What's the Best Time of Day to Tweet on Twitter?

Twitter data reveals when you can expect to get the most exposure

Photo © Thanasak Wanichpan / Getty Images

If you manage a Twitter account for a website, a business, or perhaps even just for personal reasons, you need to know whether your followers are actually seeing and engaging with you. Knowing the best time of day to tweet is essential if you want to make the most out of your social media presence and maximize engagement.

Analyzing Twitter Data to Find the Best Times to Tweet

Buffer, a popular social media management tool, published its findings for the best time of day to tweet, based on extensive Twitter research using data collected over a period of several years from almost five million tweets across 10,000 profiles. All time zones were taken into consideration, looking at the most popular time to tweet, the best time to get clicks, the best time for likes/retweets, and the best time for overall engagement.

CoSchedule, another popular social media management tool, also published its own findings on the best time of day to tweet using a combination of its own data plus data taken from over a dozen other sources, including Buffer. The study actually goes beyond Twitter to include the best times for Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram as well.

If You Just Want to Tweet When Everyone Else Is Doing It

The most popular time to tweet, regardless of where you are in the world is...

According to Buffer's data: 

  • Between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.

According to CoSchedule's data: 

  • Between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. (especially on weekdays)
  • Right around 5:00 p.m. (especially on weekdays)

Recommendation based on both sets of data: Tweet right around noon/midday.

Just keep in mind that your tweets aren't necessarily going to be seen as easily during this time due to the influx of overall tweets that will be fighting for your followers' attention. In fact, your tweets might have a better chance at being seen when tweet volume is lower (according to Buffer, this is between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.), so you might want to consider experimenting with this.

If Your Goal Is to Maximize Clickthroughs

If you're tweeting links to send followers to somewhere, you should aim to tweet...

According to Buffer's data:

  • Between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.
  • Specifically at 12:00 p.m.
  • Between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

According to CoSchedule's data: 

  • Specifically at 12:00 p.m.
  • Right around 3:00 p.m.
  • Between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. ​

Recommendation based on both sets of data: Tweet around noon and after work hours in the early evening.

Midday seems to be a winning time slot here, but don't assume that those low tweet volume hours won't do anything for you. Volume is expectantly low in the wee hours of the early morning, which essentially maximizes your chances of getting your tweets seen by those who are awake or waking up soon.

If Your Goals Is to Maximize Engagement

Getting as many likes and retweets as possible might be pretty important for your brand or business, meaning you'll want to try tweeting...

According to Buffer's data: 

  • Between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. (especially if your audience is mostly based in the U.S.)

According to CoSchedule's data: 

  • Between 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (specifically for retweets)

Recommendation based on both sets of data: Do your own experimentation within these timeframes. Try tweeting for likes and retweets (ideally with no links in your tweets) during midday, afternoon, early evening and late evening hours.

As you can see, the data from Buffer and CoSchedule conflict in this area, so the timeframe you could tweet for engagement is huge. Buffer looked at just over one million tweets coming from U.S.-based accounts and concluded that later evening hours were best for engagement while CoSchedule reported results that were very mixed according to the different sources it looked at.

Digital marketing guru Neil Patel said that tweeting at 5:00 p.m. will result in the most retweets whereas Ell & Co. found the best retweet results could be seen between the hours of noon to 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Huffington Post, on the other hand, said that maximum retweets occur between noon and 5:00 p.m.

Your best bet is to try tweeting at certain times and track when engagement seems to be the highest. 

If You Want More Clicks Plus More Engagement

If you just want your Twitter followers to do anything at all—click, retweet, like or reply—you could work on sending your tweets out...

According to Buffer's data: 

  • Between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.

According to CoSchedule's data: 

  • Specifically at 12:00 p.m.
  • Around 3:00 p.m.
  • Between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. 

Recommendation based on both sets of data: Again, do your own experimentation. Track clicks and engagement for tweets in the early morning hours versus tweets at peak daytime hours.

The data based on the two studies really conflict with each other in the area of clicks and engagement together, with Buffer saying nighttime is the best and CoSchedule saying daytime hours are best.

Buffer says that the highest amount of engagement occurs in the middle of the night, between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m—coinciding with when volume is low. Clicks plus engagement per tweet is at its lowest during traditional work hours between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

CoSchedule found that both retweets and clickthroughs were shown to be maximized during the day. Social media superstar Dustin Stout also advised against tweeting overnight, saying that the worst times to tweet were between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.

An Important Note Regarding These Findings

If you were surprised to find out how different these findings can be based on where they've come from, you're not alone. Keep in mind that these numbers don't necessarily tell the whole story and have also been averaged out.

Buffer added a note at the end pointing out that the number of followers of a particular account can largely influence clicks and engagement, and looking at the median (the middle number of all the numbers) rather than the mean (the average of all the numbers) may have turned up more accurate results if so many tweets included in the dataset didn't have such little engagement. Types of content, the day of the week, and even messaging also play important roles here. These were not accounted for in the study.

Use These Times As Reference Points for Experimentation

There's absolutely no guarantee that you'll get the most clicks, retweets, likes or new followers if you tweet between the timeframes concluded from the two studies mentioned above. Remember that your results will vary depending on the content you put out, who your followers are, their demographics, their jobs, where they're located, your relationship with them and so on.

If most of your followers are 9-to-5 workers living in the Eastern U.S. Time Zone, tweeting at 2:00 a.m. ET on a weekday may not work out so great for you. On the other hand, if you're targeting college kids on Twitter, tweeting very late or very early in the morning may bring up better results.

Keep these findings from this study in mind, and use them to experiment with your own Twitter strategy. Do your own investigative work based on your own brand and your own audience, and you'll undoubtedly uncover some valuable information about your followers' tweeting habits over time.