The Best Time to Post on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

The Best Time to Post on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know
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Heidi Lang

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2021

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Time and time again, you believe you’ve created amazing content for your Instagram page — interesting and relevant to your target audience, eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing, and informative. But your posts always get minimal, or even zero, engagement. What are you missing? 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 content posting schedule for your business, whatever your industry is. 

The Best Time to Post on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Day of the Week 

Target audiences vary widely and may come from different cities, time zones, and even countries. Identifying your target audience will help you narrow down the best times to post Instagram content 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, then it would be safe to assume that the majority of them are most active on Instagram during early evening hours and the weekend. If you’re targeting those from this demographic who enjoy nights out, then you can expect them to be actively engaging on Instagram on Friday and Saturday nights. 

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. 

According to Later’s analysis of over 35 million Instagram posts worldwide, the best time to post on Instagram (in local time) is 6 AM. 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 AM on Sundays get the highest average engagement.   

Later also found that the worst times to post on Instagram are Wednesdays between 10 AM and 4 PM, and Thursdays between 9 PM and 11 PM. 

Below are Later’s recommendations for the best hours to post on Instagram for each day of the week:

  • Monday: 5AM
  • Tuesday: 6AM
  • Wednesday: 6AM
  • Thursday: 5AM
  • Friday: 6AM
  • Saturday: 6AM
  • Sunday: 6AM
The Best Time to Post on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

The worst times for posting content on Instagram are as follows:

  • Monday: 2PM
  • Tuesday: 1PM
  • Wednesday: 10AM
  • Thursday: 11PM
  • Friday: 9AM
  • Saturday: 8PM
  • Sunday: 4PM

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 reach them. 

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.

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. 

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Industry 

Ideal times to post on Instagram also vary per industry, as previously mentioned. 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 amSunday
Non-profitWednesday 2 pmWednesday    1-4 pmSaturday & Sunday
EducationFriday 10 amWednesday & Friday mid-morning; Saturday 6-8 pmSunday
HealthcareTuesday 8 amWeekdays          9 am-3 pmSaturday & Sunday
Professional servicesAny day between 9 am and 10 pmTuesday, Wednesday, & FridaySaturday & Sunday
Food & BeverageNoon of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, & SaturdayFridaySaturday & Sunday
Travel & TourismTuesday, Wednesday, & Friday9-10 am & 11 am – 1 pm

Best Time to Post Based on Location

When your target audience is spread out across different time zones, it’s also good to know the ideal times to post based on location. Here are Later’s findings:

  • US and Canada (Western): 12AM-6AM
  • US and Canada (Central): 6AM-8AM
  • US and Canada (Eastern): 4AM-9AM
  • South America: 4AM
  • UK: 4AM-6AM
  • Europe (Western): 6-8PM
  • Europe (Eastern): 5AM-7AM
  • Africa: 6AM
  • South Asia and Middle East: 3AM
  • East Asia and Southeast Asia: 11PM-4AM
  • Australasia: 11PM – 2AM
The Best Time to Post on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

The Best Time for Content Posting: Trial and Error 

Knowing the best times to post 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 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. 

The Best Time to Post on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

The Best Content Scheduling Tools

Figuring out the optimal hours of the day and days of the week to schedule your posts may seem like a lot of work. Of course, once you’ve determined the ideal schedule for your brand and target audience, then the task will run smoothly like clockwork. But you also have to keep in mind that Instagram, just like all other social media platforms, never stops evolving; this means that what works best for you now will still work for you the same way next week or next month. 

To take the guesswork out of optimizing your content schedule, even after rollouts of new Instagram updates, you should consider using content scheduling tools. Here are the best ones out there.

Later

Later offers a specialized feature for optimal content scheduling, called “Best Time to Post.” This feature determines the best time to publish your content based on when your followers are most active. The feature is available to Later’s business plans, which also come with unlimited posts. 

Sprout Social

Sprout has an in-house data science team that collects and analyzes user data to make social media scheduling and publishing more efficient. In addition to determining the best time to post for any particular business and any given target audience from one week to the next, the app also has an auto-posting tool.

Path Social

If you’re looking to grow your engagement organically, reaching the right audience at the right time is key and Path Social’s in-house team of social media experts does all the heavy lifting involved in organic content promotion. Aided by their proprietary AI targeting algorithm, you can be sure that your content will reach real people who are most likely to be interested in and engage with your brand. Path Social also offers a suite of free tools, including an Engagement Rate Calculator, which you can use to find out how well your account is performing. 

Social Media Success

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 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.