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The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2021, According to 12 Million Posts

When is the best time to post on Instagram?

The short answer: it depends on where your followers are located!

Later recently analyzed 12 million Instagram posts and found that the best overall time to post on Instagram is between 9am and 11am EST.

But that may not be the best time to post for your business. 

Every Instagram account has a unique audience with followers located across different cities, countries, and time zones — so it’s important to find your personalized best time to post on Instagram.

Below, we explain how to find your best time to post on Instagram, plus we break down the best times for each day of the week:

best time to post on instagram

When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?

To find the best time to post on Instagram in 2021, we analyzed 12 million global Instagram posts from accounts with 100 followers to 1 million+ followers.

Here are the top 3 global best times to post on Instagram for each day of the week, represented in Eastern Standard Time:

best time to post on instagram

Here’s a breakdown of our findings for quick reference:

  • Monday: 6am, 10am, and 10pm EST
  • Tuesday: 2am, 4am, and  9am EST
  • Wednesday: 7am, 8am, and 11pm EST
  • Thursday: 9am, 12pm, and 7pm EST
  • Friday: 5am, 1pm, and 3pm EST
  • Saturday: 11am, 7pm, and 8pm EST
  • Sunday: 7am, 8am, and 4pm EST

While these are the best times to post on average, if you want to get the most engagement, it’s best to find your personalized best times based on your unique audience. 

Timeliness has always been an important factor on Instagram, but it’s even more important with the new Instagram algorithm

Since Instagram is now prioritizing “new” content on people’s feeds, your best shot at getting your content in front of your followers is by posting when most of them are online and scrolling the app.

By doing this, you can actually hack the algorithm to increase your reach and get more likes and followers!

Want to learn more about finding your best time to post on Instagram? Check out this quick video guide:

How to Find Your Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2021:

Here are a few tools and features that can help you nail down your personal best times to post on Instagram:

  • Later’s Best Time to Post feature automatically calculates your top 7 posting times on Instagram so you can schedule in batches and publish without a hitch
  • Instagram Insights can be used to find your top time zones and see when the majority of your followers are online
  • Spreadsheets can help you keep track of your posting experiments and measure your progress

If you want to skip the experiments and get right to the good data, an Instagram marketing platform like Later can do the work for you!

Like we just mentioned, Later’s Best Time to Post feature automatically calculates your 7 top posting times based on your best-performing posts from the recent month:

If you’re on one of Later’s business plans, your best times to post will be automatically highlighted in your weekly content calendar, making it super easy to schedule your Instagram posts when your audience is most active.

 

Other Ways to Calculate Your Best Time to Post on Instagram

Using Later’s Best Time to Post feature is the easiest way to calculate your optimal posting times, but it isn’t the only way. Below, we highlight a few other options:

Option #1: Find Your Top Time Zones & See When Your Followers Are Online

When it comes to the best time to post on Instagram, it’s essential to think about the time zones of your Instagram followers.

The best thing you can do to find your optimal posting time for Instagram is to research your audience using Instagram’s native analytics tool, Instagram Insights.

instagram insights

Instagram Insights gives you everything you could ask for: you can see where your followers are located, their gender, their age, and, most importantly, when they’re most active on Instagram.

Just keep in mind that in order to access Insights, you’ll need to set up an Instagram business profile or an Instagram creator profile.

One of the added benefits of switching to a creator profile is that you also get access to the Instagram Creator Studio dashboard, which is packed with valuable audience insights, including advanced data for when your followers are online.

best time to post on instagram: creator studio

Creator profiles also get access to growth insights and discovery data:

best time to post on instagram: creator studio

If you’re on one of Later’s paid plans, you can also track key insights about your followers directly in your Later dashboard with Later’s Instagram Analytics

With Later’s Instagram analytics, you can track key insights about your followers, including their age, gender, location, languages, and more.

best time to post on instagram: later instagram analytics

These kinds of metrics are perfect for fine-tuning your content strategy!

For example, you can use your audience data to pinpoint your top time zones and find out when your followers are most active on Instagram right from your desktop.

You can also use Later’s Instagram audience analytics to track when your audience is most active on Instagram and then use that data to optimize your posting times.

best time to post on instagram

Once you have a clear understanding of your best times and days to post on Instagram, you can easily schedule your posts at those times!

 

Option #2: Experiment with Posting Times and Measure Your Progress

If you’d rather crunch the numbers yourself, you can create a spreadsheet to track how much engagement you receive when you post at different times on different days.

Start by picking five different times throughout the week.

For example, if you notice that your followers are most active between 5pm and 9pm EST, schedule your posts to appear at 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9pm.

In your spreadsheet, track how many likes and comments each post receives, along with the date and time that you posted them.

best time to post: experiment

The following week, switch the timing of your posts for each day. For example, if you posted at 5pm on Monday in week 1, post at 6pm during week 2.

best time to post: experiment

It might take a few weeks, but you can use this information to help you choose the best days to share to specific networks based on your own audience, along with the times that work best for getting traffic on those specific days.

best time to post: experiment

Other Factors to Consider:

Different audiences will, of course, be active at different times, so there’s no hard-and-fast rule about the best time to post on Instagram. But there are some general rules you should consider:

#1: The Instagram Algorithm Factors in Timeliness

As we mentioned a little earlier, Instagram’s algorithm gives more weight to the time that something is posted. 

So does this mean the chronological feed is back? Not exactly. 

Instagram adjusted their current algorithm so that, among other things, very old content doesn’t constantly get bumped up in people’s feeds. Basically, it gives priority to newer content.

best time to post on instagram reels

There are a number of factors that influence the Instagram algorithm, including how much engagement a post gets and how long people spend viewing a post.

With the recent change, Instagram has essentially shifted the importance (or weight) of these factors so that the time that people post has more influence on what appears on your feed.

#2: Scheduling Your Posts Can Get You More Engagement

We’ve already covered this to an extent — if you post when your audience is most active on Instagram, you’re more likely to drive engagement on that post. But did you know that Instagram engagement has a compounding effect? 

When a post gets a lot of likes, comments, and saves, that engagement will translate into Instagram bumping your post higher up on users’ feeds and potentially getting a spot on the Instagram Explore page, which, in turn, could result in even more engagement on your post. 

It’s a cyclical process: higher engagement leads to more visibility, which leads to higher engagement, which leads to more visibility. But it all starts with when you post on Instagram. 

#3: Post for Your Most Active Time Zone(s)

If your primary audience lives in a specific region, like California, you should be posting with the Pacific Standard Time (PST) time zone in mind. Likewise, if the majority of your followers are located in New York City, you should be posting in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

But what if your followers are scattered around the world? This is where experimentation comes in handy!

Also, keep in mind that if you have followers in both North America and the UK, you may find that posting at “odd” times in your time zone (like midnight PST) performs well for you because it’s 8am in London, England.

Want a quick guide for the best times to post globally? Later teamed up with influencer marketing platform Fohr to analyze influencers’ posting habits and trends for the future.

After analyzing thousands of influencers and their posts, they discovered these core posting times around the world:

when is the best time to post on instagram

Of course, you’ll still need to find your personalized posting time, but can use their findings as a starting point!

#4: Finding Your Best Time to Post Also Applies to IGTV and Instagram Reels

IGTV and Instagram Reels are also affected by the Instagram algorithm, so it’s a good idea to post these videos at the best time too! 

best time to post on Instagram reels

Because Instagram Stories live for a 24-hour period, it isn’t quite as important to post your stories during your “optimal” times – although it doesn’t hurt!

#5: Post More During Off-Work Hours Instead of During the Day:

Generally, the best times to post on Instagram are lunchtime (11am-1pm) and evenings (7-9pm).

Instead of posting while you’re at your desk, schedule Instagram posts during the workday so you don’t have to worry about it during your free time!

#6: Save Your Important Posts for Weekdays:

The differences are slight, but average Instagram engagement does shift depending on the day.

For example, B2B companies may get more engagement during the week while their audience is at work, whereas bloggers may get more engagement on the weekends when their audience is more likely to have time to read their posts.

How to Schedule for Your Best Time to Post on Instagram

Now that you know when your Instagram audience is most active, and how to drive the most engagement based on your audience’s activity, the last step is to schedule your Instagram posts for your personalized best times to post on Instagram.

There are many reasons why you should be scheduling Instagram posts in 2021, but one of the top reasons is that you’ll be able to consistently have content going out at your best times to post on Instagram.

A great way to ensure that you are consistently posting when your audience is most active is to use Later’s Quick Schedule tool.

With Quick Schedule, you can create your own Instagram queue based on your best times to post.

You just have to select your posting times once, and then you can easily save yourself time by dragging and dropping posts on to your calendar, which will then automatically be scheduled for your best times.


 

Instagram is an incredible channel for businesses to achieve their marketing goals, but in 2021, it isn’t enough to just post content whenever you feel like it anymore.

By planning and scheduling your posts in advance for the best time to post on Instagram, you can boost your engagement, drive traffic, and gain new followers and customers!

Let the Later algorithm find the best days and times to post to Instagram for your audience!

 

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Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.

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