One way to generate more engagement on Instagram is by posting at the best time. I know some of you must be wondering ‘really, does changing the time make a difference?”. So, I wrote this detailed guide on why it is important to find the best time to post on Instagram. I also shared the best times to post on for every single day of the week.
Why is it important to find the best time to post on Instagram?
Posting at the best time is important on every network. But on Instagram, it is even more important because of the way their algorithm and feed function.
On Instagram, the amount of engagement (likes, comments, clicks, etc.) your post gets as soon as it is published is extremely important. This is because Instagram shows it to a percentage of your active followers at the beginning. And it will then use the interactions they generate to determine how many more people should see it.
So, if a larger percentage of the followers engage with it initially, then more people will see it.
Another thing with Instagram is that it has an explore page. Your post is more likely to make it onto this page if it generates a lot of engagement quickly. Getting more likes will also improve your chances of ranking for hashtags on Instagram. As people can follow hashtags too.
This is why publishing your post at the right time can make a huge difference. If you publish at a time when more people are online and are ready to engage with your posts, you will generate more engagement. This initial engagement will spark up several folds when you rank for the hashtags and move onto the explore page.
Getting on the explore page and ranking higher for hashtags is more important than ever now as Instagram’s engagement is dwindling.
Therefore, if you take steps to improve engagement you will continue generating the same engagement levels and maybe even exceed it.
Another important point to remember is that the amount of engagement your previous posts generate will also affect how much engagement your future posts get. As Instagram determines how many people it should show your post to based on the engagement levels of your older posts. So, if you consistently publish at the best times you should see a long term benefit.
Now that you know why it is important to find the best time to post on IG, I will go into detail on when to post on Instagram on the weekdays and weekends.
Best time to post on weekdays
There’s no one single best time to post. As this study from Sproutsocial shows, the best time to post can change every day.
As you can see, it ranges from 7 AM to 9 PM. There’s no single best time that will work every single day. So, if you want to drive more engagement, you should publish at different times on different days.
I am going to break these times out in detail below.
Best time to post on Instagram on Monday
The best time to post on Monday is between 9 AM and 8 PM. The peak time is 11 AM to 3 PM. This is probably during the lunch break when people are taking a break.
Best time to post on Instagram on Tuesday
The best time to post on Tuesday is between 8 AM to 8 PM. Peak time is 10 AM to 4 PM and 5 PM to 9 PM. Engagement is at its highest at 7 PM. This seems to be the only day during the week when engagement reaches the summit later in the evening.
Best time to post on Instagram on Wednesday
7 AM to 8 PM is the best time to post on Wednesday. The peak is between 9 PM to 6 PM. Engagement is at its highest at 11 AM. This is the day with the highest engagement levels. So, make sure you schedule at least one post on this day.
Best time to post on Instagram on Thursday
8 AM to 9 PM is the best time to post on Thursday. Engagement is at its highest between 10 AM to 5 PM and 6 PM to 9 PM.
Best time to post on Instagram on Friday
Friday is the 2nd best day of the week to post. 7 AM to 5 PM is the best time to post. The peak is between 9 AM to 3 PM. For the highest engagement post between 10 AM to 12 PM.
Best time to post on weekends
Engagement is at its lowest during the weekend. But you might still want to experiment with posting on the weekends as competition can be low. Here are the best times to post on Saturday and Sunday.
Best time to post on Instagram on Saturday
Engagement is at its highest between 8 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays. 9 AM to 12 PM is the peak.
Best time to post on Instagram on Sunday
Compared to the other days of the week engagement is very low on Sundays. But if you post between 8 PM to 3 PM you will generate some engagement.
How to post on Instagram at the best times?
As you can see posting at different times on different days will ensure you drive the highest engagement. But if you try to wait for the best time to post every single day things can get hectic and you might also forget. This is why you should get yourself a scheduling tool.
A good scheduling tool will let you set times in advance for every single day. You can then quickly schedule your posts to go out at these best times.
A good affordable one is Postgrain.
It can be used to schedule photos, carousel posts, and videos to the Instagram feed, stories, and even to IGTV.
Another good one is Tailwind.
It can not only be used to schedule posts but to also find your unique time. It will analyze your past posts and show you what times work best for you.
This can be better than following a one size fits all formula. As you will have a unique set of audience who will behave differently.
And if you are wondering ‘can you post on Instagram using a computer with any of these tools?’ The answer is yes. This is a lot more convenient than using your mobile device. You can create your content on your laptop, upload it to the scheduling software, copy and paste the hashtags and schedule it.
At the beginning, it is best to post at the times recommended by studies like this one from Sproutsocial. But after you gather some data, you should analyze your posts and followers and find your very own best times to post at.
5 other ways for increasing engagement:
Posting at the best time can help with increasing Instagram engagement, but that alone won’t do. Here are a few more tactics you can use to increase engagement.
1. Publish more videos:
Photos do well on Instagram, but as our aim is to generate maximum engagement from every post, you publish you should focus on sharing more videos. As this study shows, videos generate more engagement than both photo posts and carousel posts.
Most people don’t publish videos. Only 18% of the posts on Instagram are videos. As it requires more time and effort.
They have several promo video templates that can help you create highly shareable Instagram videos in minutes.
An example of a company that understands the power of video is Gousto. They publish a lot of simple videos like the below one.
And they generate a good deal of engagement from these videos. You should try and create more videos too.
2. Run ads:
Another way to ensure your posts get that initial spike in engagement is by using ads. As soon as you publish your organic post you can boost it to ensure it gets a lot of views interactions.
Instagram has a custom audience feature that lets you retarget your ad to video viewers. So, if you use my above tip and publish more videos, you can take advantage of this and retarget people who previously watched your videos. If people watched your previous videos they will be more likely to watch your future videos and like your posts.
You can actually go ahead and use the ad to generate sales too, as 31% of people make a purchase after watching a video ad on Instagram.
A company that makes the most of video ads is Lensdistortions. They regularly promote Instagram video ads like the below one.
You can use InVideo’s ad maker to create videos like these. They have several templates for ads too.
3. Join engagement groups:
There is a secret method many people use to get that initial spike in engagement. This is the use of pods which are also known as engagement groups. This is where a group of people who publish similar topics publish at the same time and like each other posts at the same time. After Instagram notices all the likes they will boost up the post and rank it on hashtags and the explorer page.
But be warned that Instagram frowns upon this technique. They even removed several pods on Facebook. Now most of them exist on Telegram.
If you use this technique make sure to stay meticulous.
4. Use a lot of hashtags:
Using a lot of hashtags can increase engagement. A study from TrackMaven found that posts with 11 or more hashtags generate the highest engagement.
I recommend that you use 15 to 30 hashtags per post. But make sure they are highly relevant and try to use some low competition hashtags. Most people like to pick the most popular hashtags. But when you are starting out and have fewer followers, it will be better to use less popular ones. These are the ones that are used less than 50,000 times.
It will be easier for you to rank for these. As accounts that tend to drive the highest engagement are competing for the most used Instagram hashtags. As your account grows you can start using more of the top ones. But for now, stick to the least popular ones or use a combination of low, medium, and high competition hashtags.
You can use a tool like BrandMentions to determine the competition level of a hashtag.
It will help you see how well a hashtag is doing.
For some ideas on how to use hashtags properly, check out Palmer’s.
They regularly publish posts like the above one with very relevant hashtags.
Before adding the hashtags you should also make sure that you write a really long caption.
This is because a study from Mention found that those between 1001 and 2000 characters drive the highest engagement.
5. Track data:
You can find a wealth of information on Instagram’s analytics. This can be done by using a built-in tool or a third-party tool like IconoSquare. They will show you which posts are doing best, which hashtags drive the most engagement, videos of which length performs best, etc.
So, keep a close eye on it.
The best time to post on Instagram or on any network can seem like a trivial factor, but as you can see from this post it can make a huge difference in how much engagement you generate. So, start off by using the best times listed in this article. Once you post over a hundred updates and have some data, you can analyze your account with an analytics tool and figure out your own unique best time to post.
And keep reviewing this data quarterly because as your account grows so will the collective habits of your followers.