Since Facebook rose to popularity, content creators have constantly questioned - when is the best time to post on social media platforms in order to get the highest engagement?
Posting content at the right time, or at the time when your target audience is most active on social media - can strengthen your chances of driving optimum engagement - for content creators, that will equate to more views and increase in followers, which can ultimately impact the social platforms algorithm in your favor.
But, with over 5 billion social media users across the globe and a variety of popular social platforms to keep up with, pinpointing the ‘right’ time to post is beyond overwhelming.
There are a number of key factors and considerations that should be taken into account when determining the ‘best time’ to upload content.
The day of the week can have a significant impact on engagement. Many influencers have found that posting on weekdays yields better results for more professional content, such as brand sponsorships, while weekends might be more suitable for leisure-related posts (lounging with the family, day in the life vlogs, etc).
Here’s a general breakdown:
If you want to reach your target audience, you have to make sure your posting schedule is aligned with your audience’s time. For example, if you are residing in New York but your target audience is in Australia, you wouldn’t post at 10am EDT because in Sydney it’s 1am.
Tip: If your target audience is spread out globally, schedule your posts ahead of time in order to save you the time difference headache.
Factors like their age, location, occupation, and interests can significantly impact when they are most active on social media. Align your posting schedule with your audience's daily routines.
There are a variety of different ways to get insight into when your audience is most active online. The most straight-forward method is using social media scheduling platforms that gather the data and analytics for you - highlighting the best hours and days your followers are active.
This is an obvious one, but it’s important to remember that each social media platform has its own unique algorithm to rank posts on users’ feeds. While some platforms may rank posts by date and time, others may rank the content by the number of engagements. It’s critical for content creators to understand each platforms’ algorithm (to the best of their ability with the information offered) as well as keep up with updates and changes so you can update your strategy accordingly.
Different social media platforms have distinct user behaviors and preferences. The type of content you create also plays a role. For instance, Instagram, which is visual-focused, may have different peak posting times compared to Twitter, known for real-time updates.
According to Hootsuite’s analysis, the best time to post on social media (generally speaking) is 9am PST on Mondays.
Let’s take a closer look at each social media platform, breaking down the algorithm and factors that contribute to the potential success of a piece of content.
Out of all the social media platforms, users spend the most time on TikTok. In 2023, social media users are spending an average of 55.8 minutes on TikTok. And, according to reports, most of this social media activity is done in the early hours of the morning and late at night.
Best days to post on TikTok: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
Best times to post on TikTok:
Worst day to post on TikTok: Sunday
Tip: TikTok’s algorithm is pretty unpredictable and usually takes more time than other social platforms to display videos on the ‘target’ FYP. So, in order to ensure that your videos will gain traction by TikTok’s optimal time of day (early morning and late night), you have to upload your content mid-day.
YouTube definitely requires a much stricter, consistent upload schedule - this will positively impact YouTube’s algorithm and your viewers will know when to expect a video to be published, helping you gain engagement faster. But, you still need to upload the content during peak viewing time - whether you are YouTube veteran or just starting out - in order to continue increasing your views and engagement.
The peak viewing time for YouTube audiences is between 7pm to 10pm. Therefore, YouTubers should upload their videos between 2pm to 4pm in order to give YouTube time to index the content.
Best days to post on YouTube: Thursday and Friday
Best times to post on YouTube:
Worst days to post on YouTube: Saturday and Sunday
Instagram is comprised of images, videos, Reels, and live streams (just to name a few), making it that much harder to nail posting at the ‘best times’. Not to mention that Instagram’s algorithm is pretty unpredictable. Users have reported that in order to get recognized positively by the algorithm, Instagrammers must upload high-quality, original content consistently and get a consistent amount of engagement and likes.
Generally speaking, based on data, the best times to post on Instagram are during the weekdays, in the mornings and evenings.
Best days to post on Instagram: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Best times to post on Instagram:
Worst days to post on Instagram: Saturday and Sunday
Tip: Did you know that you can check when your followers are most active on Instagram? If you click the ‘insights’ icon on your profile, then scroll down to the ‘Followers’ section, you can toggle through the days to see the average times your followers are most active on a typical day.
Social media is going to continue growing in popularity and more and more social platforms will be introduced down the line. Making it that much harder to pinpoint the perfect time to post…and that much more intriguing for creators worldwide. Ultimately, the best way to know when you should post content to social platforms is by testing, testing, testing and a lot of analytics. User behavior is still unpredictable and is constantly changing, so the most important thing is to keep up with platform updates and changes, and adapt accordingly (as fast as possible).