The Best Time to Post on Instagram
Instagram looks different than it did just a few years ago. Today’s everyday Instagram user typically follows hundreds of accounts, both personal and business, and 59% of adults in the United States use the app every day.
Brand marketing on Instagram has grown drastically alongside the app’s usage by consumers in the last decade; business accounts post 1.6 times per day, on average. As a brand, it’s obviously important to create valuable, engaging content for Instagram that resonates with your target audience. However, it’s also worth your time to post Stories, feed posts, and Instagram Reels at the right time to maximize reach and connect with your highest-value followers (and beyond).
To uncover the best time to post on Instagram, you should have a basic understanding of the Instagram algorithm. Here’s a quick refresher on how Instagram determines post visibility, and then we’ll dive into the details of the best time to post on Instagram.
Understanding the Instagram Algorithm
The Instagram algorithm was created to show users content that’s most relevant and interesting to them. When users open the Instagram app, posts are no longer shown in chronological order, and suggested posts are shown alongside media from people that user is following. So what determines where your brand posts show up on a user’s feed or explore page?
Basically, the Instagram algorithm sifts through all the posts made since the last time a user logged in and then ranks them based on various factors. These include:
- The number of likes & comments a post has received
- How often do the user interacts with the poster
- Whether that user has engaged with similar posts in the past.
The algorithm then decides which posts to show that user based on these factors. These ranking signals are used to create the order in which Stories, Reels, and static posts show up in a variety of places: the home feed, explore page, Reels and IGTV feeds, and suggested posts.
Of course, this system isn't perfect, and sometimes you'll see posts from people you don't interact with very often or posts that are several days old. However, the Instagram algorithm does a good job of showing users the content they're most likely interested in.
So When’s the Best Time to Post on Instagram?
Anyone who has tried to build an Instagram following knows that it's not enough to post great content — you also need to post at the right time. This means researching your follower demographics while also looking at activity levels on different days of the week.
Hootsuite analyzed over 30,000 posts from businesses in a 2022 study, coming to the conclusion that Wednesday at 11am PST is the overall best time to post on Instagram for optimal impressions and engagement.
Most people check their feeds between 9am and 11am, and posts during this period are more likely to get likes and comments. Of course, this doesn't mean that you should only post during these hours — it's still important to be active throughout the day and consider your unique followers’ engagement habits. But if you want your posts to reach a larger audience, post during the morning hours.
Best Times to Post By Day
11:00am - 2:00pm
Mondays are typically slower days on the platform in terms of content output, so your posts may have a better chance of being seen. However, it’s also the start of the work and school week. This means users of all ages may be less likely to peruse their Instagram feeds while busy gearing up for the week.
8:00am - 11:00am
Most people are familiar with "peak hours" - the times of day when traffic is heaviest and things are most busy. The same is true for social media usage. Studies have shown that engagement levels are highest on Tuesdays in the early to late morning, meaning more people are likely to see and interact with your content. So if you're looking for maximum exposure for your posts on a Tuesday, try posting around 9am.
9:00am - 12:00pm
If you want the most engagement on your Instagram posts, Wednesday is the day to do it. Studies by Later, Hootsuite, Hubspot, and other social media knowledge outlets tend to agree that posting on Wednesday is the best choice for brands to get more likes, comments, and shares on their posts.
But that's not the only day that's good for posting on Instagram. Thursdays and Fridays are popular days for posting, and Sundays are the least popular. So if you want to avoid the competition, posting on Sundays might be your best bet. Remember that engagement rates vary depending on your audience, so it's always worth experimenting to see what works best for you.
11:00am - 2:00pm
Thursdays tend to be less crowded on the platform than other days of the week. It means that your posts have a better chance of being seen by more people. Additionally, on social media, Thursdays tend to bring out positive engagement overall, so your posts will likely receive more likes and comments. The best time frame to post on Instagram on Thursdays aligns with most people’s lunch breaks during the day.
2:00pm - 5:00pm
Most people use social media platforms, like Instagram, to share photos and updates with their friends and followers. People check their social media accounts at the end of the work week when they're more likely to have some free time and catch up on what they missed from friends and brands during the week. If you’re looking to maximize impressions and brand awareness, Friday late afternoon is a good bet.
8:00am - 11:00am
Saturday is the day when people are most likely to be scrolling through their feeds and interacting with new content, so consider Saturday posts as an opportunity to reach more users outside of your follower base. Data shows that the morning is optimal for Saturday posting, and this checks out — people are likely out and about on Saturdays during the afternoon and night as they enjoy the weekend.
6:00pm - 9:00pm
If you're looking to get the most out of your Sunday Instagram post, the best time to post is in the evening before 9:00pm Though Sunday is a slower day in general for brands on social media, the users who do view your post that day may be more likely to interact with or spend more time on your post than they would during the busy work week.
Instagram Timing Tips to Keep In Mind
While the times above are helpful when estimating an overall day-to-day strategy, they are gathered from universal data rather than your target audience specifically. The most important source of truth to consider when determining when to post is actually your own brand’s Instagram account performance.
Review Your Top Instagram Posts
Post at the wrong time, and your message will be lost in the noise; post at the right time, and you'll reach a wider audience and get more engagement.The first step to find your optimal posting time is to take a look at your existing top-performing posts. Look at when they were posted and what kind of content they featured. This will give you a good starting point for finding the best times for your business.
Instagram’s “Post Insights” section, which can be accessed through the “Insights” tab in your account settings, or via one post directly, gives your brand overall and detailed information about your post engagement and reach.
Remember that good engagement looks different depending on the type of post and its goal. While the success of a shoppable post may translate directly to sales, a post urging followers to reshare on their own profiles may be measured by number of shares.
Experiment with different times and days of the week as you refine your Instagram marketing strategy, and pay attention to when you get the most engagement. With a little trial and error, you'll soon find the sweet spot for reaching your target audience on Instagram.
Know When Your Audience is Online
If you want to get the most out of your Instagram account, it's important to post when your audience is most active online. This way, you'll maximize the number of people who see your posts and have a better chance of engagement.
So how do you find out when your audience is most active? There are a few different ways. One is to look at when your most recent posts have received the most likes or comments. Another is to use a tool like Pixlee TurnTo to analyze your account and see when your posts have gotten the most engagement.
In the followers tab of “Insights,” business accounts can not only get an idea of where and who their followers are, but also what times they’re most active, down to the hour.
While Instagram gives business accounts access to limited demographic information about their followers, brands developing a more robust approach to social media should consider a CRM platform that provides them with the most information possible. Pixlee TurnTo’s in-platform analytics not only let you see statistics like impressions and engagements at certain days and times, but also earned media value for specific posts.
Pixlee TurnTo helps brands collect, curate, and publish both user-generated content (UGC) and influencer media on social media as well as other marketing channels like email and website pages. Brands developing a strong social presence can benefit from featuring and measuring the success of these community-driven content types. More on this later.
Once you have a good understanding of when your audience is online, you can start to adjust your posting schedule accordingly. For example, if you find that they're most active in the evenings, then you might want to focus on posting at those times. Experiment and see what works best for you – and remember, it's always important to be consistent with your posting!
My name is Eric, and I'm an SEO consultant and part-time author. I specialize in helping businesses improve their organic search visibility, and I've written some articles and blogs for Ajroni on the subject. In addition to offering consulting services, I also offer a range of online courses that cover everything from basic SEO to advanced link-building strategies. My goal is to help as many people as possible to improve their understanding of SEO and make better use of the available tools and techniques. Thanks for reading!