When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram? Let’s Look at the Trends

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Heidi Lang

Instagram Tips | Sep 29, 2022

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Knowing when the best time is to post on Instagram will go a long way toward maximizing your reach and engagement. If you believe you’re creating amazing content — interesting and relevant to your target audience, informative, eye-catching, and aesthetically pleasing— but your posts always get minimal, or even zero, engagement, what your content strategy may be lacking is good timing.

There are practical ways to figure out the best time to post on Instagram. These usually take a lot of time, effort, and trials and errors. Remember that with great timing comes great opportunities for engagement! So we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide to help you figure out the best Instagram post times for your business, whatever your industry is.

Man looking at a calendar grid on a tablet and analyzing the best time to post on Instagram.

The Best Times to Post on Instagram: Practical Considerations

The best time to post on Instagram will mostly depend on who your target audience is, which may vary widely based on the city or country they come from, their time zone, and even their age group. Identifying your target audience will help you narrow down the optimal times for content posting to maximize the likelihood that you’ll reach not only the right people but also the maximum number of people.

You may not know your target audience’s daily schedule, but you should have a general idea of the most common activities they engage in. For example, if your target audience is college/university students, their overall engagement has been shown to be highest Tuesday through Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m, and up to 2:00 p.m. on weekends.

Factoring in other practical considerations, such as time zone, should help you figure out the best time to reach your target audience with your content.

The best hours to post on Instagram for each day of the week

According to Later’s analysis of over 35 million Instagram posts worldwide, the best time to post on Instagram (in local time) is 6:00 a.m. With weekends generally meaning time off from work for most of the population, they also found that Saturday and Sunday are the best days for posting Instagram content; posts that are published at 6:00 a.m. on Sundays get the highest average engagement.

Later also found that the worst times to post on Instagram are Wednesdays between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and Thursdays between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Here’s the breakdown for the best times to post on Instagram per day.

Monday: 5:00 a.m. 

Tuesday: 6:00 a.m.

Wednesday: 6:00 a.m.

Thursday: 5:00 a.m.

Friday: 6:00 a.m.

Saturday: 6:00 a.m.

Sunday: 6:00 a.m.

Four men in front of a white board discussing their Instagram content schedule strategy.

Best Time to Post on Instagram on Friday

You should set a reminder for the best times to post on Instagram on Fridays as Friday is the 2nd best day of the week for publishing content. Engagement is highest from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with peak hours between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. Users remain active even past midnight and up to 5:00 a.m., although engagement levels are at their lowest during these ungodly hours.

Remember that these hours are generalized across industries. Keep reading for the breakdown of optimal times for content posting per industry. But do your due diligence, as well, and perform your own industry research.

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Best Time to Post on Instagram on Saturday

The best times to post on Instagram expanded for 2021 as a result of pandemic-related movement restrictions. Not only did engagement become denser, but the heavier engagement also lasted for longer hours.

Compared to weekdays, there is less engagement density on Saturdays. Engagement starts to pick up between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.; peak hours are between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon, so that’s the best time to post on Instagram on Saturday. Then, engagement begins a gradual decline from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The hours between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the next day have the lowest engagement.

Even if engagement is at its lowest during weekends, it might still be a good idea to publish content as the competition is also lower.

Colored grid of the best times to post on Instagram for every day of the week.

The worst times for posting content on Instagram

Later’s results, however, seem to contradict the logical assumption that the best time to reach your target audience is when they’re most active on Instagram. Again, there are many factors that come into play; but Later’s results indicate that Instagram’s latest algorithm follows the wisdom of the saying, “The early bird gets the worm.”

Simply put, the earlier you post in the day — when competition is still low — the higher the likelihood that your post will be among the first to be seen by users during their first IG scroll for the day. And this appears to be true even when the post is already a few hours old and regardless of when your target audience is most active on the app.

Here are the worst times to publish content on Instagram.

Monday: 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday: 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.

Thursday: 11:00 p.m.

Friday: 9:00 a.m.

Saturday: 8:00 p.m.

Sunday: 4:00 p.m.

This should give you a general idea of how you should plan your content calendar. Keep in mind that your specific target audience will also determine the best time to post on Instagram.

So should you publish your post based on Later’s recommendations or based on your target audience’s app activities? Trying both would be the smartest approach.

Person holding January calendar for Instagram content scheduling.

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Industry

The best time to post on Instagram also varies per industry. According to Sprout Social’s research, the best times to schedule an Instagram post per industry are as follows:

IndustryBest time to postBest Day/ Most Consistent EngagementWorst DayLowest Engagement
RetailWednesday 3 pm & Friday 11 am – 12 pmWednesdaySundayLate-night & early mornings
MediaFriday 9 amWednesday, Thursday, and Friday 8 am-5 pmSaturday & Sunday
TechWednesday 10-11 am, Friday 7-10 am, and Saturday 7-11 amWednesday 6 am or 9 amSundayOther days
Non-profitWednesday 2 pmWednesday    1-4 pmSaturday & SundayOther days
EducationFriday 10 amWednesday & Friday mid-morning; Saturday 6-8 pmSundayOther days
HealthcareTuesday 8 amWeekdays          9 am-3 pmSaturday & SundayOther days
Professional servicesAny day between 9 am and 10 pmTuesday, Wednesday, & FridaySaturday & SundayOther days
Food & BeverageNoon of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, & SaturdayFridaySaturday & SundayOther days
Travel & TourismTuesday, Wednesday, & Friday9-10 am & 11 am – 1 pmOther days

When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are viewed by 500 million users on a daily basis so you must know the best time to post an Instagram story if you want to tap into the massive reach potential of this feature. At the same time, you don’t need to restrict your content posting schedule to the best times for your target audience because stories last 24 hours. Even if you publish a story outside the optimal posting hours, your audience will still most likely see it when they go online.

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The ideal hours to publish an Instagram story are between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. during weekdays. Hours with low engagement are before 6:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m.

Remember to add your most popular stories to your Story Highlights so they can still be viewed by your audience even after they have expired. You may also want to turn on your Stories auto-archive feature to preserve access to them.

Person taking a photo of the sunset with smartphone to post on Instagram Stories.

Figure Out the Best Time for Content Posting Through Trial and Error

Knowing the best times to post on Instagram per day in general, per industry, and per location, you can start figuring out the ideal posting schedule to reach your particular target audience by doing some trial and error.

You’ll be using Instagram’s analytics tools to get the necessary insights about your audience’s behaviors — particularly when they’re most active on the platform. Take note that Instagram Insights are only available to business profiles or Instagram creator profiles. A creator profile has the added advantage of having access to the Instagram Creator studio dashboard, which provides additional audience insights, such as data on when your followers are online.

Schedule your posts based on the recommended best times to post on Instagram as mentioned above, and then use Instagram Insights to check when your posts get the highest engagement. Verify your findings by adjusting your content schedule accordingly and then checking if you’ll get the same/similar engagement results. You may also schedule the same posts at different times for comparison.

Computer monitor showing Instagram Analytics page displaying the best times to post on Instagram.

Final Thoughts: Perfect Timing is Key to Optimized Content Engagement

Having amazing content is just one half of the equation for Instagram success; the other half is good timing. Your content must reach not just the right people, but the maximum number of your target audience every single time you publish.

Knowing the best times to post on Instagram in general, for your particular industry, and for your target location/s, you should be able to plot a content schedule that covers all the most important bases. With some carefully planned trial and error, you’ll be able to pinpoint the specific times for certain days of the week and the best days of the week to publish your content in order to get the highest possible exposure and engagement.

A woman’s hands typing on a laptop.

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