Instagram

The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2021, According to 35 Million Posts


By Jillian Warren

Published August 5, 2021

10 minute read

When is the best time to post on Instagram? Later analyzed over 35M feed posts (excluding Reels and IGTV) to find the answer!

Share

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

When is the best time to post on Instagram?

Later analyzed over 35M feed posts (excluding Reels and IGTV) to find the answer.

The result? We discovered the average best time to post on Instagram for each day of the week — and for several key locations!

Plus, we’re sharing how you can find your unique best time to post for your account — so you reach your audience when they’re most active.

When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?

The best time to post on Instagram (in local time) is 6AM, according to Later’s analysis of 35M global Instagram posts.

The best days to post on Instagram are Saturday and Sunday – with the highest average engagement occurring for posts published on Sunday at 6AM.

On the flipside, posts published on Wednesday between 10AM – 4PM and Thursday 9PM – 11PM receive the lowest engagement rates on average, making them the worst days to post on Instagram.

The Best Time to Post on Instagram Each Day

The best times to post on Instagram per day, according to 35M global Instagram posts, are:

  • Monday: 5AM

  • Tuesday: 6AM

  • Wednesday: 6AM

  • Thursday: 5AM

  • Friday: 6AM

  • Saturday: 6AM

  • Sunday: 6AM

The Worst Time to Post on Instagram Each Day

The worst times to post on Instagram per day, according to 35M global Instagram posts, are:

  • Monday: 2PM

  • Tuesday: 1PM

  • Wednesday: 10AM

  • Thursday: 11PM

  • Friday: 9AM

  • Saturday: 8PM

  • Sunday: 4PM

So… What Does This Tell Us?

As a team, we were quite surprised to see the best times to post were so early in the day. We’ve been studying the best times to post on Instagram since 2018, and this year, we saw a serious shift in the data!

Historically, we believed that posting when your audience was most active was the most effective strategy — and while this does appear to have a positive correlation, it’s not the only factor that impacts engagement.

We know that Instagram’s algorithm takes timeliness into account, but perhaps not as much as it once did. We also know that Instagram recently confirmed that the number of interactions in the first 30 minutes does not determine a post’s ranking in the Home Feed.

So the pressure of having your posts go live the moment your audience is most active has been lifted. Instead, an “early to rise, early to post” engagement strategy came to light.

By posting earlier in the day, accounts benefit from less competition (globally, most posts are shared between 9 AM-1 PM each day), while also tapping into traffic from users during their first scroll of the day — even if that’s a few hours after the post was shared.

By being one of the first to post each day, you’re giving your content the best chance of being seen by your audience, regardless of when they are personally most active on the app.

Instagram itself (and the way we use and interact with content on the app) has changed significantly over the last 12 months, so it’s a good time to adjust your posting strategy.

Schedule your Instagram posts to publish at peak times automatically with Later, for free! No early morning logins required!

The Best Time to Post on Instagram by Location

Another factor that can have an impact on the average best time to post on Instagram is location.

Different regions have different audience behaviors, and can be heavily impacted by time zone overlaps.

For example, New York is 3 hours ahead of California — but accounts based in New York will likely still have followers spread across both regions.

Here are the best times to post in local times across different time zones:

  • US and Canada (Western): 12AM-6AM

  • US and Canada (Central): 6AM-8AM

  • US and Canada (Eastern): 4AM-9AM

  • South America: 4AM

  • UK: 4AM-6AM

  • Europe (Western): 6-8PM

  • Europe (Eastern): 5AM-7AM

  • Africa: 6AM

  • South Asia and Middle East: 3AM

  • East Asia and Southeast Asia: 11PM-4AM

  • Australasia: 11PM – 2AM

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

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

Looking for more tips on how to hack the elusive Instagram algorithm? Check out our recent blog post: 8 Ways to Cheat the Instagram Algorithm.

How to Find Your Unique Best Time to Post on Instagram

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

  • Later’s Best Time to Post feature automatically calculates your top 7 posting times on Instagram based on your historical engagement activity.

  • Instagram Insights can be used to find when the majority of your followers are located and when they are most active. This isn’t quite as precise as using Later’s Best Time to Post algorithm, but can be a great starting point.

  • Manually track when you post on Instagram and how your posts perform over time using a spreadsheet.

#1: Discover Your Best Time to Post With Later’s Best Time to Post Feature

If you want to skip the experiments and get right to the good data, Later does all the hard work for you!

Like we 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:

Later’s Best Time to Post feature is available on all paid plans. Upgrade now to find the best days and times to post on Instagram for maximum engagement.

#2: Use Instagram’s Built-in Analytics to Understand Your Audience

Using Later’s Best Time to Post feature is the most accurate way to discover your optimal posting times based on actual performance data — but you can also use Instagram’s native insights to understand where the majority of your audience is located and when they are most active.

These data points can be super valuable indicators for when your best times to post might be.

For example, if the majority of your audience is in New York — you might want to schedule your posts for 6AM EST.

In order to access Insights, you’ll need to set up an Instagram business profile or an Instagram creator profile. You can also track key insights about your followers directly in your Later dashboard with Later’s Instagram Analytics.

Here, you can track similar insights about your followers, including their age, gender, location, languages, and more.

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

#3: Use a Spreadsheet to Manually Track Your Best Times to Post

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.

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

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.

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.

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

How to Capitalize on Your Best Time to Post on Instagram

Once you’ve discovered your unique best time to post, you can adjust your content strategy to capitalize on it.

Here are our top tips to keep in mind:

Tip #1: Schedule Your Posts for Prime Times

Scheduling your posts to be aligned with either our global best times to post data, or your personalized best times to post is your best bet for increasing your posts’ engagement and reach.

Plus, 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.

Tip #2: Prioritize Your Posts

Once you know your best times to post on Instagram, you can organize your posting strategy with them in mind.

For example, you might notice that you have lower engagement during the weekend.

You’ll still want to show up and share content with your community, but you could save your most important posts for another day.

For the best results, save your biggest messages for the top engagement slots.

Tip #3: Don’t Forget Reels and IGTV Videos

We’ve mainly focused on feed posts in this blog so far, but the same rules apply to Instagram Reels and IGTV videos.

Publish all your content to tap into peak activity zones to give it the best chance of success.

The only slight exception to this rule is Instagram Stories, which are less time-bound due to their 24-hour lifespan. However, it still helps to post them when your audience is active and engaged.

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 scheduling Instagram posts in 2021, but the most important?

Consistency. Scheduling content in advance ensures that you’re posting at the optimal times on Instagram.

A great way to achieve this is by using 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 drag and drop posts onto your calendar, which will then be automatically scheduled. Easy, right?

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.

By leveraging your best time to post on Instagram and scheduling in advance, you can boost engagement, gain new followers, and even drive traffic!

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

*Study based on analysis of 35.7M Instagram feed posts published via Later between 2019-2021. Excludes Reels and IGTV posts. Data by Annie Yao.

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

RELATED ARTICLES

12 min read

8 Reasons to Schedule Instagram Posts + Stories in 2021

By Nikki Canning

6 min read

This Is How Often You Should Post on Instagram According to 81M Posts

By Jillian Warren

19 min read

14 New Ways to Get More Instagram Followers in 2021

By Jessica Worb