When’s the best time to post on Instagram to make sure a post gets seen?
And what about the best day of the week to get the most likes? The most comments?
We crunched the numbers to find out the universal best time to post on Instagram. Of course, all businesses and audiences are different, so we’ll also help you calculate your brand’s unique best times to post.
…Or! If you don’t feel like reading, you can watch our video for the answer and the tips.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.
Is there a best time to post on Instagram?
Each brand has a slightly different sweet spot for posting on Instagram. That’s because every brand on social media caters to a unique audience with unique behavior patterns.
But don’t give up hope! There are certain best practices that social media marketers can follow to yield great results across the board.
The Instagram algorithm prioritizes recency, so posting when your followers are online is key. This means that, if all else is equal, a newer post will show up higher on the newsfeed than an older one.
Recency is honestly one of the quickest, easiest wins when it comes to optimizing a post for success. (Though we have plenty more tips on getting free Instagram likes if you’re interested).
But beyond that, it’s also important to be clear on your goals for your Instagram marketing strategy. Do you have specific targets around building awareness, higher engagement, or driving traffic? What does success look like to you, and when have your posts achieved that success in the past? Your past wins are a key guideline for when you should be posting overall.
To find these results, we analyzed data from over 30,000 Instagram posts from businesses of all sizes. Then, we consulted with our own social team for insights gained from posting to an audience of 170k followers.
(Drum roll, please…)
The universal best time to post on Instagram is 11 AM on Wednesdays.
We found that Instagram users are the most likely to interact with content during work hours mid-day and mid-week. And that makes sense — it is a perfect time to take a break from work or school and do some scrolling. (And liking. And commenting.)
Weekends are typically the worst days to post and don’t tend to have much engagement. We suspect that’s because people are out and about in the real world instead of scrolling Instagram.
Planning on posting more than once a week? Here’s a breakdown of the best times to post on Instagram for each day of the week.
(Oh, and don’t forget: the top times shown below are recorded in US Pacific Time)
|Day of the Week||Time|
If you’re just starting off on Instagram and don’t have a lot of past data or audience insights to work with, try posting around these peak times.
As your account grows, we recommend tweaking your posting schedule to fit your specific audience’s activity patterns.
Best time to post on Instagram on Monday
The best time to post on Instagram on Monday is 12:00 PM. It seems most Instagrammers may like to start their week off strong at work. By lunchtime, they’re looking to their Instagram feeds for a break.
Best time to post on Instagram on Tuesday
The best time to post on Instagram on Tuesday is 9:00 AM. Engagement is also strong earlier in the morning, between 8-10 AM, but peaks around 9:00 AM.
Best time to post on Instagram on Wednesday
The best time to post on Instagram on Wednesday is 11:00 AM. Wednesday is also the day that accounts seem to get the highest engagement overall.
Best time to post on Instagram on Thursday
The best time to post on Instagram on Thursday is 12:00 PM. In general, the 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM stretch is good for high engagement on any weekday.
Best time to post on Instagram on Friday
2:00 PM is the best time to post on Instagram on Friday. Friday engagement is consistent throughout the morning and lunch hour, from 7 AM to 2:00 PM.
Best time to post on Instagram on Saturday
9:00 AM is the best time to post on Instagram on Saturday. Grab those eyeballs before people get into their offline weekend plans!
Best time to post on Instagram on Sunday
The best time to post on Instagram on Sunday is 7:00 PM. Engagement on Sundays is pretty consistent throughout the afternoon and evening. It remains steady from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Best time to post Reels on Instagram
If you’re looking to grow your Instagram followers and engagement, posting Reels at any time of day is a no-brainer. Our data shows that Reels can get up to 300% more engagement than regular Instagram videos.
At Hootsuite, we’ve been posting Reels to our Instagram audience of 170k followers for over two years. Over that time, we’ve learned that the best time to post Reels is 9 AM and 12 PM, Monday to Thursday.
How we found the best times to post on Instagram for our account
Here’s how we go about finding Hootsuite’s perfect Instagram posting times.
Brayden Cohen, Hootsuite’s Social Marketing and Employee Advocacy Strategist, told us:
“Typically, we like to post early in the morning and mid-afternoon. For Instagram, that means we try to post anytime between 8 AM – 12 PM PST or 4-5 PM PST on weekdays.”
Our Instagram posts — for Hootsuite’s North American B2B audience — do best when we hit the early morning or lunch-time hours for our Pacific time zone audience and the sitting-down-to-work or logging-off hours in the Eastern time zone.
(Remember, that’s just what works for us. Prime time for businesses in different industries and different time zones may be very different.)
Using the activity heatmap provided in Hootsuite Analytics, it’s easy to see when Hootsuite’s Instagram audience is online:
Source: Hootsuite Analytics
Cohen and the social team also use the tools in Hootsuite Impact to review post performance. “The data there tells us if we should continue focusing on the same strategy or pivot anything going forward.”
Overall, Cohen says that deciding when to post on Instagram goes something like this:
“We use past performance as the guiding star and then review when the audience is online as a second opinion. If our content isn’t performing well after that, we’ll test different times to see if that changes the post performance.”
In the end, an Instagram content calendar should be as data-driven as the rest of your marketing strategy.
Tips for finding your best time to post on Instagram today
Review your top-performing posts
First, consider what kind of performance you’re aiming for: brand awareness or engagement. Your approach to scheduling your Instagram posts might vary depending on your goals.
In the past, which of your posts have earned high impressions? When did you post them? And are these posts different from the ones earning likes? What do the numbers tell you about your most compelling content?
Your Instagram insights and analytics are your best source of truth here. Not all analytics tools are born equal, though. Some social media management tools can help you avoid the heavy data crunching.
Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature suggests the best times and days of the week to post to Instagram based on your historical performance. It analyzes your social media posts from the past 30 days, then calculates the average impressions or engagement rate by day and hour. Then, you can select optimal time slots for your account based on your performance goals.
Check when your audience is most active online
Next, look at your analytics to determine when your followers are scrolling their feed.
As marketers, we need to know our audiences. If you’re targeting college sports fans on Instagram, their social media usage might be wildly different from tech executives waking up at 4 AM.
Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature will break down this information automatically into a heatmap (see above). It also helps you experiment by predicting specific time slots when your Instagram followers are online.
If you want to test new tactics, it will also suggest good time slots you haven’t used in the last 30 days.
Consider when your competitors are posting
Depending on your industry, your competitors may be doing some of the same calculations and experiments that you are. Social listening (or even a full social competitive analysis) can help you keep an eye on what’s working for others.
Pro Tip: Many brands post on the hour mark. Avoid the competition by posting a few minutes before or after the :00.
Post in your audience’s time zone
If you have a global audience or are based outside of the “usual” time zones, your prime time to post may well turn out to be 3 AM.
Rather than setting some truly cruel alarms, may we suggest automating your Instagram posts? An Instagram scheduler can help you make sure your posts are going up at the right time, day in and day out.
Here’s a quick overview of how to schedule posts using Hootsuite’s Instagram scheduling feature:
Monitor and adjust
Yes, optimizing your Instagram posts for success takes a lot of work — it’s a lot more than just choosing the right filter.
But taking time to review the numbers is actually one of the easiest ways to improve your reach. (Easier than leveling up your videography or writing skills, anyway. We’d recommend doing that too, though!)
According to Brayden Cohen from Hootsuite’s Instagram team: “We look at our top-performing posts weekly to see if there are any insights that will help us rework our social media strategy or posting cadence. But we generally only change the times we post once a quarter, if that.”
Cohen noted that, for example, with the pandemic’s effect on work schedules in 2020, many people spent less time commuting or enjoying a traditional lunch break. As a result, B2B audiences began spending more time on their phones, and Instagram usage started to spread out over the day.
The world changes and audience habits change with it. Set a reminder in your calendar to review your results and make adjustments on a regular basis.
Show up consistently over the long term
It’s important to be systematic about your posting to reap the full rewards of all this knowledge about your target audience. Sure, you may not see a jaw-dropping bump just by posting a few hours earlier than usual every now and then. Using the data consistently will move the needle over time, though.
When your audience gets in the habit of seeing your brand pop up on their feed, they enjoy your content, and they engage with it. Maintaining your presence on Instagram helps build credibility, trust, and more meaningful relationships with your audience.
At the end of the day, when you have an authentic connection with your audience, Instagram’s algorithm notices, and so does your bottom line.
Manage your Instagram presence alongside your other social channels and save time using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish posts, engage the audience, and measure performance. Try it free today.
Take the guesswork out of when to post on social media using Hootsuite’s Best Time to Publish feature.