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Best Times to Post on Instagram — A 2021 Guide for Marketers

January 5, 2021

Updated Jan 2021

You work hard to create brand content for Instagram, so shouldn’t you give it the best chance of getting seen?

Find out when to post on Instagram so your content appears higher in your followers’ news feeds and generates more engagement.

Learning when your audience is most open to engaging with content gives your brand a competitive edge, and we show you exactly how to take advantage of that.

publish-instagram-while-you-sleep

Keep reading to find out the best times to post images, videos, and Stories on Instagram (we’ve also got some industry-specific posting guidelines that you’ll love).

Have you ever wondered what time zone you should follow when posting? We’ve got you covered on that, too!

Let’s get started!

How Covid Affects Best Posting Times For 2021

The new work-from-home culture brings about many changes in people’s online activity, including what days and times they’re most receptive to brand content on Instagram.

How COVID Changed The Internet

By June, 42% of the U.S. labor force was working from home full-time and, sadly, 33% were unemployed.

Overnight, the U.S. transitioned to a home-based economy, with 75% of its people staying at home full-time. 

Ordering meals and groceries online, shopping at Amazon, video calling family and friends (instead of seeing them), and working with team members through services such as Sharelov and Zoom quickly became the new normal.

Our new lifestyles changed the internet:

  • International internet traffic increased by an average 48%
  • Peak traffic increased to 47%.
  • Users continue to spend more time online than at the start of 2020.

How COVID Changed Social Media

Social media use skyrocketed when normal activity stopped. More than 50% of people began spending more time on their favorite social platforms.

Social media became central to people’s lives in a way it never was before:

  • More than one million people started using social media for the first time on a daily basis in 2020.
  • More than half the world now uses social media — 3.96 billion people as of July 2020 — which is more than ten percent higher than the previous year.
  • Every second, social media gained 12 new users.

How COVID Changed Audiences, Especially B2B’s

While vaccines and treatments are sure to alter habits again as life begins its return to “normal,” a significant portion of working professionals will not head back to the office.

It turns out people really like working from home.

29% of working professionals now say they will quit their jobs if they have to return to the office after the pandemic. USA Today, Jan 2021

B2B businesses that work with people who used to work in offices may see permanent changes in audience behavior that forever alters their best times to post content on Instagram.

Other brands can expect changes to continue fluctuating throughout the year as part of their audiences continue from home while others change habits as the pandemic improves (and life gets back to a regular routine).

How COVID Affects Your Best Posting Times in 2021

Our recommendations in the next section (Best Times to Post on Instagram For 2021 Work-From-Home) were developed using newer data that takes work-from-home and COVID adjustments into consideration.

This section will give you an idea of how COVID has changed the days and times when people are most active and receptive to brands on Instagram.

You’ll learn how audience patterns have shifted for 2021, and discover brand new ideas for posting times that you may have never considered in the past.

To find the best posting times for your industry or for specific content, you can use the recommendations later in this article to help you get started. Ask yourself and your team how the changes in general posting times (section 1) might also affect your industry and special content.

Let’s be honest. Schedules are complicated.

Habits and routines are still changing daily, and will continue to adjust to current circumstances until the end of 2021 (at least).

Simplify the process by using Sharelov’s Instagram analytics, Best Time To Post tool, and Instagram auto-publish post scheduler. All three features are included in your Sharelov subscription.

auto-publishing for instagram is hereSharelov lets you instantly view your Instagram engagement rates and analytics, plus you get updated, automated recommendations on when to post – based on your audience’s current behavior.

Best Times to Post on Instagram For 2021 Work-From-Home

We analyzed several recent studies and research, based on tens of millions of Instagram posts across the globe, from Unmetric, Oberlo, Hubspot, Later, Sprout Social, Coschedule, and Hopper HQ.

The recommendations in this section include data on COVID work-from-home scheduling adjustments.

Since Instagram’s newsfeed displays the most recent content first, posting at strategic times gives your brand an advantage because more people will see it.

Tip: Sharelov’s Best Time to Post feature recommends ideal posting times for your brand, making it super-easy to post content at the best time for your audience!

Sharelov Best Time to Post Feature

Using artificial intelligence, the tool analyzes your audience’s behavior and recommends posting times — as you’re creating content — — so you never even have to deal with metrics or screen-flipping!

Sharelov optimize your publishing for maximum reach

Use the best posting times below as a way to begin experimenting with your audience.  Remember, your brand’s Instagram analytics give you up-to-the-minute information on when your audience is typically online and engaging with your brand.

The #1 Best Time To Post On Instagram Is 11 A.M. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays

Eleven o’clock on weekday mornings has been a popular Instagram posting time since before the pandemic began.

What’s changed since early 2020 is that Wednesdays have taken a backseat to the early and latter days of the week.

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays became more popular posting times in the past twelve months, but the 11 a.m. “sweet spot” for brand posting remains the same.

In 2021, consider testing morning spots on a variety of weekdays to discover when your audience is most likely to engage with your content.

Optimize your Publishing time

#2 The Second-best Time To Post On Instagram Is Tuesdays at 2 P.M.

While lunch hours have always been a popular posting time for Instagram, the new work-from-home culture has shifted the time frame (just a bit).

Previous studies agreed that 11 am – 2 pm weekdays was an excellent posting window, but today’s workforce seems to be condensing its social media activity during the workdays.

For 2021, try experimenting with specific times, such as 2 pm, instead of general “lunch hour” windows.

Also consider testing your audience to learn whether their day-to-day Instagram routines have moved from Wednesdays to Tuesdays, as studies are suggesting.

instagram auto-publishing

#3 The Third-best Time To Post On Instagram Is Early Mornings On Mondays And Fridays.

The previously popular 3 -4 pm weekday spot has been ousted for early morning activity — another indication that audiences are leaning in to more concentrated working hours as a result of work-from-home.

Consider posting before your audience begins work, between 5 – 6 am, especially on Mondays and Fridays.

5 – 6 am on Mondays and Fridays is the third-best suggesting posting time, but experiment with your audience. You may find that your Instagram followers are more engaged at 7 am or on Tuesdays or Thursdays instead of Mondays and Fridays.

Fortunately, you don’t need to wake up early to publish those 5:00 am posts. Sharelov’s auto-publish tool for Instagram lets you schedule posts to publish automatically. Get a free Sharelov trial and try auto-publish today!

Experiment with a variety of weekday morning hours and follow your analytics closely to determine whether your ideal publishing times vary from the most common.

#4 The Fourth-best Time To Post On Instagram Is Weekends Between 9 – 5

Here’s where Covid schedules take a sharp u-turn on previous behavior.

Prior to the pandemic, Sundays were the absolute worst day to post on Instagram.

For 2021, though, weekends (including Sundays) may turn out to be one of your most engaging publishing days.

More people are logging on and engaging with Instagram during the weekends than ever before.

When you keep in mind that people are avoiding weekday distractions and concentrating their social activity as they work from home, it’s a natural conclusion to assume that they’re saving their social media “fun time” for the weekends.

Marketers need their fun time, too. Instead of jumping on social media to publish your brand’s weekend posts, just schedule them to auto-publish with Sharelov so you don’t have to worry about it. Your family will thank you!

Consider experimenting with posting times that include weekends between 9 – 5 to discover whether your audience, like many others, are now more active and engaged on Saturdays and Sundays.

Worst Time To Post On Instagram – After 6 P.M.

The worst time to post on Instagram during Covid sheds light on all the latest best posting times.

Working from home, for most people, means more times spent on the computer than ever before. 

Between zoom meetings and chatting programs such as Slack and Sharelov, plus virtually school children and daily online grocery/product shopping, by 6 pm people are looking forward to a break from their computers and devices.

Most companies will want to avoid posting content after 6 pm, especially on weeknights. Test your audience to learn whether this is true for your brand.

Best Times to Post on Instagram in 2021 infographic

industry recommendations
Later in this article, we explore the best times to post
by industry so be sure to scroll down and check whether your industry is different!

As social media continues to integrate more thoroughly into the lives of businesspeople and their customers, the best times to post on Instagram become more liberal every year.

More and more, people are interacting with brands at all hours of the day — including late nights and the earliest of morning hours.

Experiment with posting times, or use an AI-driven tool, such as Sharelov, to learn the best Instagram posting times for your brand.

Best Times to Post Photos on Instagram

Please use your audience and post insights to test, experiment, and learn how work-from-home schedules may have changed your brand’s ideal times to post photos, videos, and Stories in 2021.

Keep it simple with Sharelov

Over 50 billion images have been shared on Instagram, and followers love them! In this section, we show you the best time to publish your photo posts on Instagram.

Unmetric’s study of the connection between engagement rates and photo posting times revealed a clear preference: photos posted between 11 am – 12 pm received massively more comments than at any other time of the day or night.

The best time to post photos on Instagram is between 11 am – 12 pm.

Photos posted outside the hours of 11 am – 12 pm earned far less engagement, and include:

  • The 2nd-best time to post photos on Instagram: between 5 – 6 pm.
  • The 3rd-best time to post photos on Instagram: between 7 – 8 pm.

The worst time to post photos on Instagram is between 10 pm – 8 am

Engagement with photos between 10 pm and 8 am was so low, that it’s probably safe to say: don’t waste your efforts, unless you’re in an industry with very late hours.

unmetric best times to post images Instagram
Find out when to post on Instagram so your content appears higher in your followers’ news feeds and generates more engagement.
brands audience on Instagram

Best Times to Post Videos on Instagram

Video, video, video! If there’s one thing Instagrammers love, it’s engaging videos! Here are some tips on the best times to post videos on Instagram.

  1. The best time to post videos on Instagram is between 9 – 10 am.

According to Unmetric statistics, the greatest number of comments posted to videos happens between 9 – 10 am.

  1. The 2nd best time to post videos on Instagram is between 1 – 2 pm.
  2. The 3rd best time to post videos on Instagram is anytime between 8 am and 7 pm
  3. The worst time to post videos on Instagram is between 10 pm – 7 am.

Best Times to Post Videos on IGTV

IGTV, Instagram’s long-form video app, was launched in June 2019

Statistics for best time to post to IGTV aren’t widely available yet, but one report by hashtagie suggests the following best posting times:

The #1 best time to post to IGTV is Wednesdays at 8 pm.

The #2 best times to post to IGTV is between 8 – 10 pm Monday through Thursday.

While we don’t have a lot of data on IGTV posting times, because the app is so new, we think the above suggestions are a good starting point for IGTV content. 

Make sure to measure your own IGTV results along the way,so you can discover what times produce the most engagement for your brand.

We’d love to hear what IGTV posting times work best for your brand! Tell us about it in the comments below!

Should your brand launch an IGTV channel? Find out everything you need to know in the

Marketer’s Guide to Instagram TV

Best Times to Post Instagram Stories

500 million people use Instagram Stories every day, and one-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.

So, when is the best time to post your brand’s Instagram Stories?

  • Stories only last 24 hours, so don’t restrict your posts to the “best times.” 
  • You can post at any time of the day or night, including late-night and into the wee hours of the morning. 
  • Your followers will see your stories in their feed the next morning.

Remember to archive and pin your best Stories to your profile as Highlights, which remain visible until you remove them.

According to Facebook IQ, 37% of users in the U.S. agree that Instagram Stories help them to be “more authentic in their communication with their friends and family.” 

Did you know? 62% of Instagrammers say they’ve become more interested in a brand after seeing it in Instagram Stories.

Learn how to create relevant, high-quality Instagram Stories in the

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories for Business in 2020 cover image

Best Times to Post Instagram Live Videos

Instagram Live videos disappear when the broadcast is finished. For that reason:

  1. The best time to post on Instagram Live can only be determined by knowing when most of your audience is online.
  2. To extend the life of your live video, share it to Instagram Stories, then add that story to your Highlights.

According to Shopify, some of the best ways to use Instagram Live are to:

  • Run a contest
  • Host a Q & A or Ask Me Anything session
  • Share moments from live events
  • Host a talk show or live vlog

Get Instagram Live tips, tricks, examples, and ideas to help you create videos your audience can’t resist:

Instragam live cover art

Best Times to Post to Instagram for Your Industry

Like any social media platform, Instagram’s engagement rates rely on the routines and habits of your audience.

If your industry operates during non-traditional hours, there’s a good chance that your best posting times will differ from the standard recommendations above.

create schedule and auto-publish instagram posts

Below is a listing of the best times to post for specific industries, to help you get a jump on finding the most-engaging time of day for your audience.

CONSUMER BRANDS

According to a study by Sprout Social, the best times to post for consumer brands are as follows:

  • The #1 best time to post: Wednesday at 3 pm
  • The #2 best time to post: 11 am – 5 pm weekdays
  • The #3 best time to post: Saturday 10 am.
  • The worst time to post is on Sundays

B2B BUSINESSES

B2B companies achieve high clickthrough rates on Instagram at several points throughout the day, according to HubSpot:

  • Best posting times for B2B businesses 12 – 1 pm and 5 – 6 pm
  • Also good: after hours until 9 pm.

PERSONALITIES

There’s a conflict between when most personalities post to Instagram and when personalities receive the highest engagement rates.

  • Best time for personalities to post to Instagram: Wednesdays between 12 – 4 pm.

Personalities receive the highest Instagram engagement rates when posting on Wednesdays.

However, personalities post most often on Thursdays and Fridays, despite lower engagement rates.

  • 2nd best time for personalities to post to Instagram: Weekdays 12 pm – 4 pm

NON PROFITS

The best time for non-profit organizations to post to Instagram is Friday at 2 pm.

The worst time for non-profits to post to Instagram is on Saturdays.

HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY

The #1 best time for healthcare brands to post on Instagram is Tuesday at 1 pm.

The 2nd best time for healthcare brands to post is 9 am – 4 pm Tuesday through Friday.

Weekends are the worst time for healthcare brands to post on Instagram.

TECH INDUSTRY

The #1 best time for tech brands to post on Instagram is Wednesdays at 10 am.

The 2nd best time for tech brands to post is 10 am – 5 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

The worst day for tech brands to post is Sundays.

SPORTS INDUSTRY

According to Unmetric’s statistics:

  • The best time for sports brands to post is on Sundays between 4 – 5 pm.
  • The 2nd-best time is 8 – 9 pm any day of the week.
  • Other good times to post are between 6 – 10 pm on any day.
  • If you’re posting sports photos, 7 – 9 pm is best. 4 – 5 pm and 10 – 11 pm are also good times to post photos.
  • If you’re posting sports videos, 1 – 2 pm is best.
  • The worst time to post for the sports industry is on Fridays.

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY

The best times for restaurants to post on Instagram are during your peak hours. 

You might think mealtimes are the best times for restaurants to post on Instagram, but eating schedules have become so flexible that the time-worn tradition of breakfast, lunch, and dinner times aren’t reliable as posting times.

The best times for restaurants to post to social media are changing rapidly because our food…

Instagram reports a rise in “snacking behavior” that’s challenging breakfast, lunch, and dinner patterns. 

Mealtimes have become fluid, and are often determined by people’s lifestyles instead of traditional mealtime habits. 

U.S. consumers are 63% more likely to snack in place of a meal and 84% of them snack in-between meals.

Since over 45% of people use a smartphone while in restaurants and bars, use your peak hours to encourage customers to share to social media.

BEVERAGE INDUSTRY

The best time for beverage brands to post on Instagram is between 3 – 6 pm.

According to Instagram, this is the best opportunity, when viewers are thirsty and impulsive.

Tip: Beverage companies should post more videos than photos, since beverage Instagrammers watch twice the number of videos compared to the average global user.

A recent Instagram in-house study revealed that mobile users are more impulsive when it comes to purchasing beverages. This means photos and videos are powerful ways to influence beverage purchases.

EDUCATION INDUSTRY

The best time for educational organizations to post on Instagram is Mondays at 8:00 pm.

The 2nd best time for educational organizations to post on Instagram is between 11 am and 4 pm on weekdays.

The worst day for educational organizations to post on Instagram is Sunday.

How To Find Your Brand’s Ultimate Best Time To Post

The schedules above are based on the highest-engagement times for businesses. 

If you’re new to Instagram, they can be very helpful in making decisions about when to post your content.

auto-publish to instagram

If your engagement rates need a perk, the best posting times can also help you discover times that may improve your brand’s performance on Instagram.

The ultimate best times to post on Instagram depend on your audience, though.

Learn to master Instagram analytics with the

Sharelov_Blog-Ultimate-Instagram-Analytics_Cover

Sharelov’s Best Times to Post feature takes the guesswork out of when you should post. Just toggle it “on” and you’ll automatically get suggestions based on your audience.

get suggestions based on your audience with sharelov

How Often To Post on Instagram

Should you post on Instagram as often as possible? 

Probably not.

Here are some tips to help guide your posting frequency:

  1. Publish posts only as often as you can create high-quality, interesting content that your audience loves to engage with. 
  2. Post Stories as often as possible.
  3. Post content more often during special events.

Remember — quality has more power than frequency!

When deciding how often to post to Instagram, remember:

  • The quality of your Instagram posts are far more important than how often you post.
  • Keep your content interesting with a healthy balance of video, photo, and stories  – but only according to your ability to consistently publish quality material.
  • Be sure to size your photos and videos correctly to achieve the highest-quality images.

Did you know you can post to Instagram from your computer? Find out how:

Cover - How To Post On Instagram From a PC or Mac

What Time Zone To Post In

Now that you know the statistics on what works best for posting different types of content on Instagram, you may be wondering what time zone those suggestions refer to.

If you’re a local business you should apply the best posting times to your regional time zone.

If you’re a national or global business, you should post according to the time zone that most of your audience lives in, if that exists.

If all else fails and you’re still not sure what time zone to follow, post in Eastern time because it houses the greatest number of people:

  • Nearly half of the U.S. population (47.8%) lives in the Eastern time zone.
  • About 30% of Americans live in the Central time zone.
  • 16.6% of Americans live in the Pacific time zone.
  • Only 6.7% of Americans live in the Mountain time zone.

Global brands should try posting at 9 am EST, when the greatest number of people, globally, are…

Get information, guidance and examples to help you market your brand on Instagram in the

Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing

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Tips for Increasing Your Instagram Post Engagement

How often and when you post on Instagram is only the first step in boosting your Instagram engagement rates. 

Check out our step-by-step Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing & find out EVERYTHING you need to know to build, engage, and sell to Instagrammers!

Here are a few more tips to help you get your audience interacting with your brand more often.

  1. Make your posts irresistible.

Publish the most compelling photos, videos, and stories your brand is capable of. 

When people interact with your posts, this tells Instagram that your brand is sharing quality content, and then more people will see your posts.

  1. Consistency is more important than frequency.

Develop a posting schedule based on how often you can publish quality material, and then stick to the plan. 

  • It’s better to post 1 compelling image a day than 6 that get ignored. 
  • Publishing on a consistent schedule shows reliability and helps build trust between your brand and its audience.

Consistency is easy when you have access to auto-publishing tools for Instagram.

Unfortunately, Instagram is picky about what software programs can use auto-publish, so finding an auto-publish tool can be a challenge, however….

Auto-publish to Instagram is now available on Sharelov!

Join Sharelov today and start auto-publishing your Instagram posts. Auto-publish is included in your Sharelov subscription, so all you need to do is set it up with our step-by-step visual guide.

Try auto-publish to Instagram with Sharelov now.

put your instagram publishing on autopilot with sharelov

  1. Work in teams.

Instagram’s demand for quality is high, and successful content is usually produced by a team of people working together.

Collaboration can dramatically improve a brand’s chances of success because:

  • Teams can create original, engaging content week after week.
  • Teams can quality-check photos, videos, and messages before they’re published.
  • Teams help avoid errors in messaging that might harm a brand’s reputation.

Move to AI-Driven, Metrics-Based Scheduling for Best Results

Brands without much history of posting content, and brands who aren’t generating enough engagement can use the posting times in this article to begin testing their audience’s reactions.

AI-driven scheduling or decisions made based on analytics, are the best way to determine what posting times will work best for your brand on Instagram.

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Best Time to Post on Instagram 2021 Cheat Sheet
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Brenda Ayala Berríos

This is so useful. 🙌🏻

Lisa Sicard

Very interesting to see the shift in times. I remember that evenings were best but now it’s shifted to lunchtime. Is that because the audience is expanding to an older demo?