Some SMM experts argue that the timing of posting to Instagram has ceased to matter since the social network moved away from a chronological feed of posts and switched to a smart feed. But that’s not entirely true.
Let’s figure out what the timing of posting to Instagram affects and how to determine the best time to post content yourself. What to pay attention to when scheduling posts, storis or videos? Answers in the article.
What does the timing of publishing content on Instagram affect
And is timing really that important?
A little backstory:
When Instagram had a timeline, new posts were displayed to subscribers as they were posted. Traditionally, users sat on social media more before work/study, at lunchtime, then after work/study and on weekends. During these days and hours, Instagram users’ feeds were consistently flooded with content, and often not relevant to their interests. If you posted a post and a subscriber left the social network for 20 minutes, during that time your post could fly to the very end of the feed.
Bottom line: posting times were clear, but many posts didn’t get views because of the high competition for space in the feed.
With the advent of the smart feed, Instagram started showing users content that matched their interests. That is, the content they look at, search for, and interact with most often.
That is, if you post at 9 p.m. and 10 other people post content at that time, it’s not a given that your post will be at the top of your total subscriber feed or appear there at all.
What, then, does the timing of posting on Instagram affect:
1. Good timing allows you to get more interactions with your content in the first hours after posting. And this already affects its further promotion: going into recommendations, showing to other subscribers.
Visits to the profile, views, likes, comments, reposts – all this lets Instagram know that the content is interesting and should be promoted further.
Let’s look at a concrete example:
You and the blogger Peter have a common follower Masha. Masha visits your profile more often and interacts with your content more actively than with Petey’s. Masha is most active at 8pm on weekdays. If you and Petya post at the same time, your post will be higher in Masha’s feed than Petya’s. But if Petr posts at 8 PM (when Masha is active) and you post at 4 AM (when Masha is sleeping), then Petr’s post has a better chance of being higher in Masha’s feed.
Important: In addition to positions in the feed of total followers, organic interactions allow you to reach the recommendations and the top of Instagram, as well as get additional coverage.
2. The timing of posting is important when creating a posting schedule. If you’re creating a content plan for Instagram, it makes sense to specify the days and times of posting. If you use autoposting services, you can set the time of content publication in advance, and then it will be posted without your participation at all. In both cases, the time you choose should be justified, if you want to promote yourself effectively in Instagram.
P.S. Some services themselves analyze audience engagement and recommend the best time to post based on that data.
What is the best time to post, storis and rils on Instagram
You can find articles on various online resources that say the exact times and days to post content to Instagram. You can close these articles because there is simply no universal posting time. For the same reason, it’s useless to read marketing research on posting times, like the ones done by Sprout Social, Later, Blog2Social, and Hootsuit.
First, the activity time of the studied CA can be different from the activity time of yours. Secondly, there are many factors influencing your audience’s activity, and all these studies quickly become irrelevant.
It’s better to determine a good time specifically for your audience on your own. How exactly:
1. analyze Instagram account statistics
The statistics show the days and hours of audience activity. This information will help you choose a good time to publish. You must have a business account to view the statistics.
- To see post stats, click on the “Statistics” button on your profile page or through the menu call (3 horizontal bars).
- In the upper left corner, you can set for which period to display statistics. The minimum is 7 days, the maximum is 90 days.
- Click on the item “Total subscribers.”
- Scroll to the bottom to the item “Periods of greatest activity. Here you can see information by day and hour.
- If you click on the bars of the graph, you’ll see the number of followers active on those days and hours. In this example, you can see that on Wednesdays, the most followers interacted with the account between 6 and 9 p.m.
- If you look at the days, you can see that the activity was about the same whether it was weekdays or weekends.
*There is no reason to look at statistics by content type separately, because it doesn’t show activity time – only the number of views, average retention percentage (if it’s a video) and other interactions. These statistics are more useful for learning how to create engaging content.
2. Use services.
Services can provide more advanced statistics. For example, standard Instagram stats only show the 8 most active hours. To see activity broken down by 24 hours – you’ll need services. Also, as mentioned above, many services analyze the activity themselves and give recommendations on the timing of posting.
There are no (or very few) separate services and programs to analyze posting times – usually, this is one of the functions of the complex program. For example, for autoposting or analysis of competitors.
What services to use to select the best time for posting to Instagram:
- Pur Ninja;
3. Ask your audience
You can ask your audience directly – what times and days they most often view your content. To do this, you can place a storis with a question sticker, through which subscribers will send their answers. The responses you get will need to be analyzed separately.
You can also create a stopis with a survey, but here you’re already limiting subscribers within a given range of time or days.
4. Conduct A/B Testing
Not the most reliable way, but nevertheless it can give additional information. Over a reporting period (such as a month), publish content at different times and try to calculate when your audience is more active. The result may be different from the official statistics.
What to pay attention to when choosing a time for posting to Instagram
When analyzing statistics and choosing a good time to post, you need to take into account the following points:
Region, time zone of subscribers. If the subscribers’ time zone is different from yours, you need to adjust to their time. For example, the subscribers are active at night, while it’s daytime for them. In this case, it’s better to use autoposting services to avoid waking up every time you want to post or post a storis.
*You’ll see the region in the same place you’ve used for subscriber activity times.
. Content type does not influence much on posting time, but there are a couple of nuances:
– To determine the time for posts, it is sufficient to look at the statistics of subscribers’ activity;
– If you plan time for stories, you should take into account that it will disappear in 24 hours. So you need to post stories on the days of highest activity. For example, your audience is least active on Monday, and Friday is the most active day. Posting stories on Monday is less effective than on Friday. If you have a lot of content, you can post on Monday and Friday. If the storis will be added to the actual or you want to increase the chances of the story getting into recommendations or the top, then the time is important only in the context of getting more interactions in the first hours;
– For Reels, posting time is also important in the context of getting first interactions. Reels have their own recommendation feed, so the more interactions a video gets in the first hours of placement, the higher the chances of getting into that feed and gaining additional coverage.
*The time of placement is not the only or the most important factor in getting into Reels’ recommendations.
– There’s a myth that Instagram shows videos higher than posts in the feed, but Instagram itself refuted this in the @creators account (in one of the posts).
What time to post on Instagram
Season, holidays. During the holidays or vacation season, standard activity times can vary. For example, if you usually have peak activity on Fridays, you should not expect the same surge if Christmas or New Year falls on a Friday.
Infotainment. If your content often relies on infotrends, you need to respond quickly, despite the standard times of audience activity. For example, you’re a blogger and you have a profile on the topic of show business. If you wait a few days after an event just for audience activity time, you’ll be outpaced by other bloggers who react instantly.
Global changes in the world. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens nonetheless. Take the example of the Covid pandemic. Because of frequent lockdowns, people moving to remote work, users started spending more time on social networks, and all the activity metrics shifted.
Important: You have to understand that activity times can change all the time. Accordingly, if you focus on this metric, you will have to analyze it on a regular basis. It is also worth keeping track of changes in Instagram’s algorithms.
How to increase the number of interactions with content at the right time
If you want to get as many views, reposts, comments as possible in the first hours after posting, you can take additional steps:
– Publish more storis. They are posted above the main feed of posts, so they don’t compete for space in that feed. They compete only for space in the inline of all the stories. This makes it easier to get interactions on storis than on posts.
– Make post announcements. Not all the time, but sometimes it gets results. For example, you’re planning an important post. You can place storis with the date and time of publication of the future post – the audience will wait for it in advance by that time.
– Repost to other sites. If you have accounts in other social networks, video hosting sites, or have your own site – you can repost content there to draw traffic from these sites.
P.S. You should not use scams to increase your interaction with content in the first hours. Instagram takes into account the organic reach, and every year, it’s quicker to define scoops. Moreover, they have a short-term effect, which is bad for the statistics as a whole.
Do not get hung up solely on the timing of posting, still, the content is much more important. If you create unique quality content or attract subscribers with your charisma – they will come to your profile regardless of the time of posting and wait for every new publication.