Did you know that the best time to post on Instagram has changed in the last 6 months? Stop scheduling your posts based on data from yesterday’s Instagram!
Find out if you’re missing out on prime engagement times with this easy-to-follow guide that tells you the best times to post on Instagram in 2018.
On June 20, 2018, Instagram announced that 1 billion worldwide Instagram accounts are active monthly. The chart below shows how rapidly the platform is growing.
The popular social network has also released 8 brand new features since June 1st.
One of them, You’re All Caught Up, has a direct effect on how often you should post to Instagram, which we’ll explain later in this article.
Gain an edge on your competition by spending a few minutes reviewing the latest recommendations for when to post photos, videos, and stories for your business.
We’ll show you the best times to post, and explain how behavioral shifts and the 2018 public release of Instagram’s algorithm have impacted the engagement patterns of its users.
Table of Contents
What Are the Best Times to Post Photos on Instagram?
Except where otherwise noted, our recommendations are based on two recent studies: One that polled social media managers, and another that examined the difference between posting and engagement times for 100 U.S.- focused brands. All data from these studies was compiled between November 2017 – January 2018.
Be sure to schedule your posts at least a few minutes before the “best time” ends.
1. The #1 best time to post to Instagram in 2018 is between 12 – 1 pm on Tuesdays.
- Any time between 11 am – 1 pm on Tuesdays is best for brand engagement, but data suggests that 12 – 1pm is highest.
- Thursday lunchtime sees the 2nd-highest engagement rates, and Wednesdays are 3rd most effective.
- All weekday lunch hours, except Friday, received higher engagement than at any other time.
Last year, 7-9 pm was the #1 recommended time slot for publishing. But in 2018, things have changed. Lunchtime audiences are now the most-engaged group of users on Instagram.
- If you’re posting photos, lean toward the early part of the lunch hour. Photos get the most engagement between 11 am – 12 pm.
2. The 2nd-best time to post on Instagram is 7 – 9 pm. Monday – Thursday.
3. Here are more good times to post:
- Anytime between 9am and lunchtime
- 4-5 pm weekdays
4. What are the worst times to post to Instagram?
- Weekdays between 3 – 4 pm
Brands don’t normally get much engagement on the weekends, and Fridays are the least productive weekday.
Keep in mind that certain niche industries thrive on the weekends. In a later section, we’ll take a look at how your industry might affect the best time to post for your brand.
What Are 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 highest-ever number of comments posted to videos happened between 9 – 10 am.
2. The 2nd-best time to post videos is between 1 – 2 pm.
3. Here are more good times to post videos:
Any day (except Friday) between:
- 8 – 11 am
- 12 – 3 pm
- 4 – 7 pm
5. The worst time to post videos on Instagram is from 10 pm – 8 am.
There’s a slight peak in video engagement at 10 pm, followed by a sharp decline.
Instagram Introduces Long-form Video
Long-form video (20+ minutes) accounted for more than 50% of total video consumption across all screen types, according to a 1st-quarter study by Ooyala Media.
Instagram rolled out a new feature called IGTV on June 20th, 2018. The app lets you create your own IGTV channel that can be watched, followed, and commented on within Instagram.
While it’s too soon to predict the best times to post to IGTV, we suggest promoting your channel by following the recommended best posting times above.
What Are the Best Times to Post Instagram Stories?
400 million people are using Instagram Stories daily, and one-third of the most-viewed stories are from businesses.
So, when is the best time to post your stories?
1. Stories only last 24 hours, so don’t restrict your posts to the “best times.”
2. 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.
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.”
So when posting stories, think about ways you might encourage interaction between family and friends with creative, beautiful, and authentic content.
What Are the Best Times to Post Instagram Live Videos?
Live videos disappear when the broadcast is finished. For that reason:
- The best time to post on Instagram Live can only be determined by knowing when most of your audience is online.
- To extend the life of your live video, share it to Instagram Stories and 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
What Are the Best Times to Post for Specific Industries?
Engagement on Instagram, like any social platform, revolves around the routines and habits of your audience.
When you’re in an industry that operates during everyone else’s “off-hours,” chances are your best times will be different than the recommendations above.
In this section, we’ll take a look at niche industries whose “best times to post” may differ from the mainstream.
According to a recent study*:
- The best time to post to Instagram for the tech industry is Wednesdays from 10 – 11 am.
- The 2nd-best time is Thursdays 10 – 11 am and 2 – 3 pm.
- Other great times to post are 10 am – 5 pm Wednesday through Friday.
- The worst time to post on Instagram for the tech industry is anytime Sunday.
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.
You might think that mealtimes are the best times for restaurants to post on Instagram, but old routines are beginning to fluctuate.
The best times for restaurants to post to social media are changing rapidly because our food culture is changing right now.
Instagram reports a rise in “snacking behavior” that’s challenging breakfast, lunch, and dinner patterns. Mealtimes are becoming “more fluid than ever,” and they’re driven 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.
According to Instagram:
The best “opportunity” for beverage-brands is between 3 – 6 pm. This is the time when viewers are thirsty and impulsive.
Also, lean toward videos over photos when posting beverages.
“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 makes photos and videos a powerful way to influence their purchase decisions.
According to a recent study*:
- The best time to post on Instagram for Education is Mondays at 8 pm.
- The 2nd-best time is Monday between 11 am – 4 pm.
- Other good times to post are weekdays between 11 am – 4 pm.
- The worst time to post for the education industry is on Sundays.
How Often Should I Post on Instagram?
Should you post on Instagram as often as possible? Probably not.
Based on Instagram announcements and new features during the months of June and July 2018, here are our recommendations for how often to post:
- Post Instagram Stories as often as possible.
- Post more often during special events.
- Publish posts only as often as you can create high-quality, interesting content that your audience loves to engage with.
Why are so many brands posting more often than normal?
Brands noticed a significant decline in engagement after the release of Instagram’s new algorithm earlier this year. As a result, many of them began posting more often, hoping it would help them get seen.
That turned out to be a bad idea because:
- On June 1st, 2018, Instagram revealed (for the first time ever) how its algorithm works.
It quickly became clear that the quality of your content has far more power than how often you post.
- The July 2 release of their new feature, “You’re All Caught Up,” puts even more pressure on brands to make every post interesting to their audience.
- TechCrunch reports an upcoming “Do Not Disturb” feature that Instagram and Facebook are prototyping.
The feature would allow users to turn off notifications for a specific amount of time, further discouraging brands from over-posting.
Let’s Take A Look At The Core Ranking Factors So You Know How Often To Post
Instagram lists 3 core ranking factors for their brand new algorithm:
They also include 3 secondary ranking factors:
“Frequency” does not refer to how often you post.
Instead, it refers to the fact that the algorithm takes a look at how often a user logs on and tries to show them the best posts since their last visit.
Since interest, recency, and relationship are the 3 core factors, brands should decide how often they can publish posts that will engage their users. Then, publish consistently on a regular basis.
When deciding how often to post to Instagram, remember:
- The quality of your Instagram posts is 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.
Here’s How To Find The Best Posting Times For Your Audience
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.
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.
But the ultimate times to post on Instagram depend on your audience.
When you’re ready to dig deeper and find the best times to post for your audience, Instagram Insights offers solid data about when your audience is online and most-engaged.
Find out when your audience is active and most open to engaging with your brand.
Here’s a list of step-by-step Instagram Insights tutorials that will help you find the key metrics you need to tailor your posting schedule:
- Social Media Examiner: 4 Ways to Use Instagram Insights to Improve Your Marketing
- Hubspot: How to Use Instagram Insights
- Entreprenuer.com: The Definitive Guide to Instagram Analytics
How To Use Best Posting Times To Increase Your Brand’s Engagement On Instagram
If your goal is to increase engagement and connect with your audience, then it’s helpful to know the best times to post on Instagram. Here are a few more tips to help your brand succeed:
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.
2. Remember that 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.
3. 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.
With Sharelov, your team can work together faster to produce better marketing campaigns from social media to traditional.
*Tech & Education best times to post: Sprout Social Best Times to Post on Social Media: 2018 Industry Research