When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram? Look at the Trends

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Karen Lin

Instagram Tips | Jul 20, 2023

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First things first. Knowing when the best time to post on Instagram is goes a long way toward maximizing your reach and engagement. Are you creating amazing content that’s interesting and relevant to your target Instagram audience? Content that is informative, eye-catching, and aesthetically pleasing? If you are but your posts get minimal or zero engagement, your content strategy may be lacking good timing.

There are practical ways to figure out the best times 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 Instagram engagement. So, we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide to help you out. These tips and tricks will help you figure out the best times to post, whatever your industry is.

Person looking at trends on iPad deciding when is the best time to post on Instagram.

The Best Time to Post on Instagram: Practical Considerations

The best times to post on Instagram will mostly depend on who your audience is. Identifying your audience is a good starting point. Other factors to consider include location, time zone and age group. Identifying your target audience will help you narrow down the optimal times for content posting. This maximizes the likelihood that you’ll reach not only the right people but also the maximum number of people.

It’s nearly impossible to know your audience’s daily schedule. However, you should have a general idea of the most common activities they engage in. For example, if your target audience is college/university students, you’d consider their school schedule. Most college students are in classes during the day with more online time in the evenings or weekends.  Factoring in practical considerations will help you decide the best time to post on Instagram to reach your audience.

Person holding January calendar for Instagram posts scheduling.

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 is 6:00 AM. Weekends generally mean time off from work for most of the population. So, they also found that Saturday and Sunday are the best days for posting Instagram content. Instagram posts that are published at 6:00 AM on Sundays get the highest average engagement. Later found that the worst times to post on Instagram are Wednesdays between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. You should also avoid posting to your Instagram account on Thursdays between 9:00 PM and 11:00 PM.

Here’s the breakdown for the best hours to post on Instagram per day (using your local time zone):

Monday: 5:00 AM

Tuesday: 6:00 AM

Wednesday: 6:00 AM

Thursday: 5:00 AM

Friday: 6:00 AM

Saturday: 6:00 AM

Sunday: 6:00 AM

Curious as to why morning is the best time to post on Instagram? Users and followers are more likely to check their Instagram accounts during morning downtime. Whether that is while they are just waking up or eating breakfast. Or, maybe checking IG on their morning commute. Additionally, your content has a good chance of popping up in your followers feeds first thing in the morning. Here are some other posting times and days you should consider.

Cell phone sitting on desk with "Today is Friday" displayed on screen.

The Best Time to Post on Instagram on Friday

Set a weekly reminder, the best time to post on Instagram on Friday is early morning. Actually, Friday is the 2nd best day of the week for publishing content in general. Engagement is highest from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with peak hours between 10:00 AM and noon. Social media usage during a lunch break helps break the monotony of a workday. Research shows, users remain active even past midnight and up to 5:00 AM. Although engagement levels are at their lowest during these hours, your content is still getting viewed by these night owls. 

Remember that these posting times are generalized across industries. Keep reading for the breakdown of the best times to post on Instagram. But do your due diligence, as well, and perform your own industry research.

Instagram user's hat sitting on table with "Saturdays" embroidered on it.

The 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 high engagement also lasted for longer hours.

Compared to weekdays, there is less engagement density on Saturdays. Engagement starts to pick up between 6:00 AM and 8:00 AM. The most engagement occurred between 9:00 AM and noon — that’s the best time to post on Instagram on Saturday. Then, engagement begins a gradual decline from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The hours between 11:00 PM and 6:00 AM 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. Why? The competition is lower as well.

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

The Worst Times for Posting Content on Instagram

Later’s results, however, seem to contradict logical assumptions. The assumption that the best time to post on Instagram is when your target audience is active. 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 your Instagram post time in the day is the more likely your content will be seen. It’s ideal to post content when competition is still low. Therefore, your post will be among the first to be seen by users during their first scroll of the day. This appears to be true even when the post is already a few hours old. Regardless of when your audience is most active on the app your post is still seen.

For engagement and reach, you should avoid these Instagram posting times:

Monday: 2:00 PM

Tuesday: 1:00 PM

Wednesday: 10:00 AM

Thursday: 11:00 PM

Friday: 9:00 AM

Saturday: 8:00 PM

Sunday: 4:00 PM

This should give you a general idea of how you should plan your content calendar. Keep in mind that your specific 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 audience’s app activities? Trying both would be the smartest approach.

Instagram user typing on computer researching the best time to post Instagram posts.

The Best Time to Post on Instagram by Industry

The best time to post on Instagram also varies per industry. For most industries like retail, tech, non-profit and travel/tourism, Wednesdays are the best days to post content. Fridays are another popular day across various industries. There are also a few – retail, tech, professional services, etc. – where we recommend several posting times per week.

Don’t forget to utilize hashtags. To get the most out of your social media posts, you’ll need to know who to tag for more reach.  Additionally, post according to your time zone unless you are trying to reach a different location market. For example, if you are trying to grow your east coast market, you’d post according to the eastern time zone.

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

The Best Time to Post on Instagram Story

Instagram Stories are viewed by 500 million users on a daily basis. Then consider that Instagram can link with other social media platforms. With those numbers you’ll 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. Don’t worry about the best time to post on Instagram because IG stories last 24 hours. Even if you publish a story outside the optimal posting time, your audience will see it when they go online.

The best time to post on Instagram story is between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM during weekdays. Hours with low engagement are before 6:00 AM and after 9:00 PM.

Remember to add your most popular stories to your story highlights. Story highlight reels 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.

Someone holding cell phone creating and posting a reel on Instagram.

The Best Time to Post a Reel on Instagram

Different types of posts attract a wider variety of Instagram followers. The more diverse your content, the better. Furthermore, you should use every tool Instagram offers. This means you should post reels and stories alongside your profile feed. Instagram reels differ from stories in that they can stay on your profile, or user feed, indefinitely. IG stories have a limited lifespan of only 24 hours.

The longevity of Instagram reels also helps you to gain more followers and likes. Create quality content, then post reels and pair them with hashtags. Your hashtags should be relevant to your brand. Tap into commonly used hashtags alongside a few that are unique for more reach. This social media strategy will help to increase your follower count. Need more followers in a pinch? Utilize third party services that will help you gain a thousand followers in minutes.

If you are wondering when the best time to post a reel on Instagram is, follow the same guidelines as posting stories. When you post Instagram reels, they stay on your feed longer. Meaning users and followers will see them long after you post them. For maximum exposure, however, stick to the 6 AM post guideline. As we mentioned earlier, earlier in the morning is always one of the best times to post on Instagram.

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

Figure Out the Best Time to Post on Instagram Through Trial and Error

Knowing the best times to post on Instagram per day will help you reach your particular audience. There’s no steadfast rule when it comes to the best time so start figuring it out by 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 if you have an Instagram business account or creator profile. A creator profile has the added advantage of having access to the Instagram Creator studio dashboard. It provides additional audience insights, such as data on when your followers are online. Also knowing which Instagram post or posts perform best helps to narrow down the kind of content you should create.

Schedule posts based on the recommended best times to post on Instagram as mentioned above. Then use Instagram Insights or Instagram analytics 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 Instagram account posts at different times for comparison. Don’t forget to post regularly to keep your follower count and engagement rate high.

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 users every single time you publish.

Now you know the best times to post on Instagram. With this knowledge you’ll be able to plot a content schedule that covers the most important bases. With some carefully planned trial and error you’ll be able to pinpoint specific times for certain days of the week. You’ll also know the best days of the week to publish your content to get the highest exposure and engagement. When you have the timing nailed down, post consistently and watch your audience engagement soar.

Another great way to organically boost your numbers is by partnering with a reliable growth company, like Path Social. Path Social uses proprietary AI targeting algorithm to find real people who are looking for the kind of content you’re already offering. So, you can be sure that the followers you’ll gain have a high likelihood of providing quality engagement. They also have an in-house team of experts who takes care of organic content promotion. Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today!