Best Time To Post on Instagram – The Golden Hours

Choosing the best time to post on Instagram can heavily influence the results of your social media campaign. Here’s a brief guide to shed some light on the matter…

Always a topic of hot debate among social media marketers, whether it is to upload or interact with followers, what is the best time to post on Instagram? The time you choose to be active on Instagram has huge implications on overall engagement.  If you’re a business scheduling a promotional campaign, a brand increasing reach with your audience or perhaps a niche user building yourself a platform on Instagram, the golden hours can make all the difference.

Let’s take a look at two potential scenarios…

Two Brands for example, want to increase the reach and overall engagement of their Instagram accounts, in order to attract new clients and generate more business.

Scenario 1
Brand A decides to upload a couple photos on Instagram every few days, conveniently around their own working hours (so whenever the intern gets a chance basically!)
Result – Majority of uploads gain little engagement, followers increase gradually and conversation rates are not hitting desired targets.

Scenario 2
Brand B takes a more calculated strategic approach, understanding follower segments and behaviours they decide to schedule posts during intervals where followers are most active.
Result – Overall increase in reach and engagement, posts are performing better with explore page features and followers are growing. Conversion rates are also experiencing positive growth.

Got it? Yes? No? Don’t believe me?

Okay I admit that wasn’t the most sophisticated scientific study, perhaps this will convince you;

An analogy…

Imagine a billboard in the middle of the city with adverts cycling every hour of the day. Which advert will be viewed the most? The one that’s on display at 3am or the advert that’s on display at 5pm during the rush hour of commuters pacing home from work. The adverts on show during high traffic hours will no doubt reach a larger audience and inturn be more effective.

And that’s the general idea, posting strategically on Instagram during hours where on-app traffic is the highest, to achieve the highest possible reach & engagement. Sounds pretty simple, and it was until Instagram threw a spanner in the works and introduced a new algorithm.

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The Algorithm

In all honestly, us social marketing gurus, senseis and wizards should have really seen this one coming.  Back in 2016 Instagram announced they would be introducing a new algorithm that changed the traditional chronological order of the Instagram feed, claiming users missed on average almost 70% of posts. A controversial decision that upset many avid Instagram users, but nonetheless the roll out commenced and Instagram transformed.  The algorithm-led feed was now ordered based upon a users likes, the accounts they interacted with most, as well as time, this changed everything. In hindsight it was a predictable move, as Facebook led the algorithmic timeline change some years ago, it was only natural for Instagram to follow.

So now what?

Well it all comes back to the famous quote from Mr. Gates back in 1996 “Content is King” (If I had a backlink for every time I’ve quoted that in a blog post!). Twenty years on the phrase still rings true, and it is very important on Instagram. Due to the algorithm change, it’s no longer a simple case of uploading a picture during the peak activities hours of Instagram and gaining maximum exposure. Consider the content of your posts, stay relevant with current trends, and engage with your followers.  (As this blog post is focused on delivery rather than content, I’ll save that weighty topic for another time!)

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What Is The Best Time To Post On Instagram?

Not to complicate things further but there is also some data to crunch, to help you better calculate your Instagram timings.  Instagram Analytics, a somewhat hidden feature not known to many can massively help your Instagram marketing strategy.  To activate and gain access to this feature all you have to do is follow the steps below or check out our comprehensive guide.

  1. Set your Instagram as a business profile (under the settings menu)
  2. Link your Instagram account to your Facebook page (page not personal account)

Once you’ve completed both steps a small analytics button should appear at the top right.
analytics croppedUsing Instagram analytics you can discover two key statistics: the geographic location of your followers and the times in which they are most active. This information is very important when scheduling and planning your posts. Think about who you’re trying to target with your campaigns, where are the majority of your customers located, find the times they are most active and schedule your posts accordingly. This information should also help you target customers in different time zones.

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Calculating Your Best Time To Post On Instagram – Video Tutorial

It can be quite cumbersome; to juggle your uploads and cater for all your followers from all over the world each in a different time zone. An Instagram Scheduling tool like Hopper HQ, can help resolve these issues. Allowing you to plan and schedule your posts in advance, you can target followers in different time zones and choose the exact time of the day you want your posts to be uploaded.

best time to post on instagram
(Hopper Scheduling Calendar)

Schedule your Instagram posts.

Fully automated posts. No phone required.

To Summarise

  • Calculate using Instagram Analytics
    The feature is free and natively built into Instagram and it’s essential to analyse this data prior to planning a campaign. Use this information to calculate when the best times are to schedule posts.
  • Understand and engage with your followers
    Don’t play it by ear, take some time to grasp what your followers are interested in and what they want to see. Interact with your followers and humanise your brand. This will help shape the content and quality of your account.
  • General times to be active
    The best time to post on Instagram is different for everyone and it really depends on your followers, however there are some general guidelines to follow, such as lunch times, early evenings and off work hours. Remember you don’t want to avoid the rush hour traffic, you want to be in it.
  • Start Scheduling Your Posts
    Once you’ve figured out the best time to post on Instagram for you to be active, the best thing you can do is begin scheduling your posts to target the best times, find out how you can schedule your posts to Instagram here.

When it all comes together you should see a huge difference in the reach and engagement from your Instagram account and hopefully my social wizard musings helped along the way. If you have any questions or topics you’d like to hear about do let us know in the comments, but for now happy Instagramming!

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