Trying to pinpoint the best time to post on Instagram is every social media manager’s New Year resolution (and year-round goal, for that matter). After all, when you post is just as important as what you post.
More often than not, framing the time window that promises the best engagement is a complex process. In fact, deciding your Instagram account’s best time to post means factoring in several variables such as user behaviour, usage statistics, and algorithm updates. Oh, and let’s not forget about your brand’s particularities, which open up another new field of variables.
But worry not, Preppr took the time to analyse more than 14 million Instagram posts and fine-tune the results to account for the uniqueness of 2021. So, if you’re aiming to learn when to schedule your posts for maximum engagement, this article is perfectly timed to help you do that.
Average best times to post on Instagram
While several studies have attempted to discover the best times to post on Instagram, there is no one-answer-fits-all. Sorry to burst your bubble, but telling you the truth without tip-toeing around it will save you loads of time, money, and effort.
If you’ve read other articles on the topic, you’re probably aware that there are usually three best time frames:
- in the morning, between 7 AM and 9 AM (what was once the morning commute and is now the morning ritual before work from home)
- at noon, between 11 AM and 1 PM
- during the late afternoon, between 5 PM and 7 PM
Other studies show that posting at early hours in the morning (5 AM, for example) can also reap excellent results, as some people open social media as soon as they open their eyes.
Of course, these standard time windows are also subject to what day of the week it is. Wednesday and Friday appear to be the most active days. At the same time, the weekend, against popular conception, is not necessarily a very fruitful time on Instagram.
How 2021 changed Instagram’s usage statistics
Understanding why engagement rates spike during the standard times mentioned above is easy. These window frames overlap with the average times when most people wake up, eat lunch, or finish work.
Up until next year, you could easily rely on these time anchors to conduct some posting experiments.
However, 2020 scrambled our definition of time, blurring the lines between work and play. While some people try to keep to a precise schedule, some have settled into a new normal – one in which slacking is changing the best times to post on Instagram.
Social media platforms are gaining new followers and, on average, people spend 3 minutes more browsing the feed than before. According to eMarketer, Instagram will see the most substantial growth, out of all the platforms. So, if you were wondering where to share your content the most, the answer might be already cut for you.
What’s more, people’s time frames have slightly changed and are still elusive to any coherent pattern. That’s why now, more than ever, you need to take some extra steps to discover your best time to post on Instagram.
Essential factors to take into account for a more precise calculation
Standard best times to post on Instagram are just that: averages. You must take them with a grain of salt.
Use them as a starting point to conduct some experiments and keep track of the results in a spreadsheet. With patience, over time, some patterns will emerge.
Because to nail down the real window frame that will drive the most engagement for your account, you’ll need to consider the following variables and conduct some tests:
Variable 1: The mighty algorithm
The fun begins by understanding how Instagram’s algorithm works. The team behind the platform is known to tweak its gears almost every year, so make sure you stay up to date with the latest changes.
By understanding how content is displayed in followers’ news feeds, you’ll know how to time your posts so that they get to your audience right on time.
Variable 2: Your followers’ usage patterns
Next, you should (once again) analyse your audience.
Knowing who your followers are, what interests they have, what behaviour patterns drive them, and what they expect from you will help you build a successful business AND (bonus) figure out the best time to post on Instagram.
Use every piece of data you have to create a buyer persona. Get in your followers’ shoes and try to understand how they think and act.
Diving into the Insights section available on Instagram will help you tremendously, so make sure to check it often (especially the section showing your audience’s most active times). Just remember that the option is only available to business and creator profiles.
Variable 3: Timezone management
In case you target a worldwide audience (or several time zones) it’s best to go with the time frame in which your most active audience is online. You can’t satisfy everyone, and you will not go very far if you try.
How to discover YOUR best times to post on Instagram
Now you have some valuable tips that can help you manually discover your best time to post on Instagram. It will require some trial and error, but with perseverance, you’ll get there.
Unless…unless you want to press the auto button and reach out to your sidekick Preppr to find out your best time to post on Instagram.
We know, we should have told you this sooner, but Preppr can do the work for you. Faster. Better. More accurately.
Preppr’s intelligent algorithm has analysed over 14 million posts to determine the perfect time frames to post on Instagram for maximum engagement. Combining these with your past engagement rates, Preppr will prompt you with 3 custom “best time to post” suggestions every time you schedule your posts.
So, why not give it a try? Sign up now for a 10-day free trial.