Finding the best time to post on Instagram is a struggle many creators face.
With 24 hours in the day to choose from, I’ve often felt overwhelmed by trying to narrow down the perfect moment that will result in the highest level of engagement.
If you try to Google the “best time to post on Instagram”, you'll find lots of great studies to help you find that optimal time.
When Later performed a study on the matter, they concluded the best time to post was between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. EST.
Sprout Social did their own study and found the best times to post on Instagram are Wednesday at 12 p.m. EST and Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST.
And HopperHQ conducted another study and found that weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. (in the timezone you’re located) resulted in the best results.
As you can see, the data varies across the board. And because your account is unique, you're going to want to find a time to post that is right for you!
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Why is it important to know when to post on Instagram?
A lot of thought (and work!) goes into crafting the perfect piece of Instagram content for your audience.
Posting your content at that perfect moment, when your audience is online and engaged, will help you increase the reach of your post and improve engagement.
Some people may argue that because the Instagram feed is no longer chronological, the time you post is not relevant anymore.
However, Instagram’s algorithm takes three main factors into consideration when placing it in the feed:
- Interest: The level at which Instagram believes a follower cares about a particular type of content
- Recency: Instagram will prioritize fresh content over content that is older
- Relationship: The closer you are with your followers, the more likely your content will appear in their feeds
As “recency” is a primary ranking factor, it's still important to be posting when your audience is online and can view new content from you.
So how do you figure out when to post on Instagram?
How to find the best times to post on Instagram
Narrowing down the best times to post to your Instagram feed will take a little bit of work, but luckily, every method we will talk about today is straight-forward and easy to implement.
Instagram Insights is chock-full of juicy analytics you can use to your advantage, especially when trying to figure out when to post to your feed.
To access Instagram Insights, you’ll first want to make sure you have an Instagram Business account set up.
Along with getting access to Instagram Insights, having an Instagram Business account will allow you to:
- Create Instagram ads
- Add the “Swipe Up” feature to your Instagram Stories (for accounts with more than 10,000 followers)
- Add a contact button to your Instagram profile
To access the information we need, click on the hamburger menu in the top right corner on you profile page and then click on “Insights”.
Next, click on the “Audience” tab and scroll down to the “Followers” breakdown.
Here, you’ll see a bar graph showing you the most popular times when your followers are active in your timezone, broken down by the days of the week.
Your Insights will give you a nice starting point, however, as the bar graph is broken down into three-hour increments, we will want to take it a step further to try and find an exact time to post on Instagram.
With the click of a button, HopperHQ’s handy free tool will help you determine the best hour for you to post, personalized to your account!
To uncover the best time to post, connect your Instagram by clicking “Connect Instagram” as shown below:
Once your Instagram account is connected, you’ll be given two different times: follower activity and post engagement.
Lastly, we’ll look at how you can manually figure out the best time to post on Instagram to increase your reach.
To track your posts on Instagram, we recommend creating a spreadsheet with the following columns:
- link to your Instagram post
- date posted
- day of the week
- number of likes received
- number of comments received
- number of saves received
- number of shares received
- total engagement
You should check your spreadsheet periodically to see if any posting times stand out.
With Instagram Insights, HopperHQ's free tool and your spreadsheet, you're going to know precisely when to post to Instagram for maximum reach!
Finding the best time to post your Instagram Stories
When it comes to your Instagram stories, you’ll want to determine the best time to post along with the best day to post.
Unlike your posts, which can be seen in your followers’ feeds several days after you’ve posted, your stories only have a 24-hour lifespan before they disappear.
Let’s say you are posting about an upcoming promotion you are having. If you want to maximize the number of people who see your stories, you'll want to post them on days when your audience is most active.
Here’s how you can find this out:
To figure out what days of the week your audience is most active, head back into your Instagram Insights and look under the “Audience” tab and scroll down to where it says “Followers”.
In this section, you can look at the time when your followers are most active for each day of the week, or you can view what days of the week they are most active.
Click on “Days” and then tap on the blue bars to bring up the total numbers.
As you can see in the screenshot above, these followers are most active on Mondays (represented by the darkest blue bar) and are the least active on Wednesdays.
Knowing this, you’ll be able to confidently schedule important information to be shared via your Instagram Stories.
To track your Instagram Stories, you can create a spreadsheet (like the one we mentioned to track your Instagram posts!) to get a clear picture of the best days and times to post to your stories.
In your spreadsheet, it would be helpful to track the day of the week you posted, the time, and the number of views your story received.
After collecting enough data, you’ll be able to see patterns in certain days of the week that resulted in higher views. You can then use that data to formulate an Instagram Stories strategy to grow your account.
Experiment and evaluate the times you post
As your Instagram account grows and you acquire more followers, your account will change and the best time to post might change as well.
The easiest way to find the best time to post on Instagram is through experimentation and evaluation. Don’t be afraid to try new times and see how they work – you might be surprised!
After you’ve found the best times to post to Instagram, it’s a good idea to evaluate those times each quarter, or every few months, to make sure you’re still on the right track.
Other tips for finding the best time to post on Instagram
Analyzing your analytics is a great start to help you find the perfect moment to post on Instagram.
Here are a few more helpful tips to ensure you are always posting content when your audience is online!
Holidays and seasonal changes
Other factors can have a significant influence on what times you will be posting to your Instagram. For instance, holidays, weekends and even changes in seasons can impact your audience’s behavior on the ‘gram.
The best thing you can do is test and see what days or times of the year result in less or more engagement.
The more familiar you get with your audience and their activity on Instagram, the better you'll be able to adapt and change the time you post for different occasions!
Different time zones
I once came across a great question: “how do I grow my Instagram account with people from different countries?”
If your business is local, you probably won’t benefit from followers outside your region.
But if you want to grow an international following, it may help to do some research to determine the best time to post in different timezones.
You might even find that your current audience spans over several different time zones!
You can use Instagram Insights to figure out what timezone your followers are in by going into the “Audience” section and scrolling down to “Top Locations”.
What is the worst time to post on Instagram?
Your Instagram strategy wouldn’t be complete without identifying the worst time to post.
We've already determined that the best time to post is when your followers are on the app and consuming content.
So it makes sense that it's probably not ideal to post when your followers are:
- spending time with family (such as dinner time)
The quickest way to find out the time you should avoid posting at is to look at the data in your spreadsheets. As you begin to collect data manually, you’ll simultaneously be able to identify what times result in high engagement and what times result in low engagement.
Growing your email list through Instagram
Once you’ve identified the days and times that will result in the highest engagement, your next step is to use that engagement to your advantage!
And what better way to do that than to grow your email list?
When it comes to Instagram, most people don't realize just how easy it is to grow an email list.
Many creators shy away from starting an email list because it seems overly complicated.
With a free ConvertKit account, you can create compelling landing pages to collect leads in a snap! Each landing page comes with a unique link that you can add to your Instagram bio (no need for you to purchase a domain if you don't have one).
Take this landing page from Dr. Jennifer Williams:
Dr. Williams uses a landing page to gather a waitlist for a new product.
When your followers click on your link (as directed by your Instagram caption call-to-action), they’re sent to your very own landing page to sign up for your email list.
Just imagine how much easier it would be to launch your next product or sell your current offering if you had an email list full of eagerly-awaiting customers…