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The Best Time To Post On Instagram (2023)

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The Best Time To Post On Instagram (2023)

Instagram is the third most popular social channel, with 500 million daily active users and one billion monthly active users.

That’s a lot of targeted audience to tap into; naturally, there is no shortage of brands leveraging the social platform.

Like all social media channels, with those huge numbers of users, it’s easy to fall through the cracks. Just because you put effort into your posts doesn’t mean your posts will be seen.

It’s worth knowing that Instagram’s algorithms promote recent posts alongside interest and relationship, so determinng when your users are active is crucial.

Knowing when is the best time to post can be the difference between hundreds or thousands of engagements.

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To find the best time to post on Instagram, we reviewed a range of data studies from social media tools and compared the data below.

It’s worth remembering that data like this is only a starting point and you should experiment to find what works for your audience.

The Best Time To Post On Instagram

Before you look at your specific audience, having an idea of general trends when Instagram users are posting is a useful starting point for you to experiment with.

We reviewed data studies from social media tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, HubSpot, and Later to gain insight into the best posting times.

Between them, they analyzed millions of posts to find when users are most active across different days and time zones.

What stands out is that each study and social tool shows a different day and time as the best time to post on Instagram. This highlights the importance of analyzing your niche and data to find the best times and what works for you.

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Never take another study as the rule when you should post.

They are a guide only; putting in the time to experiment and analyze your data will help you get the best results.

Always be testing.

Best Time To Post On Instagram, Social Tool Data Studies Compared

Source Study Hootsuite Later Hubspot Sprout Social
Time Zone Pacific time Local time Local time Local time
Monday 12 p.m. 5 a.m. 7 – 9 p.m. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Tuesday 9 a.m. 7 a.m. 8 – 9 p.m. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wednesday 11 a.m. 3 a.m. 8 – 9 p.m. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m. 3 a.m. 9 p.m.
Friday 2 p.m. 7 a.m. 9 p.m. 9 – 11 a.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. 1 a.m. 6 – 11 p.m.
Sunday 7 p.m. 1 a.m. 4 -9 p.m.

Sources, June 2023:

  • HubSpot reviewed 110M posts across 1M Instagram users.
  • Later analyzed over 11M posts.
  • Hootsuite analyzed over 30,000 Instagram posts.
  • Sprout Social analyzed 2B engagements across 400,000 profiles.

Best Time To Post On Instagram By Location

If you have a global audience, you should be considering and posting at the best time for their time zone and not the time where you are.

If you are working across multiple countries, you should consider staggering posting across different time zones or trying to find overlaps between countries.

Plot what time your Instagram users are most active (see below) and then adjust for local time.

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Time Zone Time To Post
US Pacific Time 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
US Central Time 10 p.m. – 12 a.m.
US Eastern Time 11 p.m. – 4 a.m.
South America 5 a.m.
UK 3 a.m. – 4 a.m.
Western Europe 4 a.m. – 6 a.m.
Eastern Europe 5 a.m. – 7 a.m.
Africa 2 a.m. – 3 a.m.
Middle East 4 a.m.
East & South East Asia 6 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Australasia 11 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Source.

Best Day To Post On Instagram

According to Hootsuite, the worst day to post is a Sunday.

Later and Sprout agree that Wednesday is one of the best days to post on Instagram.

Later thinks Monday mornings are all about “early to rise and early to post” for the best views and engagements.

Social Tool Day of Week Time To Post
Later Monday 5:00 a.m. Local
Sprout Social Tuesday &a.m.p; Wednesday 9/10 a.m. – p.m. Local
Hootsuite Wednesday 11 a.m. PT

Source – as above.

Best Times To Post Reels On Instagram?

There is no doubt that video-based content is on the rise across all online platforms, including social media. TikTok has created an increasing market for short-form videos.

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Competitors’ response has been YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels.

If you are experimenting with Instagram Reels, then according to:

  • Hootsuite, the best time to post on Instagram Reels is 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., Monday to Thursday.
  • SocialPilot, the best time to post is between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. from Monday to Thursday.

As I mentioned, this can take trial and error – and depend on your industry and target market.

What Time Are Instagram Users Most Active?

As a starting point, consider your audience and what sort of routine and habits they might have. For example, many people check their social media as soon as they wake up and before they start work.

This can vary depending on the demographic and age, but 7 – 8 a.m. (local time) is generally a good time for a morning post.

When people wake up, they often check social media, spending a couple of minutes or more scrolling through their newsfeeds or watching Instagram Reels.

So, around 7 – 8 a.m. can be a great time to post in the morning.

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Another time when people are often on their phones is when they take their lunch break. Posting around 11 – 1 p.m., when people are likely to be breaking for lunch, can help ensure your post will make it closer to the top of their feed.

People also tend to scroll through social media right after work or before bed.

Don’t forget that posting times can depend on your target audience’s age, demographic, and industry.

Understanding your audience and demographic is critical as a starting point to consider what they might be doing during the day and what time they might be active in the evening.

Best Times To NOT Post On Instagram

Weekends tend to see lower engagement levels, but don’t count them out altogether. Saturday can be a decent time to post if you post at the right time.

Brands that offer consumer goods tend to see high engagement on Sunday evenings.

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But the consensus has been that Sunday is generally the worst day to post on Instagram, as people are decompressing or preparing for the week ahead.

So, typically, they will spend less time scrolling through social media.

How Often Should You Post On Instagram?

That depends on a couple of factors.

First, do you have enough product images, content, and ideas to post a couple of times per day or week? The goal here is to post consistently.

On the other hand, don’t put content out there for the sake of posting regularly. Instead, spend time conducting a thoughtful customer journey-based content strategy.

That might take more time on the front end but it will help your content strategy as the weeks go on.

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That way, you can spend more time managing social media and engaging with followers and less worrying about getting enough content out there.

If you don’t have an abundance of post ideas, try posting three times a week. Then you can adjust accordingly by measuring your ongoing insights.

How To Find The Best Time For You To Post On Instagram

Studies and shared data are useful as a benchmark and a starting point for you to test with your own posts.

To find the best times to post on Instagram for you, experiment and test different times to see when you get the best response.

You will most likely find that different types of posts will get different reactions at different times, and you will also want to experiment across a range of posts relevant to your audience and brand.

As we said above, think about creating a journey, aim for posting types of messages, and try to post content consistently to encourage follower expectations.

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To help inform when you should be posting, you can check the following:

  • Evaluate your top-performing posts, measuring when they were posted and what you posted.
  • Check when your audience is online to know where and when your audience is online and active.
  • As an extension to when your audience is online, you must be aware of the different time zones your brand operates across and post at the times relevant to those time zones.

To measure most of the above, you can use Instagram Insights to get valuable data.

Using Instagram Insights

First, set up your account as a business or creator – that’s required to view Instagram Insights.

Once you have 100 followers, you can see your audience’s demographics: including the age, gender, and location of your followers.

Instagram Insights also gives you the ability to analyze high-performing posts.

When reviewing the data, ask yourself, what worked here? Was it a high-quality image? Was it the post time? Maybe it was the copy and hashtags? Or was it a mix of all of these?

Analyze and test. Analyze and test.

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The only way to learn is to just keep experimenting with different ideas. It’s worth noting that some pieces of content just won’t perform well, while others do.

Don’t get hung up on creating something perfect. Just keep trying.

Other Social Media Tools

You can also use other tools like Brandwatch or Iconosquare to view analytics and schedule posts.

If you regularly post on Facebook, you can also use Meta Business Suite to schedule and analyze posts across both platforms in one place.

Check Competitors’ Content

Another thing you can do is check out your competitor’s content.

Look when your competitors are posting. For example, are their Tuesday 2 p.m. posts performing well, or was another time working better for them?

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Analyzing the competition to see when they get the most engagement can be the best insight for a new brand when you don’t have history to measure.

Keep Testing And Be Consistent

Over time, the more content you have, the more accurate your Insights will be in analyzing your Instagram post strategy.

Then, you can change up your content strategy based on your systematic analysis.

Ultimately, you and the brand must determine what success looks like.

Maybe it’s more likes, comments, follows, or general brand awareness.

While posting times are a crucial part of overall engagement, you still need to select the right hashtags, visuals, and copy for your posts – and pay attention to promoted posts, as this can impact how you look at your Insights.

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Ultimately, you must balance all these variables to grow your follower base and increase engagement consistently.

The important thing is to stay consistent. Post regularly and check back often to see how your posts are doing.

More resources:


Featured Image: PixieMe/Shutterstock



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Measuring Content Impact Across The Customer Journey

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Measuring Content Impact Across The Customer Journey

Understanding the impact of your content at every touchpoint of the customer journey is essential – but that’s easier said than done. From attracting potential leads to nurturing them into loyal customers, there are many touchpoints to look into.

So how do you identify and take advantage of these opportunities for growth?

Watch this on-demand webinar and learn a comprehensive approach for measuring the value of your content initiatives, so you can optimize resource allocation for maximum impact.

You’ll learn:

  • Fresh methods for measuring your content’s impact.
  • Fascinating insights using first-touch attribution, and how it differs from the usual last-touch perspective.
  • Ways to persuade decision-makers to invest in more content by showcasing its value convincingly.

With Bill Franklin and Oliver Tani of DAC Group, we unravel the nuances of attribution modeling, emphasizing the significance of layering first-touch and last-touch attribution within your measurement strategy. 

Check out these insights to help you craft compelling content tailored to each stage, using an approach rooted in first-hand experience to ensure your content resonates.

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Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or new to content measurement, this webinar promises valuable insights and actionable tactics to elevate your SEO game and optimize your content initiatives for success. 

View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

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How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

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How to Find and Use Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords are the keywords your rivals rank for in Google’s search results. They may rank organically or pay for Google Ads to rank in the paid results.

Knowing your competitors’ keywords is the easiest form of keyword research. If your competitors rank for or target particular keywords, it might be worth it for you to target them, too.

There is no way to see your competitors’ keywords without a tool like Ahrefs, which has a database of keywords and the sites that rank for them. As far as we know, Ahrefs has the biggest database of these keywords.

How to find all the keywords your competitor ranks for

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Organic keywords report

The report is sorted by traffic to show you the keywords sending your competitor the most visits. For example, Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword “mailchimp.”

Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.Mailchimp gets most of its organic traffic from the keyword, “mailchimp”.

Since you’re unlikely to rank for your competitor’s brand, you might want to exclude branded keywords from the report. You can do this by adding a Keyword > Doesn’t contain filter. In this example, we’ll filter out keywords containing “mailchimp” or any potential misspellings:

Filtering out branded keywords in Organic keywords reportFiltering out branded keywords in Organic keywords report

If you’re a new brand competing with one that’s established, you might also want to look for popular low-difficulty keywords. You can do this by setting the Volume filter to a minimum of 500 and the KD filter to a maximum of 10.

Finding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywordsFinding popular, low-difficulty keywords in Organic keywords

How to find keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter your competitor’s domain in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis reportCompetitive analysis report

Hit “Show keyword opportunities,” and you’ll see all the keywords your competitor ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap reportContent gap report

You can also add a Volume and KD filter to find popular, low-difficulty keywords in this report.

Volume and KD filter in Content gapVolume and KD filter in Content gap

How to find keywords multiple competitors rank for, but you don’t

  1. Go to Competitive Analysis
  2. Enter your domain in the This target doesn’t rank for section
  3. Enter the domains of multiple competitors in the But these competitors do section
Competitive analysis report with multiple competitorsCompetitive analysis report with multiple competitors

You’ll see all the keywords that at least one of these competitors ranks for, but you don’t.

Content gap report with multiple competitorsContent gap report with multiple competitors

You can also narrow the list down to keywords that all competitors rank for. Click on the Competitors’ positions filter and choose All 3 competitors:

Selecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank forSelecting all 3 competitors to see keywords all 3 competitors rank for
  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer
  2. Enter your competitor’s domain
  3. Go to the Paid keywords report
Paid keywords reportPaid keywords report

This report shows you the keywords your competitors are targeting via Google Ads.

Since your competitor is paying for traffic from these keywords, it may indicate that they’re profitable for them—and could be for you, too.

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You know what keywords your competitors are ranking for or bidding on. But what do you do with them? There are basically three options.

1. Create pages to target these keywords

You can only rank for keywords if you have content about them. So, the most straightforward thing you can do for competitors’ keywords you want to rank for is to create pages to target them.

However, before you do this, it’s worth clustering your competitor’s keywords by Parent Topic. This will group keywords that mean the same or similar things so you can target them all with one page.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Export your competitor’s keywords, either from the Organic Keywords or Content Gap report
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
Clustering keywords by Parent TopicClustering keywords by Parent Topic

For example, MailChimp ranks for keywords like “what is digital marketing” and “digital marketing definition.” These and many others get clustered under the Parent Topic of “digital marketing” because people searching for them are all looking for the same thing: a definition of digital marketing. You only need to create one page to potentially rank for all these keywords.

Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"Keywords under the cluster of "digital marketing"

2. Optimize existing content by filling subtopics

You don’t always need to create new content to rank for competitors’ keywords. Sometimes, you can optimize the content you already have to rank for them.

How do you know which keywords you can do this for? Try this:

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  1. Export your competitor’s keywords
  2. Paste them into Keywords Explorer
  3. Click the “Clusters by Parent Topic” tab
  4. Look for Parent Topics you already have content about

For example, if we analyze our competitor, we can see that seven keywords they rank for fall under the Parent Topic of “press release template.”

Our competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" clusterOur competitor ranks for seven keywords that fall under the "press release template" cluster

If we search our site, we see that we already have a page about this topic.

Site search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templatesSite search finds that we already have a blog post on press release templates

If we click the caret and check the keywords in the cluster, we see keywords like “press release example” and “press release format.”

Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"Keywords under the cluster of "press release template"

To rank for the keywords in the cluster, we can probably optimize the page we already have by adding sections about the subtopics of “press release examples” and “press release format.”

3. Target these keywords with Google Ads

Paid keywords are the simplest—look through the report and see if there are any relevant keywords you might want to target, too.

For example, Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter.”

Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp is bidding for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

If you’re ConvertKit, you may also want to target this keyword since it’s relevant.

If you decide to target the same keyword via Google Ads, you can hover over the magnifying glass to see the ads your competitor is using.

Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”Mailchimp's Google Ad for the keyword “how to create a newsletter”

You can also see the landing page your competitor directs ad traffic to under the URL column.

The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”The landing page Mailchimp is directing traffic to for “how to create a newsletter”

Learn more

Check out more tutorials on how to do competitor keyword analysis:

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Google Confirms Links Are Not That Important

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Google confirms that links are not that important anymore

Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed at a recent search marketing conference that Google needs very few links, adding to the growing body of evidence that publishers need to focus on other factors. Gary tweeted confirmation that he indeed say those words.

Background Of Links For Ranking

Links were discovered in the late 1990’s to be a good signal for search engines to use for validating how authoritative a website is and then Google discovered soon after that anchor text could be used to provide semantic signals about what a webpage was about.

One of the most important research papers was Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment by Jon M. Kleinberg, published around 1998 (link to research paper at the end of the article). The main discovery of this research paper is that there is too many web pages and there was no objective way to filter search results for quality in order to rank web pages for a subjective idea of relevance.

The author of the research paper discovered that links could be used as an objective filter for authoritativeness.

Kleinberg wrote:

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“To provide effective search methods under these conditions, one needs a way to filter, from among a huge collection of relevant pages, a small set of the most “authoritative” or ‘definitive’ ones.”

This is the most influential research paper on links because it kick-started more research on ways to use links beyond as an authority metric but as a subjective metric for relevance.

Objective is something factual. Subjective is something that’s closer to an opinion. The founders of Google discovered how to use the subjective opinions of the Internet as a relevance metric for what to rank in the search results.

What Larry Page and Sergey Brin discovered and shared in their research paper (The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine – link at end of this article) was that it was possible to harness the power of anchor text to determine the subjective opinion of relevance from actual humans. It was essentially crowdsourcing the opinions of millions of website expressed through the link structure between each webpage.

What Did Gary Illyes Say About Links In 2024?

At a recent search conference in Bulgaria, Google’s Gary Illyes made a comment about how Google doesn’t really need that many links and how Google has made links less important.

Patrick Stox tweeted about what he heard at the search conference:

” ‘We need very few links to rank pages… Over the years we’ve made links less important.’ @methode #serpconf2024″

Google’s Gary Illyes tweeted a confirmation of that statement:

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“I shouldn’t have said that… I definitely shouldn’t have said that”

Why Links Matter Less

The initial state of anchor text when Google first used links for ranking purposes was absolutely non-spammy, which is why it was so useful. Hyperlinks were primarily used as a way to send traffic from one website to another website.

But by 2004 or 2005 Google was using statistical analysis to detect manipulated links, then around 2004 “powered-by” links in website footers stopped passing anchor text value, and by 2006 links close to the words “advertising” stopped passing link value, links from directories stopped passing ranking value and by 2012 Google deployed a massive link algorithm called Penguin that destroyed the rankings of likely millions of websites, many of which were using guest posting.

The link signal eventually became so bad that Google decided in 2019 to selectively use nofollow links for ranking purposes. Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that the change to nofollow was made because of the link signal.

Google Explicitly Confirms That Links Matter Less

In 2023 Google’s Gary Illyes shared at a PubCon Austin that links were not even in the top 3 of ranking factors. Then in March 2024, coinciding with the March 2024 Core Algorithm Update, Google updated their spam policies documentation to downplay the importance of links for ranking purposes.

Google March 2024 Core Update: 4 Changes To Link Signal

The documentation previously said:

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“Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

The update to the documentation that mentioned links was updated to remove the word important.

Links are not just listed as just another factor:

“Google uses links as a factor in determining the relevancy of web pages.”

At the beginning of April Google’s John Mueller advised that there are more useful SEO activities to engage on than links.

Mueller explained:

“There are more important things for websites nowadays, and over-focusing on links will often result in you wasting your time doing things that don’t make your website better overall”

Finally, Gary Illyes explicitly said that Google needs very few links to rank webpages and confirmed it.

Why Google Doesn’t Need Links

The reason why Google doesn’t need many links is likely because of the extent of AI and natural language undertanding that Google uses in their algorithms. Google must be highly confident in its algorithm to be able to explicitly say that they don’t need it.

Way back when Google implemented the nofollow into the algorithm there were many link builders who sold comment spam links who continued to lie that comment spam still worked. As someone who started link building at the very beginning of modern SEO (I was the moderator of the link building forum at the #1 SEO forum of that time), I can say with confidence that links have stopped playing much of a role in rankings beginning several years ago, which is why I stopped about five or six years ago.

Read the research papers

Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment – Jon M. Kleinberg (PDF)

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine

Featured Image by Shutterstock/RYO Alexandre

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