With the complicated algorithms and secrets behind hashtags, Instagram isn’t just a hobby anymore — it’s a science. And if you’re one of the hopefuls trying to break into the world of social media stardom, you’re going to want to get in on the rules. But before you even begin to delve into the art of making captions or following the right people, one of the key components to gaining traction and attention to your posts is figuring out the best time of day to post on Instagram.
With all the changes to Instagram’s algorithm in recent years, it can be difficult to keep up with who’s seeing your post and why. “Now that feed is no longer chronological, the old rules on timings are not quite concrete,” Rosanna Falconer, digital strategy and brand consultant, tells Bustle. But people like Falconer, who are familiar with Instagram and its algorithms, know how to use the platform in their favor. “To play the algorithm, it’s important you get instant, strong engagement (likes, comments, saves),” she says.
A lot of it has to do with understanding that Instagram shows other users certain posts depending on interest, relationships, and timeliness, according to TechCrunch. This means that when you see a post, you’re seeing it because Instagram determined it would be something you’re interested in because of your past likes. It also means that you’re seeing it because of your previous interactions with whoever posted it, and of course, the time it was posted. And while the first two require a close assessment of your followers and interactions, you can work on timeliness.
After analyzing 12 million Instagram posts, Later.com, a marketing platform for Instagram, determined that the best time to post on Instagram was between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. EST. Even though it’s based on millions upon millions of posts, however, this answer isn’t necessarily reflective of every single user’s Instagram. Forbes, for example, determined that the best time to post is anytime between Tuesday and Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m EST.
The reasoning behind these discrepancies is that when it comes down to it, the best time to post is based upon the individual user and where they’re posting from. “This will depend from account to account based on factors like demographic, age group, etc.” Falconer says. “For example, if the majority of your followers are USA-based, there’s no point posting at 7:30 a.m. GMT.”
Molly Marshall, an Instagram marketing strategist, tells Bustle that the process of finding the best time might take some guessing and checking. “You can use your Instagram analytics to make your best guess, and test from there,” she says. “You may find a time that you think works really well for you, but it’s important to test that against something else, because you could be surprised!”
The important thing about finding the best time for your posts on Instagram is knowing your audience and their habits, which might take you a while to really catch up on. But if you pay close attention and use the guess-and-check method, you’ll be sure you find your posting sweet-spot.