Statistical Best Time to Post on Instagram

Instagram used to sort posts in chronological order of posts, but in 2016 the site decided to replace this system with an algorithm that ranks posts based on engagement. The good news is that this means your attention-grabbing posts go to the top of the feed and stay here. The bad news is that if you don’t get at least some interaction (which basically means attention) from the get-go, you’ll be buried. An important part of engaging is when you post – even a good post can go down the memory hole if you post at the wrong time.

When Should You Post to Instagram?

So when is the right time to post? You are not the first to ask this question. Various studies have been carried out to determine the ideal days and times for Instagram posts. Recent research by Instagram marketing platform Later and marketing firm HubSpot has revealed some helpful tips for users looking to get the most engagement. Here is a summary of the research results:

  • Outside working hours is usually better than working hours.
  • Weekdays are usually better than weekends.
  • The best days are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday
  • The best time of day is between 7 pm and 9 pm.
  • The worst time of the day is between 3 pm and 4 pm.
  • The worst day of the week is Sunday.

It’s worth noting that Later and HubSpot agree on most of these points. Specifically, they both found that posts with the least engagement between 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM. The two companies could not agree on the best days for shipping. It then claimed Wednesday and Thursday were the best, while HubSpot concluded that Monday and Thursday were the best. According to these studies, the worst time to post is between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on a Sunday, while the best time to post is between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday.

Consider Your Target Audience


Of course, the research above looks at a wide variety of Instagram posts. For a more in-depth look at the best time to post, you need to carefully consider your audience and when they can browse the platform. Your audience may be more active in the mornings or on the weekends. Ask yourself the following questions about your audience to help you refine your ideal posting time.

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  • Are they working? If so, when might they be working?
  • When do they have free time?
  • How are they likely to access the platform? Is it mobile? Desktop?
  • What time zone are they in? If it’s not yours, organize your posts in their time zone.

Let’s say you aim to stay home new moms. They are likely to have free time while the baby is sleeping. Babies don’t always go to sleep at the same time, but even when they’re older, they often take an early afternoon nap. So by 3pm on weekdays, it’s probably a safe bet. On the other hand, are you trying to reach hardcore gamers? For these people, late night may make more sense than airing on a Thursday night prime time.

You should also consider the reasons you have for posting. Trying to use Instagram to sell something? (In that case, you should also check out our article on how to use Instagram to increase your sales).

Research from HubSpot has found that there are large variations in optimal posting times and days depending on what type of organization you’re posting to. Here are some of their distribution:

For tech companies, the best time to post is 10:00 am on a Wednesday morning. The most consistent timeframe for posts to engage is Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Generally, the best day is Thursday, and the worst day in general is Sunday.

For companies that sell directly to consumers, the best time to post is 11:00am and 1:00pm on Saturday. The most consistent interaction time is from 10:00 am to 3 pm daily. Generally, the best day is Wednesday and the worst day is Monday.

The best time to post for educational institutions is 8 PM on Monday evening. The best day to post is Monday, and the worst day is Sunday, while the most consistent engagement is between 11am and 4pm weekdays.

Healthcare companies best time to post is between 13:00 on Tuesday, and consistent engagement times are between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Tuesday through Friday. Tuesday is the best day to post and Saturday and Sunday are bad days for them.

Nonprofits have a number of peak posting times: Tuesday 3 PM and 9 PM, Wednesday 3 PM and 4 PM, Thursday 2 PM and 3 PM, and Friday 10 PM and 2 PM. Consistent attendance times are weekdays from 5 pm to 5 pm, with Tuesday at their best and Saturday at their worst.

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The Power of Personal Research

The most reliable method of determining the best time to post is simple observation. Track your Instagram metrics and experiment with content. (See our article on Instagram metrics for more on this.) What days of the week do you see the most engagement? At what times of the day? Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t even provide users with rudimentary measurement tools like many other social media platforms do. Fortunately, there are other ways to stay on top of your likes. It may seem time consuming, but paying a little extra attention to your own personal tendencies will give you the information you need to get more likes for your next post.

  • Get a free Instagram analytics tool like Iconosquare or InstaFollow.
  • Use old-fashioned pen, paper, and a calculator.

Once you know the best time to post on Instagram, it’s time to schedule that post. After all, you won’t always be able to post when those ideal times come. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram does not have a built-in tool for scheduling posts. You’ll need to use a tool like Sked Social or Later to get the job done. Fortunately, most of these tools are free and easy to use. With a bit of research and a bit of legwork, a bigger Instagram follower is not far away.