For anyone using Instagram as a business or personal brand, it's essential to optimise your posts as much as possible. Understanding the Instagram app's algorithm and making sure your posts get the most views possible is paramount to achieving engagement with your followers.
The reality, however, is that there are billions of users on Instagram and new things are being posted all the time, although of course we only get to see a very small percentage of all of them, there is a lot of competition between posts, stories, reels and videos to get your attention.
Among the various criteria the algorithm uses to organise the order of posts, timing is one of the most basic and easy to understand. Although other factors such as the number of interactions or followers of the account posting interfere, a more recent post will generally appear before a preceding one. This shows that the time of day we post is decisive in determining the order in which our post appears in people's feeds, or our stories icon in the top bar of the app.
In other words, if we want our posts to reach as many people as possible, we will have to pay close attention to the time of day for two reasons: the first, as we have already mentioned, is because the algorithm gives priority to the most recent posts; the second is because there are peak times when the most users connect to the application. If we combine these two variables, the best thing to do is to post at these times, so that our posts are among the first at the time when the most people are connected and not when there is almost no traffic on the application.
how to determine the best time to post?
The reality is that there is no absolute rule, only statistical studies that reveal patterns of behaviour and user behaviour.
First of all, you should do an analysis of your insights long before acting on blind faith in a global study. Publish posts and stories with similar content at different times for a few weeks and create a report of the results through the insights that the application provides. What kind of posts are most liked? Which ones get more likes and interactions? Which ones get more views?
Once you cross all these results, you will get some conclusions about the specific behaviour of your followers: at what time they are more connected or when they are more interactive. This difference is fundamental and can make the difference between achieving engagement and going unnoticed. We must choose the time of more views, although what is really important is the time when users interact with our content. The interaction between accounts is the bait that feeds the algorithm and, the more you interact with your users, the more it will benefit you. Therefore, estimate an average with your own statistics and decide when it is more appropriate to publish, without your profile becoming an inflexible schedule.
However, the reality is that general studies come to general conclusions that apply to almost everyone, and your statistics on times, views and interactions are probably not very different from these global studies.
Best times globally and in Europe
A study by Later, the social media content scheduling tool, has recently updated its study on what is the best time to post on Instagram and the results are staggering.
The study was conducted on 35 million excludedposts, reels and IGTVs, analysing interactions and views between 2019 and 2021. The results have clarified that, globally, the best and worst times to post are, respectively:
- Monday: best time 5AM; worst time 2PM
- Tuesday: best time 6AM; worst time 1 PM
- Wednesday: best time 6AM; worst time 10 AM
- Thursday: best time 5 AM; worst time 11 PM
- Friday: best time 6 AM; worst time 9 PM
- Saturday: best time 6 AM; worst time 8 PM
- Sunday: best time 6 AM; worst time 4 PM
Perhaps these times in Spain are a little surprising, but as we said, they are global averages that include the whole world, with much earlier times than we are used to. Although the study itself acknowledged that these are times of low traffic in the application and that what this favours is that, with less traffic, your post gets more attention.
Best times to post during the week at a global level
It has also been concluded that the best days to post are Saturdays and Sundays, holidays in most of the world, and the worst are Wednesdays between 10 AM and 4 PM and Thursdays between 9 and 11 PM.
But if we move the study to the local level we get a radically different result. The most specific approximation is the "Western Europe" location, which includes Spain. In this case the best time to publish is between 6 PM and 8 PM, a result that is more in line with the times we are used to. It is a time when almost everyone has finished their working day and is returning from work or resting, which favours opening the application.
Of course, none of this is an absolute dogma. Your best time to post will always be the time that your own insights show and this will depend primarily on what your main target is (young people have later hours than adults), your time zone and the type and format of content you post.