The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2019

Maximize your exposure and engagement by posting at these times

An image of a person looking at an Instagram photo post on a smartphone.

Photo from Unsplash

Is there really a best time of the day to post on Instagram so your photos and videos get more views, likes, and comments? Figuring this out can be a little bit tricky.

First of all, since Instagram is primarily accessed via a mobile device, users can take a quick glance at their Instagram feed anytime they want from almost anywhere. Posting, viewing, and interaction habits tend to be quite different on Instagram compared to other social networks, making it slightly harder to pinpoint when users are most active.

Oh, and there's one other huge thing that Instagram recently introduced.

The Instagram Algorithm and What It Means for the Best Time to Post

Remember back when Instagram posts were shown in chronological order? That's certainly not the case anymore.

Instagram revealed the secrets behind its algorithm in a June 2018 presentation and emphasized that the top three factors that influence how a post shows up in a user's feed include:

  1. Interest: Posts featuring content a user has previously shown interest will appear more often at the top of the feed.
  2. Recency: More recent posts get priority ranking than posts that are days or weeks old.
  3. Relationship: Posts from friends, family members and users with higher overall past interactions will show up closer to the top of the feed.

Recency is clearly the factor you'll want to pay attention to if you're experimenting with when to post. If recency is important, then you'll want to consider the following:

  • Post more frequently rather than less frequently. More frequent posting means more recently shown posts.
  • Post specifically at peak engagement times of the day or week. If your post was recently made when users are typically more active, it's more likely it'll be seen.

An update in early 2019 helped clear up concerns about the Instagram algorithm limiting posts being seen by followers. In a tweet, the official Instagram account stated:

"What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc."

Instagram also pointed out that posts are never hidden from users. As long as users keep scrolling, they will see all posts from the users they're following.

What the Most Recent Research Tells Us About When to Post on Instagram

According to an updated 2019 report from SproutSocial, the best times to post on Instagram are:

  • Wednesday at 11:00 a.m.
  • Friday between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.

Take a look at SproutSocial's engagement graph below to get a visual feel for how engagement fluctuates throughout certain days of the week and between certain times:

SproutSocial's graph of Instagram Global Engagement.
SproutSocial

Overall engagement is remains highest from Tuesday through Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Weekends also see higher engagement during the day until they begin to taper off around 1:00 or 2:00 p.m.

Sunday receives the lowest amount of engagement of all weekdays. Engagement is also lowest on a daily basis between the hours of 11:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

The best day of the week to post on Instagram is Thursday while Sunday sees the least engagement.

Instagram scheduling tool Later analyzed 12 million Instagram posts that were posted from all over the world from accounts with both small and large followings. From their findings, they determined the top three times of every weekday to post to Instagram (in Eastern Standard Time).

Later's Global Best Times to Post on Instagram graph.
 Later

Monday: 6:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 10:00 pm.

Tuesday: 2:00 a.m., 4:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m.

Wednesday: 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 11:00 p.m.

Thursday: 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.

Friday: 5:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m.

Saturday: 11:00 a.m, 7:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m.

Sunday: 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m.

Keep in mind that the above time slots only show the top three time slots for each day—not taking into account which days are best for posting.

Looking back at SproutSocial's data, it's clear that Wednesday is the best day out of the whole week to post (formerly Thursday in 2018).

Time Slots to Try for Yourself

Despite all these different findings, you won't know exactly what works best until you start experimenting and keeping track of engagement results. Again, it all depends on your target audience and how you're using Instagram to connect with your followers.

You can start by experimenting with the following time slots in your time zone for posting on Instagram:

  • 5:00 a.m. This time showed surprisingly good results in SproutSocial's report, likely because posts this early catch that early morning crowd who check their phone right when they get up.
  • 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Morning hours are a good time to post because everyone is just waking up. Most people can't resist checking their phones to see what they missed while they were asleep. After 9:00 a.m., however, you may see a bit of a drop in engagement due to regular work and school hours.
  • 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Around the lunch hour is when people get a break to do what they want; that often includes checking social media. 
  • 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Everyone just wants to go home from work or school already. They're probably checking their phones to help pass the time.
  • 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. After school and work, people get the chance to relax. People may start checking their phones while they sit in transit or in front of the TV just before dinnertime. Just be aware that you may be better off posting earlier around 5:00 p.m. or later at 7:00 p.m. rather than right in the middle (6:00 p.m.) when a lot of people are commuting home from work or eating dinner.

Instagram Posting Factors to Consider

The latest Instagram algorithm prioritizes new posts over older posts, meaning that you need to know when most of your followers are using the app so you can post during those time slots.

To figure out your own best time to post on Instagram, make sure you take a look at these major things that can either make or break the engagement you get out of your posts.

Your target follower demographics: Adults who work the typical 9-to-5 job might be more likely to look at Instagram in the morning whereas college kids who stay out late and pull all-nighters might be slightly more active on Instagram during those off hours. Identifying your target audience can be a first step toward figuring out what time of day they like to check Instagram.

Time zone differences: If you've got followers or a target audience from all over the world, then posting at specific times of day may not get you the same results as if you had followers who mostly all live around the same time zone. For example, if most of your followers are from North America living in the typical North American time zones of Pacific (PST), Mountain (MST), Central (CST), and Eastern (EST), you could start experimenting with starting to post on Instagram around 7 a.m. EST and stopping around 9 p.m. PST (or 12 a.m. EST).

Engagement patterns you've noticed: Make sure you pay close attention to any increases in interaction when you post at certain times of day. No matter what the research says or what the experts tell you about optimal times and days to post, what ultimately matters is the behavior of your own followers.

Your business profile insights: If you have a business profile, you'll have access to analytics on impressions, reach, website clicks, profile views, followers post engagement, stories and more. This can provide you with valuable hints and information about what times are optimal to post for your audience.

A good Instagram scheduling tool: Instead of trying to remember to post at manually specific times, consider using a social media management tool like Buffer to schedule your posts all at once.