What is the best time to post on Instagram in 2020?
You work hard to consistently come up with creative, imaginative posts for Instagram. You want as many people to see them as possible.
So is the best time to post on Instagram?
Well, it depends on who you ask. The answer generally depends on when your audience is online.
As a good place to start, we've looked at studies across several industries to pinpoint that perfect moment to post for your business.
But first a disclaimer. Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way your customers are using Instagram...
As daily routines changed, people’s lives went online and social media became the key way for friends to communicate with each other, and for brands to communicate with their customers.
Sprout Social’s pre-lockdown research tells us that Wednesday at 11am and Friday from 10am to 11am were the best times to post to Instagram.
Covid-19 and the increase in home working blew that time window open.
Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 11am and Tuesday at 2pm are now the best time to post on Instagram.
Even weekends are good times to post on Instagram to get good engagement now, though they never used to compete.
The worst time to post on Instagram is after 6 pm when individuals have finished work for the day.
Keep this in mind when preparing your social media calendar.
Just 10 years old in 2020, and Instagram is already bigger than Twitter. And it just keeps growing.
More than half its users are under 35, according to another Sprout Social Study so Insta is set to get even bigger as it grows with its audience.
Before Covid-19, the best time to post on Instagram is Wednesday at 11am and Friday from 10am to 11am.
Wednesday is the best overall day of the week to post. The worst time to try and engage with an audience is Sunday.
Due to its easy-on-the-eye and scrollable nature, Instagram gets a pretty good flow of users on the weekend, compared to its throughout-the-week traffic.
That’s compared to Facebook, Twitter, and of course Linkedin, which receives much less traffic at the weekend.
Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm are good times for getting engagement on Instagram.
Very little happens between 9pm and 6pm. This shouldn’t be too surprising because it’s when most of us are sleeping.
So what does all this mean for brands?
Wednesday at 3pm is the best time for B2C companies to get engagement on Instagram and Wednesday is the best day for getting engagement overall. Sundays are to be avoided.
So when should you be planning your best posts using your social media scheduling tools?
Queue them up for any time from Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 3pm, because you’ll see the biggest flow of traffic then.
Why do these times work best?
Lunchtime is always a good time for engagement, then from 1pm to 3pm most of us experience a ‘sugar slump’ where we’re easily distracted from whatever it is we should be doing.
At these times Instagram has never been so tempting.
The times B2C brands don’t get any worthwhile engagement is before 5am and after 9pm on weekdays.
Unique in their output, media companies differ to other sectors when it comes to finding the best time to post on Instagram.
The peak time for engagement is Friday at 9 am (Friday is the best weekday overall).
The worst days for media companies to post is at the weekend.
Other high-engagement times are Monday to Friday from 8am to 10am, or from 2pm to 4pm. Or in other words, not during lunch.
Keep this in mind when creating your social media plan.
Instagram is great for alerting students to upcoming events, engaging with past alumni, and marketing their offerings. Plus users of Instagram Live where they can stream video in real-time.
But educational institutions should also run on a different timetable when it comes to posting to Instagram.
Friday at 10am is the peak time for schools, colleges and other educational institutions to reach an engaged audience.
Friday in general is the best day to get engagement, and Sunday is the worst day overall.
But you can’t just wait for Friday to post. Save your best material for then, and be sure to post in the afternoons and evenings through from Tuesday to Saturday.
Be sure to avoid posting before and 8am and after 11pm, because you’ll get limited engagement.
Instagram is a really important tool for any social media manager or marketer at a charity or non-profit organization.
Images bring stories to life, and Instagram is the natural home for sharing image content.
Plus, engagement on Instagram is generally very good, so your appeals won’t get lost in the noise, like on Twitter, or receive limited reach, like on Facebook.
Charities and other non-profit organizations receive the most engagement on their Instagram posts on Tuesday from 1pm to 3pm and on Wednesday at 2pm.
The middle of the week, and especially Wednesday, is the best day to post overall. Sunday is the worst day.
Monday through to Friday and from 10am to 4pm are good times for engagement overall. The worst time to get engagement is from Monday to Friday before 8am and after 10pm.
Should tech companies be using Instagram?
The short answer is yes. If you can produce beautiful images, Instagram is a great place to build hype for your product or show off how great your work environment is.
People considering whether to join a software company (vs companies with a physical product to sell) typically look at Instagram to find out what it’s like to work at your company.
So Instagram works well as a talent-magnet.
With an audience of followers who tend to be early risers, tech companies should save the best posts in their content calendar for at Wednesday at 6am and from 9am to 10am.
Friday from 7am to 10am is also a great time to post.
Like many other industries, the best day for the tech sector to post is Wednesday, and Sunday is the worst day.
Good times for tech companies to post are Tuesday evening through to Wednesday afternoon, and Friday from midday to 10 pm.
Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday are the worst times. Many tech companies (including ContentCal!) choose not to post at the weekends.
Is there a strong case for healthcare companies to maintain an Instagram presence?
Compared to other organizations, institutions like hospitals have two important features that make them well-suited to Instagram.
- They have important messages to share about public health
- They receive more goodwill and gratitude than any brand
With sensitive and thoughtful content, the health sector can thrive on Instagram.
If you work in the healthcare industry then the best time you can post is on a Tuesday. That’s when the majority of your audience most likely to engage with your posts, according to Sprout Social.
In fact, Tuesday as a whole is the best day to post, while weekends are the worst time to post.
Instagram is a great place for finance brands to share news, company updates, and content that shows that work is not all about making money such as staff taking part in community events.
Wednesday is the best day for finance companies to post on Instagram, while Thursday is the worst.
Afternoons are the best time to post, particularly ton a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Brands involved in arts and entertainment thrive on Instagram because these brands have so much amazing content to share.
For the same reason, Instagram has become many restaurants’ bread and butter.
With many magazines now ranking restaurants on how Instagrammable they are, not just how the food tastes, posting at the right time has never been more important.
If you work in these industries, you should save your best posts for Wednesday and Thursday at 1pm, when they’re most likely to receive the most engagement.
Wednesday is the best day to post your social media marketing content overall, and Sunday is the worst day to post.
The best overall times for engagement are 8am to 8pm from Monday right through to Thursday. **The worst times to get engagement are **before 6am and after 10pm.
If you’ve never posted from your brand account before, looking at the best time to post by sector is the best - and probably only - place to start.
However, chances are you’ve been posting for some time already, which puts you in a much better position.
By looking at how your previous Instagram posts have performed at different times, you’ll be able to build a complete picture of the best time for your company to post to social media platforms.
You can find the best time to post on ContentCal, or you can look on Instagram to find the best time to post within the app.Take the first steps to mastering your content marketing and social media presence now by booking a ContentCal demo with one of our engagement specialists. Find out how ContentCal can enable you to be more organized, efficient, and creative.
If you haven’t already, sign up for a business account on Instagram. This allows you to access the Instagram Insights tool.
This analytics tool shows you who your followers are in terms of gender, age, and location (once you have more than 100 followers).
But - and this is a big but - it also shows you when your audience is online.
When you look at that info alongside engagements per post, you’ll have a super clear idea of the best time you should be posting on Instagram.
Here’s how to do it.
You can get Insights by tapping the bar graph icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen when you’re on the app’s home page.
There you’ll be able to learn more about your followers.
Find out what time of day and what day of the week they’re most likely to be online. Guess what, that’s the best time to post.
You’re also able to find out more demographic information about your audience so you can make some basic assumptions about the way they use social media.
If they’re students they could be more likely to wake up late, for example.
There are some other useful insights here too, even if they don’t tell you exactly what time you should be posting.
Engagements per post and account-level reach and engagements show how your Instagram posts are doing over time.
All of this data helps you discover the best time and day for your posts to get engagement. You can then tweak your posting schedule accordingly, before checking your analytics again to see how you’ve improved.
A better question would be: ‘How often can you produce amazing content?’
Your aim should be to put as much amazing content live as possible. Instagram is such a visual tool that it’s difficult to rush off a quick post, like you might with Twitter.
Can only manage once a week? That’s fine.
Though several studies suggest that once per day is the ideal posting frequency. That includes Dow Social’s research which concluded that because Instagram is picture-led, posts are more shareable.
Dow Social added that you can post up to three times per day – provided you keep up with your posting routine.
Consistency is really important.
Find a few times that work for you, then regularly post at those times.
If you post every day for a week, and then miss the following week, you’ve undone all your good work!
So start slow, and build up a posting rhythm around your best times to post that you can keep up with.
Two years ago, Instagram hit the one billion monthly users mark.
The average user is on the platform for a total of 27 minutes a day, according to stats from Hootsuite.
Now that’s a lot of potential engagement for anyone.
It’s also a meteoric rise, leading many tech commentators to predict that it will overtake Facebook soon.
(Thanks to TechCrunch for the image.)
It’s no surprise that like Facebook, Instagram’s algorithm is focused on ‘meaningful content.’
This means we see more posts from the people and brands that we, and the people around us, engage with most.
All other content gets lost in the background. Instagram won’t put it on your feed.
For brands this means creating communities is an important way to build followers.
The type of engagement possible for posts on Instagram includes views, and likes, shares, tags and comments.
Any of these engagements signals to Instagram that an individual likes a company’s content. As a result, he or she will see it more often than other content.
Lets’ talk quickly about Instagram Stories.
Instagram introduced Stories, which allows companies to post temporary content. This feature is going directly after Snapchat. The Stories disappear after 24 hours.
Instagram Stories which allows **companies to post temporary content. Like on Snapchat these disappear after 24 hours.
Stories is a great way to showcase products, promote products and run competitions.
Instagram users tend to post Stories more than they do post nowadays. Your brand should do the same.
If you’re planning to grow your engagement on Instagram, Instagram Stories is the next step.
Looking to find out the best time to post on your other social channels? Take a look at our blog on the best times to post on social media in 2020.
Level up your social accounts
We’ll send you our latest blogs, guides, and let you know about upcoming webinars. Subscribe to our newsletter, so you don’t miss a thing.