What exactly is the best time to post on social media?
It’s a common question. If you’ve ever develop a social media schedule from scratch, you know why, too. It’s intimidating to invest time and resources into creating shareable content, without knowing whether you’re posting when it’s most likely to perform well.
Now, narrowing down definitive times that apply across channels and industries is difficult. When it comes down to it, success starts with creating and sharing quality content consistently, after all.
But, even the best content can use a boost, and knowing when to share can help maximize its results.
So, how can you know when your audience is most active?
That’s what this post aims to answer. Based on new and original research from CoSchedule, plus curated findings from tons of other studies, it shares data-backed best times for every major social media network across different industries.
Let’s dive into the data so you can get more traffic, more engagement, and more followers.
Find Your Own Best Times With Three Free Google Analytics Custom Reports
What about finding your own best times based on your own data?
If driving traffic back to your website from social media is a key part of your strategy, these free Google Analytics custom reports will help you find. Find your best times by day, by time, and by date/hour in just a few clicks by copying and pasting the links (which you’ll find in a plain text file with additional instructions) into Google Analytics.
Plus, you’ll find a free marketing calendar template to help schedule every post + all your other projects in one place, and all the key information from this post summarized in one infographic PDF.
Grab ’em now and start tracking your social success.
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Table of Contents:
What’s New in This Post?
You may have seen versions of this post before.
It was first published back in 2014, and it has been regularly updated since then.
But, things have changed enough that it warranted a total overhaul.
Some changes include:
- All studies pre-2016 have been removed. Anything that far out-of-date has been taken out.
- Newer studies have been added. Because as was suggested above, recency matters.
- Google+ data is now gone. Google is no longer supporting the consumer version of the network.
- Original data from (anonymized) CoSchedule customers has been included. CoSchedule helps marketing teams organize projects and team members all on one platform with an easy-to-use calendar interface. Since that includes scheduling social media posts (and the tool has robust analytics built in), it only made sense to contribute original research (in addition to curating findings from other sources).
In other words, this post is now better researched and more useful than ever.
About the 16 Studies Used in This Post
This post is packed with stats and findings from 16 different studies. That includes anonymized data from CoSchedule customers, plus 15 other studies from around the web.
- Original research from Later
- Original research from TrackMaven
- Original research from Buffer
- Original research from Hootsuite
- Original research FreeCodeCamp
- Original and compiled research from Neil Patel (via Kissmetrics)
- Original data from CoSchedule
- Compiled research from Buffer
- Compiled research from Hubspot
- Compiled research from Post Planner
- Compiled research from Falcon.io
- Compiled research from SurePayroll
- Compiled research from TruConversion
- Compiled research from The Huffington Post
- Compiled research from BizTraffic
- Compiled research from BootCamp Digital
Performance metrics from CoSchedule were based on anonymized data gathered from a broad cross-section of customers, including those who manage social media marketing for multiple clients. Over 500 accounts were used to gather this data in total.
Other reports are from reputable third-party sources. Each has been vetted for its methodology, trustworthiness, and value of its insights. There are plenty more studies and blog posts on this topic out there too, and many of those are very good too (even if they’re not included here).
As always, use these sorts of findings as guidelines, rather than strict rules on the right and wrong way to handle your social schedule. If your own results contradict this (or any) study, go with what works, versus what “experts” have said.
When examining data, it would be easy to think that the times companies post the most would be the best, because more posts would naturally equal more total engagement at those times.
So, members of CoSchedule’s product development team were mindful to weight and score times by the amount of engagement relative to the total number of posts analyzed per hour in order to avoid this issue.
This helps ensure that the data shows the most effective times, to the degree that it’s possible to quantify them.
How Do You Factor In Time Zones?
Did you know that Arizona doesn’t practice daylight savings time?
It’s timing nuances like these that make finding the perfect times to post even harder. Before we delve into the best times to post on social media, let's take a look at the best time zones.
50% of the U.S. population is in the Eastern Time Zone, and the Eastern and Central combined represent almost 80% of the U.S. population.
In theory, the Eastern or Central time zone would be the best time to base off for a United States audience to reach the most people through your social media shares.
For those of you who have audiences outside the United States, demographic research like this is simple enough with Google Analytics to understand where your own audience is, giving you the opportunity to target their time zones accordingly.
There are also a few tools to help you find when your own audience is online and using the social networks you're concentrating on—which helps you understand the best times to share based in your local time zone. Read on to learn more.
Breaking Down Times By Industry
This post analyzes best times based on seven different verticals. These include:
- Business to consumer companies: These are companies that sell products to consumers and the public at large.
- Business to business companies: These are companies that sell products and services to other businesses.
- Software service providers: These would be companies (like CoSchedule) that offer software as a service (SaaS).
- Healthcare: Hospitals and health insurance companies fall under this vertical (for our purposes).
- Media: News organizations, blogs, and magazine websites are some of the heaviest users of social media.
- Higher education: Colleges, universities, technical schools, and other institutions of post-secondary education are categorized here.
It’s possible for a company to fit into more than one category (for a couple of examples, a software company could also be either a B2B or B2C company, or a media company might be part of the marketing division of a B2B or B2C company).
However, these industries were chosen in order to give this post more industry-specific granularity while being broad enough not to get overly complicated.
When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?
The popular visual social network isn’t much of a traffic driver (though it can be useful for directing targeted traffic toward specific pages using the one link you get in your bio), but it does have a highly engaged audience. Here’s when you can expect the most activity.
Best Times for B2C Businesses to Post on Instagram
The best time for businesses selling consumer products here looks to be before work, over lunch, and when people are relaxing at home late at night.
Best Times for B2B Businesses to Post on Instagram
The times for B2B are similar, with the most activity happening around lunch and after work.
Best Times for Software Businesses to Post on Instagram
Not much change here either, though it seems like right before and right after lunch might be best. It's possible those of us working in software spend lunches looking away from screens.
Best Times for Healthcare Companies to Post on Instagram
Healthcare businesses appear to do best at off-peak hours in mid-morning and early afternoon.
Best Times for Media Companies to Post on Instagram
Driving traffic from Instagram is tough, but it's valuable for brand-building, even for media publishers. The best times are when people are just getting into work, taking their lunch break, or looking for an afternoon break.
Best Times for Colleges to Post on Instagram
When it comes to higher education, catching people after work appears to be most effective. It could be that people are responsive to the idea of advancing their education or making a career switch right when they're leaving work (hopefully you don't feel that way though).
Instagram Network Summary
Here are your best times broken down by industry (according to internal research by CoSchedule):
- B2C: 8 am, 1 pm, and 9 pm.
- B2B: 12 pm-1 pm, 5 pm-6 pm, 8 pm-9pm.
- Software Services: 11 am, 1 pm, 5 pm.
- Healthcare: 10 am and 2 pm.
- Media: 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm.
- Higher Education: 5 pm - 6 pm
What about other sources, though?
- Later says your best bet is to post between 11am and 1pm, and 7pm and 9pm. The idea is to catch people over lunch and when they’re winding down for the night.
- TrackMaven narrows that down further to 7pm on Fridays.
- HubSpot suggests rolling with any time other than 3pm-4pm (when people may be deep in work), or considering 8am on Mondays to catch people starting their work weeks.
- Post Planner, citing a study from Sprout, suggests avoiding 9am to 4pm, when people are most likely at work.
- Falcon.io suggests posting between 11am and 1pm (lunch hour for a lot of folks) or at 2 am (theoretically, this might mean catching people looking at their phones after bar close).
- TruConversion reports that 2am and 5pm are the best times. That seconds the idea of posting in the early morning (late night?) hours, or right when people are leaving work.
- Hootsuite says to post between noon and 1pm, supporting the findings of several other studies.
- BizTraffic deviates from other reports by saying you can post at literally any time on this network.
When is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?
Marketing on the world’s most popular social network isn’t as easy as it used to be. Organic reach has been in sharp decline for years, and it’s increasingly becoming a pay-to-play platform.
But, that doesn’t mean it’s time to ignore organic efforts here. Optimizing your posting schedule is part of refining a broader strategy to get as much opportunity here as possible.
Best Times for B2C Businesses to Post on Facebook
Similar to Instagram, people jump on Facebook when they have breaks in their day.
Best Times for B2B Businesses to Post on Facebook
And when it comes to B2B, it appears as though catching people when they need a brain break in the afternoon is effective.
Best Times for Software Businesses to Post on Facebook
Again, for software companies, before work, after work, and mid-afternoon is best. It's notable that noon isn't the most effective (which could mean opportunity, or it could mean that time is just too competitive).
Best Times for Healthcare Companies to Post on Facebook
Mornings work best for healthcare companies. Catching people when they're waking up is the best time here, which makes sense, since people may be looking for entertainment rather than improving their health later in the day.
Best Times for Media Companies to Post on Facebook
The best times to catch people for news are when they're waking up, going to lunch, or just getting home from work. Those line up with times a lot of people catch up on news in general.
Best Times for Colleges to Post on Facebook
See a pattern emerging here? If you're sharing content for higher education, consider experimenting with the peak times shown below, and posting when there's less activity, too.
Facebook Network Summary
When the CoSchedule team crunched the data, the following times and ranges appeared to drive the most activity:
- B2C: 9am to 10am, 12pm - 1pm, 4pm to 5pm
- B2B: 9am to 4pm, with 3pm to 4pm being best
- Software Services: 9am to 5pm, then it drops off. 9am, 3pm, and 5pm are best.
- Healthcare: 6am-7am, 9am, 11am-Noon
- Media: 7am, 11am, 6pm
- Higher Education: 8am, Noon, 3pm
Here’s what other sources say about general best times to post:
- Hootsuite suggests posting between noon and 3pm on weekdays. That’d catch people on lunch, or when they’re looking for an afternoon distraction.
- Bootcamp Digital suggests following the times your Insights say are best, posting 1 to 4 times a week with high-quality content.
- TrackMaven suggests that 8pm on Thursdays is the best time.
- Hubspot says 1pm to 4pm is generally best.
- Falcon.io’s findings are similar, saying that noon to 4pm is where most of the action is at.
- When it comes to Facebook Live, a study from FreeCodeCamp found 6am to 7am, Monday through Friday, provided the best results. One caveat: it’s extremely important to test this data for yourself. Fortunately, they provide an entire framework on how to do this (provided you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with coding and APIs).
When is the Best Time to Post on Twitter?
Twitter is a high-volume network and it works best when you have a steady stream of relevant content. But, can you expect more engagement and clicks at certain times of day?
Best Times for B2C Businesses to Post on Twitter
People use Twitter all day because it's so frequently updated, but catching people when they're waking up and winding down lines up with when most people do their heaviest web browsing.
Best Times for B2B Businesses to Post on Twitter
That's (mostly) true whether you're in B2C or B2B.
Best Times for Software Businesses to Post on Twitter
Promoting software services on Twitter deviates somewhat from other B2B and B2C verticals, in that it's best to catch people when they're in a work mindest and are taking a break from their tasks, or heading home.
Best Times for Healthcare Companies to Post on Twitter
Mornings and evenings are your bread and butter for healthcare.
Best Times for Media Companies to Post on Twitter
Media companies and bloggers are some of the heaviest publishers of Twitter content. While it's advisable to maintain a consistent stream of content throughout the day here, these are the times you can expect the most engagement.
Best Times for Colleges to Post on Twitter
Stick to mornings and evenings here.
Twitter Network Summary
- B2C: 8am-10am, Noon, 7pm-9pm
- B2B: 7am-8am, 11am, 6pm, 9pm
- Software Services: 10am, 2pm, 6pm
- Healthcare: 9am, 6pm
- Media: 6am-7am, 11am, 7pm-8pm, 10pm
- Higher Education: 8am, 5pm. 7pm, 9pm
And of course, here’s what other research says:
- According to a Buffer analysis of over 4 million tweets, posing between 2am and 3am gets the most clicks on Twitter.
- TrackMaven pins down the best time at 5pm on Thursday.
- Hubspot suggests noon to 3pm or 5pm as the best times.
- Falcon.io says noon is the definitive best time, with 5pm as the runner-up.
- Bootcamp Digital simply suggests posting 2 to 10 (or more) times per day, spread throughout the day.
When is the Best Time to Post on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a professional network, and so naturally, the best time to reach people there is when they’re taking a break from work. Or is it? Here’s what the data shows:
Best Times for B2C Businesses to Post on LinkedIn
It appears as though to best time to catch people on Twitter may be around their lunch breaks from work (for those working a 9 to 5 schedule).
Best Times for B2B Businesses to Post on LinkedIn
When it comes to B2B audiences though, which may be more professionally-focused than broader B2C audiences, the mantra of catching people before work, at lunch, and after their evening commute holds true.
Best Times for Software Businesses to Post on LinkedIn
Software services are the same. If you want to reach professional audiences, you've got to reach them when they're not deep in work (and oftentimes we use software services to get work done).
Best Times for Healthcare Companies to Post on LinkedIn
Healthcare stands out somewhat from other verticals, with mid-morning to early afternoon being most effective.
Best Times for Media Companies to Post on LinkedIn
People often read their LinkedIn feed in the morning like they'd read a morning newspaper. So, it makes sense that publishers see the greatest amount of effectiveness early in the morning.
Best Times for Colleges to Post on LinkedIn
Higher education may not be huge on LinkedIn, though mid-morning seems to work best (possibly catching people taking a break from work, when they're open to career and educational development opportunities).
LinkedIn Network Summary
The biggest takeaway here is that people use LinkedIn for professional development. So, the best times to reach people here are when workers in the industry you're targeting are taking breaks in their workday.
- B2C: Noon
- B2B: 8am, 10am-Noon, 6pm
- Software Services: 9am, 11am-Noon, 5pm-6pm
- Healthcare: 10am, Noon-2pm
- Media: 8am
- Higher Education: 10am
Here’s what some other sources have to say:
- SurePayroll suggests posting between Tuesday and Thursday at no specific time.
- The Huffington Post suggests those same days, but narrows down 10am to 11am on Tuesday as the best day and time.
- BizTraffic advises 7am, noon, and 5pm all work well. This makes sense for targeting professional audiences on an 8 to 5 schedule.
- Curated findings from Post Planner support this advice.
- TruConversion suggests morning through noon, Monday through Friday.
When is the Best Time to Post on Pinterest?
Pinterest is vastly overlooked as a marketing platform. If strong visuals are part of your content marketing strategy, then it makes total sense to get on Pinterest (especially if your audience is active there).
But, when it comes to timing, the data from CoSchedule customers showed little correlation between times and performance. It isn’t a platform where timing necessarily matters as much as sharing the right kind of content consistently.
From curated research though, these times may serve as solid guidelines:
- 8–11 p.m. with 9 p.m. peak
- 2–4 a.m. and 2–4 p.m.
- 1–3 p.m.
- Fridays and Saturdays may be the best times. This makes sense, since people often use Pinterest to plan projects (and weekends are a good time to plan for the coming weeks).
What Are the General Best Days to Post on Social Media?
In addition to refining your timing, taking days into consideration is important too. This is particularly true on networks where you might not post every day. So, make the most of every piece of content you share with these guidelines.
Best Days to Post on Facebook
- Avoid overly-promotional content.
- Hashtags underperform here.
- Mix up posts with and without links.
Best Days to Post on Instagram
Best Days to Post on Twitter
Best Days to Post on LinkedIn
How Do You Know When Your Followers Are On Social Media?
One of the reasons you want to know when to share on social media is because you want to get more traffic to your blog. It makes sense, then, to post your content to social media when you typically get the most traffic from your unique audience.
Grab these three Google Analytics custom reports (available in your kit that complements this post) to help you know what times and days you typically get the most traffic and measure your progress every day. Here's how:
Find Your Best Day To Post On Social Media
Kick off your research with the Best Days To Post On Social Media report. When you do, you'll see a list of all of your social networks listed from the ones that give you the most traffic to the least.
Simply click on any network to view the days when you typically get the most traffic.
Go one step further and click on the day to learn the specific times when your followers give you the most traffic from that network.
Use that information to help you choose the best days to share to specific networks based on your own audience, along with the times that work best for getting traffic on those specific days.
Find Your Best Time To Post On Social Media
Let's say you don't care as much about the days, and instead want to know only the times when you get the most traffic from your social networks. No problem. Look at your second Google Analytics custom report, Best Time To Post On Social Network By Hour.
Find the specific hour of the day when you get the most traffic by clicking through on a specific network.
The times when you get the most traffic are listed in order from most to last, with 0 being midnight and 23 as 11 p.m.
Now you can schedule several messages based the times when you receive the most traffic from your social followers.
Measure Your Social Media Traffic By Date And Hour
When you test a new posting schedule, it's a solid practice to understand how what you did impacted your success. Use the third Google Analytics custom report to view the traffic from your social networks by a specific date and hour.
This report is especially handy if you're testing new publishing times and days because it will show you the traffic you received per network for a specific calendar date and time.
Start by navigating to the network you'd like you know more about.
You'll see the list of specific dates that show the year, month, and day like this: YYYYMMDD. Your highest-trafficked date is on top of the list.
Click through on any date to see your best time. Now you can correlate this back to your social media posting schedule when you sent messages to each specific network.
Automate Your Posting Schedule With Best Time Scheduling
Refining your social media schedule takes time and experimentation.
But, if you need some automated assistance to help you set it and forget it, there’s Best Time Scheduling in CoSchedule.
It’ll help you get more engagement, shares, and click-throughs by scheduling posts at the best times for you. Plus, it features intelligent collision-detection to ensure your posts are evenly spread out without over-posting at one time and under-posting at another.
You read that right—you can reap the benefits from everything you just learned without actually having to remember it all.
Ready to try it yourself? Start a free trial now.
How To Use This Data To Reach More Followers With Every Social Message
As you can see, not everyone agrees as to the best timing for social posts, and when they do, it's often because they're referring to the same source. Even using data doesn’t provide a perfect answer, because it doesn’t take into account:
- Different industries
- Different audiences
- Different goals (e.g. clicks vs. reshares)
So, putting this data to work for you in an attempt to find optimal social media posting time involves four possible outcomes:
1. Pick One And Stick To It
You might decide to use one of the sources listed in this post and stick to what they found.
Consistency in approach has its benefits; certainly your audience gets used to what to expect.
However, you may not see the success you could. Maybe you picked the wrong one, or are limiting yourself too much.
2. Use A General Approach Of Several
You could use a broad swath of ideal posting times, mixing together the days and times of several of the data sources in the hopes of finding a fit by covering a wider range. For those of you wanting to do this, check out the summary that combined the results of the data covered.
This approach might work, but you’ll have more ground to cover and more work to do in order to create and publish posts to cover larger blocks of time.
3. Find The One That Works For You
By this, you might start with one set of research, stick to it, measure it, and note the results. Then adjust that with different days and times, and do the same measurement and data recording.
In other words, test it out. See which one works for you. Not every industry is the same. Neil Patel even noted, for example, that the fashion industry sees better success on Pinterest with a slightly different approach.
The real takeaway? Start with this data as a guideline, then tweak your own schedule based on your own findings. That’s the only way you can honestly know if you’re posting at the best times.