Here’s a scenario that might sound familiar if you’re an Instagram creator: you’ve just shot and edited an amazing photo or Reel that you’re just dying to share with your following. You’re so excited, you’d like to upload it right now. But just as you’re about to tap the “Post” button, another thought crosses your mind: “Is this really the optimal time to post content? Or should I wait for a better time of day to get more views?”
Patience is a virtue. And that’s especially true when it comes to IG content. In addition to creating quality posts and using relevant hashtags to appease the platform’s algorithm, Instagram creators also want to make sure they’re posting their content at the best time in order to maximize audience engagement.
So, when, exactly, is the best time to post on Instagram? The answer’s not as simple as you think. Read on as we break down the best times to post on Instagram, and how to find your personal best time to post on Instagram.
Does it matter when you post on Instagram?
To put it simply: yes! If you’re an Instagram creator looking to max out your engagement, then the time you choose to post definitely matters.
The short of it is that posting on Instagram at the right time will help you maximize the number of people who will see your Instagram post before it gets buried by the platform’s endless onslaught of new content. For all its mysteries, we know that Instagram’s algorithm values recency, which means that posts uploaded recently will be ranked higher on a user’s Instagram feed than older posts.
This means you’ll want to post around the time you know your followers will be online, actively scrolling, and thus most likely to be served your post. On the contrary, if you’re posting when most of your followers aren’t on the app, then your post might get pushed to the bottom of your followers’ Instagram feeds before they’ve had time to see it and, as a result, will get relatively fewer views.
It follows then, that the more people you have viewing your Instagram post, the higher the chances it will get more interaction, such as likes, comments, saves, and shares. And we know how much Instagram’s algorithm loves engagement.
Does posting at certain times help you go viral on Instagram?
If you post at a time that ensures your followers will see and engage with your Instagram content, you’ll increase your post’s likelihood of being picked up by the platform’s powerful algorithm, potentially landing your post on its coveted Explore page. From there, it can be discovered by a wider audience and, hopefully, go viral.
In the end, Instagram posting times matter — a lot. In fact, they’re absolutely crucial when it comes to boosting your follower count and engagement rate on the app. So, now that we know Instagram posting times do matter, let’s get into the best time to post on Instagram.
When is the best time to post on Instagram?
You probably clicked on this article hoping for a simple answer to the question, “When is the best time to post on Instagram?” Unfortunately, there’s no short-and-sweet answer to this question. In fact, there’s not even just one answer to this question. There are many, depending on which time zone you live in, or which day of the week you’re posting content.
This variety is mostly due to Instagram’s huge global audience, which includes over 2 billion monthly active users browsing content from all across the world. That’s a ton of users, all with a ton of different viewing habits.
Each and every Instagram user has their own daily schedule (think work, gym, hobbies, chores, etc.), as well as their own preferences as to when they like to scroll through the app. Some might check Instagram in the early morning as soon as they wake up (say, around 6 or 7 a.m.), while others might not check in until lunch hour (around noon or 1 p.m.)
With all that, we haven’t even touched on time zones yet. As we mentioned, Instagram’s audience is global, which means viewers are logging in from virtually every time zone across the globe. That means, while Instagram users in the U.S. and Europe are sound asleep, viewers in East Asia and Australia might be wide awake and scrolling.
So, is there one best time to post on Instagram?
With so much personal and geographic variety among its user base, it’s no surprise that there’s not just one best time to post on Instagram. That being said, we can narrow down windows of time when it’s best to post according to social structures (like the 9-to-5 work week) or natural rhythms (rising with the sun) that almost all populations follow.
With that in mind, researchers have been able to come up with average best posting times based on surveys of large amounts of user data. In 2022, social media management tool Later analyzed over 11 million Instagram posts (including Reels) and determined that the the overall best time to post on Instagram is 4 a.m. (calculated in local time across time zones).
Similarly, in 2022, Hootsuite ran an analysis of 30,000 Instagram posts from businesses of all sizes, and determined that the universal best time to post on Instagram is 11 a.m. on Wednesdays.
Of course, these numbers are just averages. By refining the data according to region or by day of the week, you can pinpoint the best time to post on Instagram according to your and your audience’s specific needs.
Best times to post on Instagram by location
When it comes to figuring out the best time to post on instagram, one factor you’ll want to take into account is your audience’s location. This is because audiences’ viewing habits vary across different countries and time zones.
Luckily, the researchers at Later have broken down the best times to post on Instagram according to location:
- U.S. and Canada West Coast: 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
- U.S. and Canada Central: 10 p.m. – 12 a.m.
- U.S. and Canada East Coast: 11 p.m. – 4 a.m.
- South America: 5 a.m.
- U.K.: 3 a.m. – 4 a.m.
- Western Europe: 4 a.m. – 6 a.m.
- Eastern Europe: 5 a.m. – 7 a.m.
- Africa: 2 a.m. – 3 a.m.
- The Middle East: 4 a.m.
- East and Southeast Asia: 6 a.m. – 8 a.m.
- Australasia: 11 p.m. – 12 a.m.
*Note that the above times are given in each region’s local time zone.
These best posting times are a great place to start, but to really optimize your engagement, you’ll want to determine your own personal best posting times. (More on that later!)
Best times to post on Instagram by day of the week
Another helpful way to fine-tune your best time to post is to break down the data by day-of-the-week. This is helpful for creators looking to create a consistent content schedule while taking into account the best times to post on Instagram.
The team at Hootsuite has determined the best time to post on Instagram for each day of the week. Let’s take a look.
- Monday: 12 p.m.
- Tuesday: 9 a.m.
- Wednesday: 11 a.m.
- Thursday: 11 a.m.
- Friday: 2 p.m.
- Saturday: 9 a.m.
- Sunday: 7 p.m.
*Note the above times are given in Pacific Standard Time (PST).
Hootsuite’s survey found that content posted between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday got the most engagement than any other windows of time. In other words, users were most likely to interact with content on weekdays, in the early afternoon — just as they’re taking their lunch break. In order to maximize your engagement, you’ll want to factor these dates and times into your social media strategy and content calendar.
When is the best time to post Instagram Reels?
It’s no secret that Reels are a creator’s key to Instagram success. In fact, Hootsuite’s research has shown that when users post Reels, they can get up to 300% more engagement than from regular Instagram videos. By that logic, if you post your Instagram Reels at the most optimal time, you stand to reach maximum engagement levels.
After analyzing the data on its own Instagram account across two years, Hootsuite determined that the best time to post Instagram Reels is 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. from Monday to Thursday.
During weekdays, the sweet spot for posting Reels seems to be in the early afternoon, as users are taking a break from work, and in the mid-morning, as they’re likely commuting to the office.
When is the best time to post Instagram Stories?
Let’s not forget about Instagram Stories! Just like grid posts and Reels, there’s also a best time to post Stories if you’re looking to maximize your engagement. According to SocialPilot, the best time to post Stories on Instagram is between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays.
So, if you want to get more engagement from IG Stories, you should consider adding these best posting times to your content calendar.
How to find your best time to post on Instagram
So far, we’ve looked at the average best times to post on Instagram according to data from thousands of Instagram posts. Of course, these averages provide a helpful framework as to the best times to post. However, to really maximize your Instagram engagement, you’ll need to find your personal best time to post on Instagram. So, how exactly do you do that? Let’s get into it.
Review your Instagram insights
First, you’ll want to review your Instagram analytics and insights. Luckily, the platform provides users with professional Instagram accounts access to an extensive analytics dashboard, where you can view insights into your interaction and engagement metrics, along with metrics about your Instagram audience.
To view your Instagram insights, you’ll need an Instagram Business account or Creator account. Don’t already have one? No worries. Learn how to quickly set up your Creator account here or your Business account here.
Once you’re in, you can access your Instagram account insights via the Instagram app.
How to view your Instagram Insights
- Go to your profile.
- Tap the Insights button or tap Menu in the upper right corner, and then tap Insights.
Find your audience’s top locations
To find out your personal best time to post on Instagram, first, you’ll want to know where your audience is located.
To find information on your audience’s demographics, toggle over to the Total followers tab via your Insights dashboard. This section provides you with everything you need to know about your audience, including a breakdown of where your audience is located, ranked by country and by city.
In both sections, you’ll want to determine your top countries and cities. This will help you determine what time zones you’ll want to target.
For example, if you’re based in the U.S., but you have a large audience in France, you’ll want to make sure you’re posting during the average best posting times, adjusted to France’s time zones.
Catering to audiences in different time zones can be tricky (and can throw your sleep schedule way out of whack!) To make things easier, you’ll probably want to schedule posts to go out at certain times using social media management apps like Later. Go on, you’ll thank us later!
Find out when your audience is most active
Next, you’ll want to find out when your audience is most active. Don’t worry — it’s much easier than it sounds.
You can find your audience’s activity metrics in your Instagram Insights under the Total followers section. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find graphs that chart your followers’ activity on the app, sorted by day of the week and time of day.
Take a look at these graphs and note which times of the day and days of the week your Instagram followers are online. These are some of your best posting times, so be sure to add them into your content calendar.
Check out the analytics on individual posts
To determine your personalized best posting time, you’ll also want to check out the analytics on your own Instagram posts.
In addition to providing extensive account and audience insights, Instagram also provides professional users with a host of insights for each individual post, Story, video, Reel, and Live video. These insights include interaction and engagement metrics like accounts reached, accounts engaged, number of plays, etc. per post. So helpful!
To determine your personal best Instagram posting times, you’ll first want to hone in on your best-performing posts within the last 90 days. That means your posts, Stories, videos, Reels, and Live videos with the most accounts reached, most accounts engaged, highest number of plays, and so on.
Once you’ve narrowed down your top posts, you’ll need to run a few analytics of your own. Note which times of day you made your top-performing posts. Do you see any patterns? Was most of your best-performing content posted around the same time? If so, you’ve found your personal best times to post on Instagram!
These are the times you’ll definitely want to add into your content calendar. Call it your best Instagram posting schedule!
See when your competitors are posting
You know, it doesn’t hurt to check in with your competitors. Since your competitors are, naturally, targeting the same audience as you (and have, likely done some analytics themselves), checking out the times they post can give you an idea of when your target audience is most likely to view and engage with your content.
Your competitors’ posting times are a good starting point, especially if you’re still working on building your following and reaching your target audience.
Find your best time to post on Instagram!
To truly maximize your Instagram engagement, you’ll want to post compelling content, post regularly, and, post Reels, too! But you’ll also want to make sure to post on Instagram when your audience is active and ready to engage.
So, there you have it: how to determine your best time to post on Instagram. Just remember, there’s not one, single best time to post on Instagram. It varies from creator to creator, and depends highly on their own audience. Do some digging to find out the best times for you to post on the platform. A little bit of effort goes a long way!
What is the best time to post on Instagram?
There’s no single best time to post on Instagram, as best posting times vary from creator to creator, and are highly dependent on a creator’s target audience.
That being said, a recent survey by Hootsuite suggests that the universal best time to post on Instagram is 11 a.m. on Wednesdays.
Is it better to post on Instagram at night or during the day?
Recent research by Hootsuite suggests that it’s better to post on Instagram during the day than at night. Specifically, it’s better to post on Instagram in the early afternoon, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday, when most people are taking their lunch breaks.
Follow The Leap on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube for more audience growth tips. We also make a newsletter.