What is the best time to post on Instagram to get more likes?

How to generate more Instagram likes

It’s no secret that at Spindogs HQ we love Instagram! We are always looking out for the latest trends surrounding the social platform, and the best ways to make the most of it. Everyone who actively uses Instagram would have noticed how much the platform has changed over time, allowing for the growth of business profiles and personal brands.

Obviously, as digital marketers we take a keen interest in how to optimise the performance of the content we put out on our social media, so it’s not much of a surprise that we use the platform’s built-in functionality to determine what we should post and when. But it’s not just businesses anymore who care about optimising content – on average, people search ‘best time to post on instagram’ 12,100 times each month.

So naturally, we did the same, and here is what we found:

The Instagram Algorithm Factor

Before we jump into trying to answer when the best time to post on Instagram is, let’s first take a moment to understand why it matters. Enter Instagram Algorithm! Unfortunately, in 2018 not all posts are made equal, and even if you are sharing the most stunning, interesting images, there is a chance they might fall into oblivion.

The reason for that is the constantly evolving way in which Instagram determines which posts are quality content. No longer just neatly listed in a chronological order, posts are shown to the optimal amount of your followers based on how much engagement they generate and how quickly this engagement is generated immediately following your upload.

In other words, the more likes and comments your post gets in the short time after it’s been shared, the more popular it’s likely to become, because Instagram would consider higher engagement levels as a signal for quality content. Sort of like a self-fulfilling social media prophecy.

It wouldn't be illogical then to think, if Instagram determines visibility based of perceived interest level, does the time I post even matter? Our answer: yes, it does. Finding out what the peak times for your audience are and posting in these time slots is most likely to generate the surge of engagement Instagram needs to see to then keep your post at the top of your followers feed where it is most visible.

Which leads us to…

What’s generally the best time to post on Instagram?

Global research figures point towards a few time slots which are likely to generate most engagement across the board, based on universal daily routines. Social media managers have found that the best times to post on Instagram (especially if they are targeting local audiences) are around the time people usually take their lunch break (between 11am and 2pm), during their commute home (5pm) or the evening wind-down slot (7pm-11pm).

Analysis of a wide range of Instagram accounts also points to 2am as another universally popular time to share content, likely as a result of the fact that with less people posting at that time, your content is more likely to be seen organically by users who are online. Besides, late-night sharing is a good way to target followers who check their Instagram first thing in the morning (7am – 9am), as your content would be more likely pop up on their feed.   

Slightly more limited are the peak time slots for sharing videos on your Instagram profile. Unlike images, videos often require users to turn on their sound in order to fully engage with the content, which could often be inconvenient in a work or school environment. Therefore, you should aim to post any videos in the evenings and later in the night to optimise views.

While these are certainly a great starting point for you to test, the truth of the matter is there is no ubiquitous answer to when the best time to post on Instagram is. Depending on your audience profiles, as well as the time zones you are targeting, your best course of action is to determine what your brand’s individual best time to post on Instagram is based on performance analytics.

How to find the best time to post on Instagram for your audience?

Mean business. First things first, and that’s especially important if you are running a company Instagram account – make sure your profile is set to business account, as it will allow you to access their analytics tool (aptly named Instagram Insights) and find out performance stats for your posts, as well as useful information about your followers, such as the days and times that they are most active (handy, right?!).

Target peak times. Using the Instagram analytics tool, make note of your audience’s peak times and try scheduling posts right before these slots, so you can make the most of the surge of activity bound to follow. With some attention to detail and careful tracking post to post, you would ideally be able to fine-tune your posting schedule.

Know your audience. Based on their demographic profile, your followers will have a different daily schedule, so even without fine-tuned analytics it will serve you well to consider whether you are primarily talking to working professionals who work 9am-5pm, or millennials prone to staying up late into the night. (Gender, age and similar audience identifiers can also be accessed through Instagram Insights).

Think of time zones. Following general assumptions about your audience’s daily schedule is all well and good if you are targeting users locally, but what if you are a global brand? Good news is, Instagram Insights also provides information about your followers’ location broken down by country and city, thus allowing you to know where the biggest chunk of your audience is geographically and schedule your posts accordingly.

Instagram in 2018 presents a number of incredible opportunities for businesses to extend their marketing on social media platforms, if they are savvy with their posting. It’s important to remember that despite the Instagram algorithm is no longer being chronological, the time you post still affects the what’s most visible on your followers feed.

To optimise the engagement and therefore the visibility of your content, use Instagram’s analytics tool to get a better insight into your audience’s behaviour. As a result you’d be able to boost engagement, drive traffic and gain new followers! If you need help scheduling your posts and analysing your audience engagement, contact our team and we’ll provide expert advice.

Polly Angelova
About Polly Angelova

Polly is our Content Editor and makes sure that all of our clients receive exceptional online written content.

With a background in journalism, Polly enjoys the creativity involved when writing for a number of different businesses and brands.

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