Audience Growth

What Is the Best Time to Post on YouTube in 2023?

by Nicholas Bouchard · Published Jul 11, 2023

There’s no shortage of content creators, marketing agencies, and other online personalities that promise they have the secret formula for beating the YouTube algorithm. Post a certain number of times a week, publish a mix of long-form videos and Shorts, throw a bit of salt over your shoulder (just kidding) — there are about a dozen ways you’re supposed to exert influence over the algorithm. But does any of them really work? What about the time you publish your videos?

Read on to find out if posting time really matters, and how you can find your personal best time to post on YouTube.

Does when you post on YouTube matter?

That really depends on who you ask. YouTube doesn’t share an excessive amount of detail about how its algorithms — which determine who your content ends up getting in front of — work, but there are a few things we know for sure.

Your audience’s preferences matter the most

YouTube’s algorithms work a lot like the search engine of its parent company Google, meaning a user’s behavior has a huge impact on the kind of YouTube videos they’ll be shown. According to YouTube’s own support documentation, that includes a number of factors:

  • What YouTube videos they watch
  • What they don’t watch
  • How long they watch for
  • What they like and dislike
  • What they hit “Not interested” on
  • Answers to satisfaction surveys

So, understandably, someone who watches a lot of YouTube videos similar to yours is more likely to see content from your YouTube channel than someone who hits “Not interested” on them.

But while these factors certainly have a significant impact on the reach of your YouTube videos, there’s something else to consider.

Engagement matters, too

While a potential viewer’s preferences are probably what matters most for YouTube’s algorithms, the engagement your videos get has a big influence on two things: how they rank in YouTube’s search results, and whether they get featured on the Trending page or not.

How quickly a YouTube video generates views — and how many likes it gets — are some of the most important markers for engagement on the platform. And while there’s no magic hour that guarantees more engagement, there is one way that the time you post can have a huge impact on it.

best time to post on youtube

When is the best time to post on YouTube?

Put simply, the best time to post on YouTube is whenever your audience is active on YouTube. Since engagement is so important, your videos have the best chance of performing well if they’re uploaded when the majority of your audience is looking for them.

In other words, the best time to publish YouTube videos varies from one YouTube channel to another. The ideal posting time depends entirely on your audience. For example, it’s safe to assume that younger viewers will go on YouTube to watch videos later at night.

What is the best time to post on YouTube in general?

While analyzing your audience’s data is easily the best way to figure out when you should upload YouTube videos, you can also take cues from marketers. Why? Social media marketers’ job is to create content that brings attention to their brand clients, so if you need to get that kind of attention yourself, you could do worse than researching how they do it.

And that’s exactly what HubSpot did with its 2023 State of Social Media Trends Report. It surveyed more than 1,200 marketers, asking them how they’re using social media and online content to increase their brand’s reach online. One of the key takeaways from the report is when to post on YouTube.

According to HubSpot’s research, almost a quarter of marketers post on YouTube between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. in their timezone — though as many of them say they publish YouTube videos between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Fewer marketers think you should post earlier, whether that’s between noon and 3 p.m. or 9 a.m and 12 p.m. Very few of them say you should post even earlier than that.

So what does this mean? In general, the later in the day you post on YouTube, the better — that’s according to the marketers, anyway. But it’s not like there’s a huge consensus here, which is telling.

With this research in mind, how can you pinpoint exactly when you should post videos on YouTube? We’ll get to it shortly.

When is the best time to post YouTube Shorts?

Generally speaking, you’ll want to keep the same best practices when posting YouTube Shorts as you do for long-form videos. It’s a smart idea to refer to suggested best posting times like the ones shared in HubSpot’s report. However, with YouTube Shorts, you can also experiment a lot more with when you post.

YouTube Shorts don’t take nearly as long to create as long-form videos, which means you can spin up a quick experiment without spending the same amount of time and resources. Try creating a really off-the-wall Short and posting it at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday — there might be some insomniac YouTube users out there who’ll get a kick out of it.

In short, start with the general best posting times you know — they can be from someone else’s research — and work from there.

best time to post on youtube

How to find your best time to post on YouTube

So, now that you know that the time you post on YouTube can affect your content’s performance (and your bottom line), here’s how you can figure out the best time to post on your YouTube channel.

Review YouTube analytics to see when your audience is most active

Did you know that YouTube offers a report that informs you when your audience is most likely to watch your videos? Here’s how to find it:

  1. Go to YouTube Studio.
  2. From there, hit Analytics on the left panel.
  3. Then, hit the Audience tab. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see a purple bar graph accompanied by a few more charts.

You’ll want to look below that bar graph, at a chart called When your viewers are on YouTube. You might not see this graph if you haven’t had enough views in the last 28 days for YouTube to pull valuable data. If that’s the case, you’ll have to use a different method to determine your best time to post on YouTube (more on that in a minute).

But if you do have access to this chart, you’ll want to look at the darker bars. They represent the times — and days — that your audience is most often active on YouTube. If you want your videos to get maximum engagement, then you should keep these time slots in mind.

But there’s one more thing you should know: According to SocialPilot, you should aim to upload videos 2-3 hours before your best time to post on YouTube. That’s because there could be delays in your videos getting indexed by YouTube, meaning you could miss your ideal window of putting new content in front of your audience.

Check when the competition is posting

One of the best ways to succeed as a creator is to look at what your competitors are doing and find ways to do it better. When it comes to posting at the best time to get maximum engagement on YouTube, that means reviewing when creators in your niche usually upload videos. That’s because you can easily assume that their audience is similar to yours — or the one you’re still trying to build — and there are a lot of demographic factors, like age and interests, that can affect when these viewers are browsing on YouTube.

That said, you’ll only get a general idea of when a creator has posted their video (rather than an exact date and time), and only when that video has been posted recently. If a video has been published for over a day, you’ll have to work back to figure out when it was posted — but that’ll only tell you the day, not the specific time. Here’s an example:

If the video was posted less than 24 hours ago, you’ll at least get an idea of what time it was posted — but, again, you’ll have to work backward to figure that out.

You can get a more exact upload time for your competition’s YouTube videos, but you’ll have to use third-party tools like the YouTube Upload Time Chrome extension.

Post at the right time to maximize engagement!

Creators often think of the YouTube algorithm as a system they need to trick in order to get their videos pushed above the rest, but that’s not the case. The algorithm is something that’s built to improve the YouTube user experience, not determine which creator sees success. That said, the time you post on YouTube can have an impact on your videos’ performance, since getting as much engagement as possible early on signals that your videos have wide appeal. The best way to find your best time to post on YouTube is to look at when your audience is engaging with your content and aim for those time slots.

Bonus: Want to know how you can turn YouTube engagement into cold hard cash? Download our YouTube Shorts Monetization Guide to learn how you can start earning from your videos.

8 PROVEN WAYS TO PROFIT FROM YOUTUBE SHORTS

Your free guide to making money with short-form content on YouTube.

FAQ

Is posting time important on YouTube?

There’s no information from YouTube on whether the time you post your videos actually matters for the algorithm. That said, it can have an impact on how much engagement your videos get. 

YouTube works a lot like Google’s search engine, meaning that it looks at a complex combination of factors — often called “signals” — to determine what content shows up in search results or certain pages. These signals also decide how high on a page that content will rank. According to YouTube’s support documentation, these signals include:

  • What videos users watch
  • What they don’t watch
  • How long they watch for
  • What they like and dislike
  • What they hit “Not interested” on
  • Answers to satisfaction surveys

Many of these signals fall under the umbrella of “engagement,” or how a user interacts with specific content. While there are a lot of things you can do to drive engagement, the time you post on YouTube can have an impact on it too. 

Posting a video at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, for example, probably won’t get you a lot of engagement. The same video will likely get more traction if you post it at 6 p.m. on a Friday night, when YouTube users tend to be active.

When is the best time to post on YouTube?

If you already have a good number of views on YouTube, you can actually get access to a chart that tells you when your audience is likely to engage with your videos.

Here’s how: Go to your YouTube Studio, then find the Analytics page. Finally, hit the Audience tab. When you’re there, you’ll see this chart.

See the dark purple lines? These are the time slots when the majority of your audience is on YouTube. Aim to post your content around these times, and you’ll have the best chance at getting engagement.

Note that if you don’t have access to this chart, you can either find out when your competitors post their content, or do a bit of research to see if there are best practices around this.

For example, of the 1,200 marketers surveyed for HubSpot’s 2023 State of Social Media Trends Report, almost half said you should post between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., or 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. You can certainly refer to these suggested posting times, see how your videos perform, and experiment with different time slots with future content.

How often should you post on YouTube?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic number, no foolproof formula, and no easy answer to a question like this. How often you should be posting will depend on a lot of things, including your channel’s size, your niche, and even the YouTube algorithm itself.

But there are a few rules you can follow to ensure that you’re posting often enough to keep your audience and the algorithm satisfied.

Be consistent

One of the worst things you can do for a burgeoning channel is to post five videos one week, a single video the next, and nothing the third because you’ve burnt yourself out. If you have a small channel, you need to create and share content consistently to drum up interest and build an audience that keeps coming back. So, if YouTube is a side gig for you, don’t set yourself up for a posting schedule that demands a full-time commitment.

Choose between production value and frequency

Some creators have built channels that perform amazingly well even if they only post a few videos a month. That’s usually because there’s something about their video that’s juicy enough to hold their audience over for a long time. That “it factor” can be expertise (like a PhD), super slick production value, tons of research, or even just a unique perspective you can’t find anywhere else on YouTube. If you’re creating that kind of content, then just figure out a schedule that works for you.

But for most channels, you’ll want to try posting at least once a week, ideally more. That gives your videos the best chance to find their audience.

Engage with your audience between videos

Videos and Shorts aren’t the only ways to drive engagement for a burgeoning channel. If you have access to YouTube’s Community features, they’re a great, low-effort way to keep your audience engaged with your channel.

Try dropping a quiz asking your audience to help you choose between topics for future videos, sharing a behind-the-scenes look at your video production process, or just post updates about your #creatorlife. 

How can you get more views on YouTube?

The road to 1,000 subscribers is just the beginning. YouTubers are always trying to find ways to beat the algorithm and draw in the biggest audience they can, but this isn’t a game of tricks and subterfuge. The single best way to get more views on YouTube consistently is to build a channel that creates real value for your audience — whether you’re entertaining them or educating them.

Narrow down your niche a bit further than you’re comfortable with

While there are creators out there who have made bank from reaching the broadest possible audience, that’s not necessarily the path to success for most creators. Sure, maybe you’re a fitness creator, and you’ll get some reach that way. But if you’re a vegan powerlifter, for example, you can more easily build a dedicated community around your lifestyle. The audience might be smaller overall, but you’ll get more views from the people your niche lines up with perfectly.

Pick between entertainment and education

You don’t necessarily have to go all-in on one category or the other, but focusing your content is essential for finding your audience. And while some of the biggest creators in the game are firmly entrenched on the entertainment side of that spectrum, there are many creators who’ve built empires with educational content. Just ask Ali Abdaal, who turned his productivity-focused YouTube channel into a seven-figure business.

Encourage engagement

It’s become a meme at this point, but there’s a good reason why YouTubers are always asking people to “like, comment, and subscribe.” YouTube’s algorithms really care about engagement, and a video with high engagement is not just more likely to show up in search results, but it’ll rank higher too — meaning you’ll get more views. So even if it feels a little corny, make sure to ask your audience to engage with your content.

Keep experimenting

Because YouTube algorithms and audience expectations are constantly evolving, you should be ready to change your tactics, too. Not at your core or at the cost of your integrity, but you should be trying out new things and seeing how they impact your views. That can mean anything from branching out into YouTube Shorts, to trying out a new style of thumbnails or collaborating with other creators.

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Further reading

Nicholas Bouchard
About the author

Nicholas Bouchard

Nick Bouchard is a content writer and marketer with a passion for creation. His hobbies range from writing fiction to wrestling. He can only be photographed in national parks and on mountains, and pictures of him usually come out blurry. Some wonder if he even exists at all.
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