The Best Time of Day to Post on Instagram


Think Instagram is just another social media application for teenagers to put pretty pictures on the Internet? Think again.

What filters do you use? Do you use hashtags? What time of day and day of week do you post? All valid questions — and you should know the answers for your brand. To understand the latest trends in Instagram adoption and usage, TrackMaven crunched the data on how America’s largest corporations — the Fortune 500 — use Instagram.

The Fortune 500 Instagram report analyzes trends in Instagram follower growth, engagement, posting strategies, and more. I could write thousands of words on the ins and outs of these insights, such as the nuances of filter and hashtag use (more on that in the report!), but I am going to focus on one key insight: the best time of day to post on Instagram.

The Best Time of Day To Post on Instagram

Fortune 500 companies do most of their posting during East Coast business hours. In fact, Fortune 500 brands dramatically favor the 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. ET timeframe for Instagram posting. In fact, 88 percent of Fortune 500 Instagram photos are posted within this 12 hour window. The least popular time to post among Fortune 500 brands is between midnight and 8 a.m. ET. Less than 1 percent of Fortune 500 Instagram posts is published in each hour within the midnight to 8 a.m. ET timeframe. Keep in mind that if posting were uniform throughout the day, each hour would see an even 4.17 percent of total Fortune 500 Instagram posts.

Believe it or not, the best time of day to post on Instagram is between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Eastern Time. Fortune 500 Instagram posts published during this window see the highest average engagement level compared to the average engagement for Fortune 500 Instagram posts. Posts published in this window see 6.15 percent to 8.78 percent more engagement than the average Instagram post from a Fortune 500 brand.

The worst time to post on Instagram for Fortune 500 brands is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET. Posts published within this window see 4.18 percent to 6.58 percent less engagement than average. Another ineffective time to post is 4 a.m. ET; posts published during this hour see 3.49 percent less engagement than average.

Instagram Videos

Videos are a slightly different story. The video functionality is relatively new on Instagram, and as a result, the data set is small. But our report reveals that consumers are more likely to interact with Instagram videos during non-work hours.

Fortune 500 brands post their videos primarily during work hours, just like their pictures. During work hours, an average of 22.5 out of every 1000 Instagram followers interacted with videos posted by Fortune 500 companies. During off-hours, 33.4 out of every 1000 followers interacted with the content, which is nearly 50% higher. And finally, on the weekends, followers interacted with videos at a rate of 25.7. This makes sense — some consumers are probably reluctant to watch videos, which may include an audio component, while they are at work.

Bottom line
To maximize your Instagram engagement, post your Instagram content when your audience is most likely be able to engage with it. Sounds simple, right? While the best time of day to post on Instagram will vary for your particular audience, use the results from our Fortune 500 Instagram Report to guide your basic Instagram strategy. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@TrackMaven)!

Can you compete with the Fortune 500 brands on Instagram? Learn trends, tips, and more from America’s biggest brands. Download your copy!