Best time to post on Instagram - 3 ways to choose the time

Surely it happened to you: you worked on the post, carefully selected everything, thought it over, finally posted it, but it too sluggishly gains likes and comments. And this means only one thing - you have determined incorrectly when to upload the post to Instagram. Or didn’t even try to determine it.

In order for content to instantly collect large reach, you need to consider the time of activity of your subscribers. The feed is being updated, and your publications may simply not be seen due to the abundance of entries.

With the advent of algorithmic feeds, the essence of feed generation has changed and the time of content publication has ceased to significantly affect the reach. Still, bloggers and businesses are trying to find the relationship between post release time and engagement rate.

The Instagram algorithm prefers fresh posts when it determines what content you'll see in your news feed. And while it no longer displays posts in chronological order, the algorithm aims to deliver fresh content that will hook you. This means that new posts are more likely to appear first in your news feed, no matter how many times you update it. What does this mean for companies? You want your posts to appear “recently published” when subscribers are more likely to end up online. This way they are more likely to see the content, "like" the material, and comment it.

Audience activity depends not only on the time of publication, but also on the day of the week. Based on this, you need to competently draw up your content plan for the week: entertainment materials should be published on one day, and selling posts on another.

In general, the importance of posting time in the realities of smart feeds is gradually decreasing. The algorithms themselves determine when to show your posts to the audience, no matter what time you publish the post. For Instagram and Facebook, this is of minimal importance. Globally, the era of choosing the best posting time is leaving - it is not necessary to calculate until the minute when it is better to publish a post, if it can be shown in the feed both immediately after release and late at night.

How to choose the best time to publish your posts

I think why define it, you understand. Now I'll tell you about three ways to find out what time it is better to post a post so that subscribers will definitely like it.

Method 1. Self, manual testing

If you are an adherent of manual labor and trust only yourself, then in order to choose the best time to publish your posts, you will have to do the following.

Experiment: Make posts throughout the month on different days of the week and times. Capture the reach of your posts in a simple spreadsheet - Excel or Google Sheets. Gradually, you will notice peaks as posts gain more engagement from subscribers. This will be the most successful time for publications.

Step 1. Select the analysis period - for example, 3 months.

Step 2. In the Excel or Google sheets, mark the day and time of publication of each post, its topic, the number of reactions in general and the number of reposts, comments, and likes separately.

Step 3. Sort posts so that those with the most reactions are at the top.

Step 4. Analyze the time at which you published posts that hit your personal top.

Step 5. Draw conclusions about when your audience is more involved in the discussion.

Method 2. Through Instagram Insights

You can also analyze when subscribers are online within a social network. To quickly figure out when your followers open Instagram and are more likely to view your content, you need to dig into Instagram analytics. But this is only possible if you have a business profile or an author account. Extended statistics are not available for regular accounts.

Use built-in Instagram account analytics. It is available for business accounts: if your account type is "personal", you will not see this data. You can connect a business account in the settings. You will need to link your Facebook business page to your Instagram profile. If you don't have one, the social network will offer to create a page right during the process of switching your account. It does not need to be filled out and updated in the future, the page exists nominally, only to include a business profile.

An important difference between a business profile is that it cannot be made private. Therefore, if you need privacy, this method of finding the best posting times will not work.

Statistics will start to be collected only after enabling the business profile. If you are doing this now, while reading the article, wait for the accumulation of data. To estimate the days of the week and the time of day of publication of posts, you will need to collect data for 3-4 weeks.

Go to the Statistics section and analyze which days of the week and time of day your subscribers are most active. If you click on the graph, absolute values will appear - the number of users among your followers who are online on Instagram at the specified time.

You will also see data about the geography of your subscribers - consider time zones when calculating the best time to post.

Method 3. Using special services

1. Iconosquare will cost significantly more - 30 euros per month. But this resource provides detailed statistics of followers on your Instagram blog, which will be very useful for determining the ideal time to post content. Note that Iconosquare provides much more useful information than the usual social network metric.

Among its advantages:

  • advanced analytics of posts, stories, tags and mentions with a customizable toolbar - convenient for those who don't like a "cluttered" interface with dozens of unnecessary numbers
  • the ability to collect data on multiple profiles without the need to re-login
  • a convenient publication planner that provides even such trifles as the desired geolocation
  • analysis of the best practices of your competitors - and the profiles are selected by the program itself
  • additional services, such as choosing a random comment, are useful for those who often hold draws
  • 2. Buffer is an advanced Instagram posting system. It has everything you need, including auto-posting, extended statistics, etc. However, it costs from 15 to 200 dollars, depending on the choice of the package.

    3. HypeAuditor analyzes basic account information, socio-demographic characteristics, and audience quality. For example, the percentage of real people, stores, suspicious accounts and mass followers among subscribers. He also studies how the growth of subscribers in the account occurs: through content or markups. Artificial intelligence helps to calculate all this.

    How to choose the best time to publish your posts

    How to increase the reach of your publications

    - For Instagram feed

    To make your posts more visible in your news feed, do the following:

  • Keep track of your competitors. See the activity of their accounts: when they post posts, how much reach they get. Record the periods in which posts get the maximum number of responses and test them in your personal profile
  • Ask to turn on notifications. Motivate your subscribers to turn on alerts for your new posts. Then they will definitely not be missed, regardless of the time of release
  • Consider your time zone. It happens that account owners post posts according to local time, and their audience is residents of the Far East. Due to the large difference in hours, a significant part of the coverage is lost
  • Post at the beginning of the period. If the activity of followers is from 12.00 to 18.00, it is better to post at 12 noon, since the publication at this time will “hook” the entire successful hour period and gain more likes
  • Spread your recording on uneven hours. For example, not at 16.00, but at 16.03 or 16.12. This will increase the likelihood that your content will be noticed against the background of posts from other accounts that are massively published at exactly the same time
  • Use auto-posting. A certain time of activity of followers may not be very convenient for you. The problem will be solved by auto-posting services, in which you can schedule a publication, and it will be released at the right time
  • Stick to a schedule. Try to adhere to a stable release time of posts so that subscribers know when they need to check out Instagram to read the latest information from you
  • Consider post categories. For example, it is customary to post educational or news content in the morning, when people absorb information better. And entertaining posts will come in in the evenings, when the audience goes to Instagram to relax
  • Don't forget to take breaks. At lunchtime, users often surf the social network to distract themselves. Therefore, you can post an easy-to-read post at this time, for example, a funny video, meme, etc.
  • Don't be active on the weekend. If you want to get coverage, don't post on Sat, Sun, and holidays. During this time, people usually travel or vacation with their families, and spend little time watching the feed.
  • - For stories

    Stories can also be used to increase the reach of posts. So catch a few more cool life hacks:

  • Take a survey. Ask subscribers to the story when it is convenient for them to read the new post, for example, using the “Test” sticker. For what time will more followers vote, then you need to publish
  • Duplicate the publication. Submit the new post to the story in the context of "Have you seen the new post?" If people did not see the content in the feed, they can follow the link from the stories
  • Announce the exit. Warn your audience in stories when the latest post is out. Even if they do not watch it at this time, they will know that it will definitely be in the tape later
  • Split the story. Break them down into several semantic parts and publish one at a time with a certain time interval. At the same time, be sure to inform your followers that the next part will be released, for example, within an hour
  • Post multiple stories a day. For example, with an interval of 1.5-2 hours. This way, they will not go to the “end of the queue” in the subscriber's feed, where the chances of views are much lower
  • Use additional stories. Post one late in the evening and one early the next morning. So you get views. The evening story will “pull up” others published during the day to the beginning of the “queue,” and the morning story - all stories for the past day
  • Don't forget about regularity. So subscribers will quickly join your regime and start watching the life of your account every day. Over time, stories will be displayed at the beginning of their feed and have an increased chance of being opened
  • Determine the quantity. That is, the optimal number of stories, which is constantly gaining maximum views. If you have posted 50 items per day in a row, it is unlikely that all of them will gain good coverage. Better 3-5-10 with a time interval, but with a guarantee of high views.
  • What time to broadcast live?

    Live streaming is a great way to connect with your audience. Also, this format attracts new subscribers.

    It is best to broadcast in the evening - from 19:00 to 23:00. This is the time when your target audience is at home and can allocate 1-2 hours to watch the broadcast. As for the day of the week, we recommend that you broadcast live on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

    Audience activity depends not only on the time of publication, but also on the day of the week. Based on this, you need to competently draw up your content plan for the week: entertainment materials should be published on one day, and selling posts on another.

    What to publish by day of the week:

  • Monday. The first working day of the week. People after the weekend, which means selling them something that day is not the best idea. So post fun posts on Monday.
  • Tuesday. On Tuesday, you can publish informational and educational content - instructions, reviews, recommendations.
  • Wednesday. You can sell on this day of the week - post posts with special offers, promotions.
  • Thursday. On Thursday, you can post any content: entertaining or educational.
  • Friday. The end of the working week is the time to prepare for the weekend. Publish entertaining content at the same time, you can try to post a selling post.
  • Saturday. First day off. As a rule, on this day there is very low activity of the audience: people go to cafes, bars, go to nature. Therefore, on Saturday, it is better to post posts from 10:00 to 14:00.
  • Sunday. On this day, the audience is most active throughout the day. Therefore, you can post posts at any time. Focus on entertainment content, but it can be diluted with sales and educational posts.
  • Remember, post time cannot compensate for poor content quality. Time is tracked as a metric to give momentum to content that is already good.

    Best time to post or not to post by industry

    Travel and tourism

    Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    According to Unmetric, brands in this niche saw the most engagement when they posted content at 11:00 or 13:00, but also at 9:00 and 10:00 (last quarters of an hour).

    On average, for travel and tourism brands on Instagram, Friday was the best posting day, followed by Tuesday and Monday.

    Subscribers to these accounts are likely responding well to travel content as they are planning the weekend. However, on Mondays and Tuesdays, they must be reminiscing about weekends on the beach or in the mountains.

    When not to post: If you are starting a travel account from scratch, do not post after 1pm. Also avoid Saturdays and Sundays when your followers go out in search of real life adventures.

    Media and entertainment

    Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 - 15:00

    According to Unmetric, the Top 20 Instagram accounts in media and entertainment saw the most engagement when posts were posted between 2pm and 3pm, followed by 12pm and 1pm.

    It's likely that people watch the news feed during lunchtime and during a downturn in the afternoon, hoping to get a boost or laugh to get through to the end of their working hours.

    Tuesday and Thursday are the clear winners of audience engagement by day of the week in this niche. However, brands get good results on Mondays and Saturdays as well.

    There are a number of lessons to be drawn from this, but subscribers are likely to find entertaining Insta content compelling regardless of the date it was posted. The fact that it reaches such a large audience means that this niche is responsible for a wide range of human behavior.

    When not to post: in the morning.

    Food and drink

    Friday at 12 noon.

    This is unlikely to surprise you. The most popular accounts in the food and beverage industry are most successful at posting at 12 noon, when many people stop working to consume food and drinks.

    Whether they are looking for inspiration, motivation, or something tastier than a lunch they bring with them, this time is the clear winner in engagement. If your brand posts 1 post per day, then publish it at 12 noon.

    Friday is the average day of the week with the highest engagement. But Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday are also good days in this niche.

    When not to post: Newbies to this Instagram community should not post outside of meal times.


    Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 12 noon

    Lunch time is also popular outside the food and beverage niche.

    The top retail brands during this time also saw the highest engagement with Instagram followers, especially on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

    When not to post: If you are just starting an Instagram account, avoid posting outside of lunch hours, that is, before 11 and after 1 pm.

    Professional services

    Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 or 10 am

    On average, top brands in the professional services industry seem to be most successful when published on a weekday morning, especially on Fridays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

    These types of Instagram companies often post useful educational content related to blog posts or videos. People probably prefer this type of content at the start of the day. And when they are at work, they want to try to do something from what they see.

    When not to post: If you have a brand new Professional Services account, avoid posting on weekends and evenings until your analytics dictates otherwise.

    Non-profit organizations

    Tuesday at 10 am or 4 pm

    Unmetric data suggests that the Top 20 nonprofit brands on Instagram were most successful with posts at 4 p.m.

    However, in the first half of 2018, subscribers viewed more content posted at 10 a.m. So keep in mind both times ー 10 am and 4 pm when scheduling posts.

    Content posted on Tuesday received more reach, but Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday also showed more engagement.

    When not to post: Unless your analytics service tells you otherwise, non-profit brands should avoid posting outside of business hours on Mondays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

    Non-retail e-commerce

    Tuesday at 4 pm or 9 pm

    Top non-retail e-commerce brands have the most successful posting times on Instagram ー at night and late at night on any day of the week, but especially on Thursday. 21:00 is the most successful time, followed by 16:00.

    Subscribers are likely more inclined towards entertainment and romance-setting content after work.

    When not to post: New brands in the industry should not post during their followers' business day.

    Pharmaceuticals and healthcare

    Wednesday and Sunday at 9 am.

    The top brands in this category are fitness-focused accounts, and their followers tend to view content posted at 9am more often.

    Wednesday and Sunday are the days when content works best. Probably these days people want a motivational boost (in the middle of the work week or before the start of the work week). However, Monday and Saturday also perform well.

    When not to post: Always set aside time for experimentation, but avoid posting anytime other than in the morning if you want more reach.

    Personal care

    Friday and Thursday at 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm

    The best accounts in this category, mainly focused on the cosmetics niche, enjoy the greatest success in the afternoon, towards the end of the work week. However, Tuesday and Wednesday are also good options. Save your best content for this time and day.

    When not to publish: New brands in this space should avoid heavy publishing efforts on weekends or outside of the midday to late afternoon window.


    Monday and Tuesday at 2 p.m.

    On average, the best Instagram accounts get the most engagement when they post on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Recently, however, their most effective day is Monday. Both days are good posting options.

    When not to publish: There is no reason to give up experimenting with a publishing schedule. Just post also on Mondays and Tuesdays at 2 pm.


    Thursday at 4 pm or 5 pm

    Everyone knows that for university students, the weekend starts on Friday. So if you are a secondary vocational school (like many of the best accounts in this niche), you need to catch your followers before they go about their business: on Thursday at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m.

    However, Friday and Wednesday are also high-performing days for educational institutions on Instagram. It seems that some people are browsing posts on Friday.

    11 a.m. and 12 p.m. are also good time options.

    When not to post: It's probably best to avoid posting early in the morning and on weekends, but anything is possible.

    The data from the study provide an overview of the impact of posting time on activity. They are relevant for many pages, but for some accounts the situation may be different.

    To determine the best time to post to Instagram in your account, analyze the results for older posts.

    Above we have given some recommendations for choosing the optimal time, but you must do the main work yourself. Remember that a post gets the most views in the first four hours after publication. Therefore, it is important to choose the right time to get to the top of Instagram.

    Don't post too monotonous content, diversity is becoming the trend this year. You can intersperse news with educational publications and humor. Use thematic and popular hashtags in your posts, interesting captions for photos, do not forget about videos and live broadcasts. Be a successful blogger!

    Author: Andy Colinson, Marketing Manager at Insta-Editor