Instagram is no longer just for social posts or staying in touch – audiences worldwide are increasingly using Instagram as a news source. According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, use of Instagram for news has doubled since 2018 and is set to overtake Twitter as a news source in 2021.
It’s no surprise that many publishers are investing more time and resources into their Instagram presence, looking to tap into new audience engagement opportunities on the platform.
As publishers define their Instagram posting strategies, they often ask: when is the best time to post on Instagram?
To find the answer, Echobox recently conducted a comprehensive scientific study to determine the best time to post on Instagram for publishers. To discover our complete findings, you can download the white paper for free. In this article, we highlight key themes of our research, and what it means for publishers wondering about the best time to post on Instagram.
Why study the best time to post on Instagram?
Publishers have come to rely on Echobox’s scientific studies to understand how social platform algorithms are impacting their performance. Following our research on the best time to post on Facebook, which proved very popular with publishers, we received strong demand to repeat the study for Instagram.
Determining the best time to post on Instagram is a complex undertaking for any individual publisher. It would require significant data science resources and know-how, as well as extensive publisher data sets, to begin to analyze the best time to post on Instagram. Given Echobox’s innovative technologies and currently unrivaled understanding of social platform algorithms, we are well-placed to study the best time to post on Instagram and make recommendations to publishers.
How did we measure the best time to post on Instagram?
To determine the optimal time to post on Instagram for publishers, we studied the total number of pageviews on publisher websites coming from Instagram on an hourly basis to identify peaks and dips in Instagram traffic at certain times of day. We examined the Instagram traffic of leading publishers in different countries and verticals to determine the following:
- Is there a universal best time to post on Instagram for all publishers?
- Is there a best time to post to Instagram per country?
- Is there a best time to post on Instagram for certain verticals?
Over the course of 18 months, our data scientists measured more than 20 million pageviews recorded in the local time zone for each publisher.
Is there a universal best time to post on Instagram for all publishers?
We began by studying Instagram traffic patterns for two news-focused publishers to see if we would find similarities at certain times of day, indicating a universal best time to post on Instagram:
We observed that these US and UK publishers have radically different Instagram traffic patterns, despite their similar content focus, and the best time to post on Instagram is different for each publisher.
The US publisher’s Instagram traffic tends to peak and dip every few hours throughout the day. Near midday, Instagram traffic rises sharply and remains elevated throughout the afternoon, hitting its highest point at 5pm, which would be the optimal time to post on Instagram for this publisher.
The UK publisher’s Instagram traffic remains low throughout the small hours but starts to rise sharply after 4am, with the day’s peak occurring at 6am. For this publisher, the best time to post on Instagram is early in the morning, before 8am.
Comparing these two publishers shows just how different the best time to post on Instagram can be for each publisher, despite being similar types of publications.
Is there a best time to post on Instagram per country? Or a best time to post to Instagram for certain verticals?
To find out, we examined another leading UK news publisher that has the same content focus as the one featured above. We compared the Instagram traffic patterns of these two UK news publishers to see if we would find country-specific best times to post on Instagram.
To determine whether there is a best time to post to Instagram per vertical, we studied two additional news publishers from France and compared their Instagram traffic patterns to the other news publishers studied. Consult the full report to see if commonalities exist between all news publishers with regards to the best time to post on Instagram.
What should publishers know when trying to identify the best time to post on Instagram?
Publishers must keep in mind that Instagram traffic patterns, and social media traffic patterns in general, can greatly vary by day of week. These variations can be considerable, especially when comparing weekdays and weekends.
But merely knowing what days or times people are on Instagram is not enough – publishers will need to know when each individual piece of content will resonate most with audiences and compel them to interact, read more, swipe up or click a link in the bio. In other words, each individual piece of content has its own “best time” to post on Instagram, and this will depend on multiple factors including the post topic, the audience and current trends.
While this level of information is difficult for an individual publisher to compute, Echobox can calculate this level of detail and adjust in real time according to various inputs. Publishers can therefore use Echobox to easily determine the best time to post to Instagram (as well as on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), as each Echobox is customised to every single publisher using our service. Learn more about how Echobox works.
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