be in the evening or on weekends. However, if you're targeting stay-at-home moms, the best time to post would be during the day while their kids are at school.”

- Darren Litt, Co-Founder at Hiya Health

With an Instagram business account, you can access information that personal Instagram accounts do not. This is vital information that your social media marketer can use to narrow in on the ideal times to post.

instagram insights viewing on phone
Image: Georgia de Lotz

You can find Insights on your Business profile page, just below the Edit Profile button.

Find vital information about who you are posting for in the Your audience section, which will show their age range, locations, gender, and most active times.

In the Content you shared section, you’ll be able to see engagement metrics for your posts like comments, likes, impressions, reach, profile visits, and more. 

This can tell you much about what type of content does well, but you can also see the times you posted your top hits.

You’ll find metrics for all your content types: Stories, Reels, Instagram Live, Instagram Shopping, etc.

Research your competitors’ posting habits

As with anything in ecommerce, it’s essential to know what your competitors are up to so that you can do it better.

In this instance, you can spy on their Instagram activity to see when they post, their posts' engagement, how many followers they have, what types of content are getting the most love, etc.

Their target audience is your target audience, so a big part of your social media strategy needs to be finding ways to steal the attention of their followers to make them your own.

As you start aping some of their most successful posting habits, you can track your efforts to see what works best.

Measure and optimize your results

Just like when you make changes to your ecommerce store to drive better results, you need to keep track of what you are doing to land on the best strategy for posting.

You can easily use a spreadsheet to keep track of the times you post and the engagement metrics.

Over time, you should be able to see a trend. If engagement falls, you know you are off track and need to keep testing. If engagement increases, you can start fine-tuning your strategy to leverage your findings.

Instagram Insights will be valuable for revealing the trends of your experimentation. 

Many brands also use a social media tool to help visualize their progress and optimize their strategies.

Use a social media scheduling tool

If you don’t already use a tool to schedule your posts, you might want to consider going this route.

Once you know your best times to post on Instagram, you can easily schedule out your posts for peak times and not worry about posting live (especially if your perfect times are super early in the morning).

Some of the companies that did these studies into Instagram posting times have tools that make this easy, even incorporating features that suggest the best times to post for your brand.

A few tools to consider:

Increase engagement by finding your best Instagram posting times

While nothing in marketing is as simple as it seems, there are always ways to simplify your experience.

As is often the case, knowing your audience is the key to great social media marketing

By understanding who they are, when they are active, and what they like, you can start growing your engagement metrics on Instagram.

Those new to Instagram can start from the times we’ve distilled from the major studies on the topic. 

As you get more data on your audience, you can tweak your posting schedule to accommodate how they spend their time on social media. OK, now start posting!

#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Build landing pages that convert<cta-title>Create and customize landing pages with all the vital elements for conversions—or build a fabulous homepage quickly.Start designing today

Sean Flannigan

Sean is one of Shogun's tireless content marketers. When he isn't creating exciting ecommerce content, he's probably biking or at the park.