The Best Time to Post on Instagram For Your Industry in 2020 (A Complete Guide)
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Back in the days of a chronological feed, users guessed and played around with finding the best time to post on Instagram. Many attributed increased Instagram engagement to their carefully planned Instagram posting times. These were the good ole days before everyone’s goal became finding ways to “outsmart” the algorithm.
Today, to gain more Instagram followers you must create and post compelling content that other users will crave. With Instagram’s ever-changing algorithm, if you don’t post at the right time your followers may never see your posts. So how do you figure out the best time to post on Instagram?
If you’re unsure of where to start in terms of posting on Instagram, don’t fret. We’re giving you the complete guide to Instagram posting times, including the best time to post by day of the week and industry. With our tips to maximizing the use of Instagram tools, you’ll be posting on Instagram like a pro in no time.
Best Time to Post on Instagram by Day of the Week
All Instagram accounts have unique audiences from different cities and in various time zones, so breaking down the best Instagram posting times is essential to every account.
While finding the best time to post on Instagram is unique to every account, certain times generally correlate with increased Instagram engagement. Later analyzed 12 million posts in different time zones around the world from accounts with varying Instagram followers to see if they could find the secret to posting on Instagram.
Later conducted the ultimate Instagram engagement test and concluded the following best Instagram posting times:
- Monday: 6 am, 10 am, and 10 pm EST
- Tuesday: 2 am, 4 am, and 9 am EST
- Wednesday: 7 am, 8 am and 11 pm EST
- Thursday: 9 am, 12 pm, and 7 pm EST
- Friday: 5 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm EST
- Saturday: 11 am, 7 pm, and 8 pm EST
- Sunday: 7am, 8am, and 4pm EST
While this information showcases a general “best time to post on Instagram”, the truth is the best Instagram posting times will be unique to your account and audience.
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Best Time to Post on Instagram by Industry
As mentioned above, the best time to post on Instagram varies by account, however there are more ideal times for posting on Instagram based on specific industries. It’s crucial to alter your Instagram posting times based on industry to optimize engagement.
These Instagram posting times are a great start, but Sprout Social conducted the research below to find the best time to post on Instagram based on the following industries: retail, media, tech, non-profit, education, healthcare, professional services, food & beverage, and travel & tourism.
Posting on Instagram is incredibly crucial for those in the retail industry. People use Instagram as a shopping outlet now more than ever. If you’re looking to reach an audience interested in retail you’ll want to pay attention to the following best and worst Instagram posting times.
- Best Time: Wednesday afternoon (3 pm) & Friday midday (11 am – 12 pm)
- Ultimate Best Day: Wednesday
- Worst Day: Sunday – Makes sense as most people are being present in real life on the weekends.
- Lowest Engagement: Late Night & Early Mornings – Most people sleep during these hours and are not active on social media
What is the best time to post for your industry? – For me, the best times to post are in the morning or evening, and the best days of the week are Sunday through Thursday. Which makes sense—people are scrolling their Instagram feeds in the morning in bed, and during their commutes, and then again once they’re relaxing at home after work. And on Fridays and Saturdays people are pretty checked out, doing their own thing and enjoying themselves.
2. How did you figure that out? – I figured this out through a combination of trial and error, as well as using analytics through my Instagram business account and third-party apps.
3. Do you use any third-party analytics tools or just Instagram analytics? – I use Tailwind’s Instagram scheduling feature, which also shows you the best times for posting.
4. Do you have any tips for the readers for posting on Instagram for the retail industry? – Think about your target demographic—based on their behavior, what would be the best way and the most ideal time to engage with them?
Media & Entertainment
Social media has turned into such a prominent outlet for the media and entertainment industry, that it’s now more vital than ever to find the best time to post on Instagram to stand out and appear on user’s feeds.
- Best Time/Day: Friday morning (9 am)
- Best Engagement: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during work hours (8-5 pm)
- Lowest Engagement: Saturday and Sunday – Most people have these days off from work, are more present in real life activities and therefore not as active on social media
What is the best time to post for your industry? – Mornings (specifically weekends) and mid to late evenings on weeknights.
How did you figure that out? – A/B testing similar content at different times.
Do you use any third-party analytics tools or just Instagram analytics? – Instagram analytics and Hootsuite.
Do you have any tips for the readers for posting on Instagram for the media industry? – Know your audience and serve up content that they’ve followed you for. But don’t get too stale. Try out different types of content to learn which ones drive up engagement. Don’t be afraid to take risks, you can always archive or delete a post if you regret it, but you never know – something you didn’t think would work might end up performing beyond your expectations!
Posting on Instagram for Tech can be difficult to gauge as global peak times on Instagram for this industry vary. To ensure Instagram engagement on tech posts make sure to focus on the below time frames.
- Ultimate Best Time: Wednesday morning at 6 am or 9 am
- Best Day: Wednesday mid-morning from 10-11 am, Friday morning from 7-10 am and Saturday morning from 7-11 am.
- Worst Day: Sunday-Most people do not check social as often on the weekends in this industry.
Instagram is a wonderful addition to your overall social media strategy for nonprofits. Facebook is a great outlet to promote events while posting on Instagram is the best platform to complement your strategy. Keep reading to find the best time to post on Instagram for nonprofits.
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- Best Time/Day: Wednesday at 2 pm
- Highest Engagement: Wednesday (1-4 pm)
- Worst Days for Engagement: Saturday & Sundays
*Interview from social media manager from Education
Students and faculty are more active later in the day, so the best time to post on Instagram for education is as follows:
- Best Time/Day to Post: Friday mornings at 10 am
- Most Consistent Engagement: Wednesday through Saturday (10 am – 8 pm)
- Highest Engagement: Wednesday & Friday mid morning and Saturday nights (6 pm – 8 pm)
- Worst Days for Engagement: Sunday due to the lack of activity on Instagram on this day.
Social Media isn’t a high priority for many healthcare practices. Although this is the case, due to a large number of users on the platform in general, posting on Instagram is still important and worth improving on for those in the healthcare space. Sprout Social’s research concluded the following for the best time to post on Instagram for healthcare.
- Best Time/Day: Tuesday at 8 am
- Most Consistent Engagement: Weekdays from 9 am to 3 pm
- Worst Days for Engagement: Saturday & Sundays have minimal engagement in most industries
What is the best time to post for your industry? – We’ve found that the best time to post for the nursing industry is in the morning between 7-9 am.
How did you figure that out? – We discovered the best post times through trial and error as well as employing commonly known industry knowledge about nurses and student’s behavior and schedules. Nurses and healthcare professionals generally work long shifts that begin fairly early. In addition, nursing students have long days that begin as early as 5am in preparation for clinical and class.
Do you use any third-party analytics tools or just Instagram analytics? – At this time we only use IG analytics as we’ve found them to be fairly comprehensive and insightful.
Do you have any tips for the readers for posting on Instagram for the healthcare industry? – The more content the better, so posting multiple times a day can be extremely helpful for inciting growth and helps engage your audience no matter the time zone. When possible avoid stringent medical jargon as it can be a social media buzz kill. Medical professional like to laugh and socialize too!
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Professional social media services generally post educational content with links to videos, blogs and other platforms. The initial post spikes Instagram followers’ interest then leads them to other forms of content. According to howsociable.com the best time to post on Instagram for professional services is in the early morning because statistics show people prefer consuming this content first thing in the morning.
- Best Time: Anyday between 9 am and 10 pm
- Best Days: Weekdays specifically Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
- Worst Days for Engagement: Saturday & Sundays- Most people do not want to be educated on the weekends.
Spencer X Smith, Founder of AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies provided us with some great insight on posting on Instagram for the Professional Service industry:
What is the best time to post for your industry? – The industries we serve (banking, legal, financial services) find much, much more engagement on Instagram during the Monday – Friday work week than outside of it. It appears people in those industries pay the most attention to work-related posts then, and aren’t as interested during the weekend.
How did you figure that out? – We figured this out by testing our hypothesis and validating the data based on Instagram business accounts we are running or analyzing for clients.
Do you use any third-party analytics tools or just Instagram analytics? – We like Instagram analytics themselves, and also use SocialInsider to benchmark our clients vs. competitors.
Do you have any tips for the readers for posting on Instagram for Professional Service industry? – Focus on highlighting the people at your organization on Instagram. A great photo (headshot, person working in their office environment, etc.) along with a brief story about her/him and what she/he does adds a human-interest element to Instagram posts that your followers will really enjoy. We see much higher engagement on posts highlighting people that those that don’t.
Food & Beverage
Instagram followers obviously love seeing pictures of a delicious meal. It doesn’t take fancy Instagram tools to determine people are likely to engage with food pictures during lunchtime. Most professionals take a break during the middle of the day, so it’s likely engagement will spike during this period of the day. If you’re in the food and beverage space keep scrolling to find the best time to post on Instagram.
- Best Days: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
- Best Hours: Noon- Most people check their phones around lunch time
- Most Engaging Day: Friday kicks off the weekend and plans for reservations spike
- Worst Days for Engagement: Saturday & Sundays
Here’s what Natalie Migilarini from Beautiful Booze Cocktails had to say about posting times for the Food & Beverage Industry:
What is the best time to post for your industry? – Following analytics and copious amounts of research, our team has found that posting around 12 pm in whatever city we are targeting has been ideal. If your target audience is New York City then we have found that 12 pm EST is the best, though if you’re targeting Los Angeles, 12 pm PST is the best time. As a global company we still primarily target New York as our primary audience no matter where we are, so while currently in Portugal, we are posting at 5 pm here.
How did you figure that out? – Oops, I think I answered this in the previous question, however, I started by using the analytics on the Instagram platform. Once I had an idea of what time my audience was mostly online I did some more research to see the best times for different cities and noticed it was different. In the beginning, my audience was primarily in Seattle, though as I wanted to grow I saw that I needed to target the New York audience, which meant altering my posting time accordingly.
Do you use any third-party analytics tools or just Instagram analytics? – We only use Instagram Analytics to measure response and check on alterations in our audience at the moment, however we are always looking for new tools to work with and see if there are additional advantages they may offer.
Do you have any tips for the readers for posting on Instagram for the food & beverage industry? – We have built our business on a method of quality over quantity. Sometimes we will be creating content for days at a time, and in the end usually use around 75% of the content we actually created, as the other 25% isn’t up the standard we have set for ourselves. If you don’t have something great to share, it’s better for your brand image to not post that day. If you are a business we believe in the 80-20 method; this follows an old marketing technique, whereas 20% of the content you share can be pushy ad placement and business forward, and the other 80% of the time your content should be more engaging and fun. This keeps your clientele involved, makes them want to keep following you and putting up with the ads, in order to see the fun stuff.
Travel & Tourism
Not everyone has the means or desire to travel, but that doesn’t mean they won’t interact with the content you’re posting on Instagram about the subject. According to studies, the most engagement with this niche occurs between 11am and 1pm closer to the weekend. Travel & Tourism agencies found the following for the best time to post on Instagram:
- Best Days: Fridays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays
- Most Engaging: Between 11am & 1pm, and between 9am and 10am.
What is the best time to post for your industry? – There are no golden rules, with all the changes with Instagram it’s hard to say when it’s the best time to post. It all depends on your Instagram audience, which countries your followers are from and working out the time difference. You don’t want to be posting content if the majority of your followers are sleeping.
However, I believe evenings work always best as everyone finishes work and sits on Instagram and the European markets are waking up to go to work or getting their coffee breaks for a quick Insta stroll.
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How did you figure that out? – Trial and error. Posting at different times of the day and looking at the stats.
Do you use any third-party analytics tools or just Instagram analytics? – No. Ive only relied on my own personal Instagram analytics, as I said before there’s no actual rule and it’s all dependent on your followers and working out what they interact best with.
Do you have any tips for the readers for posting on Instagram for the travel industry? – Tips I believe help out with Instagram for any post and especially travel industry posts, would be hashtags. Hashtags relating to the image or place you are staying at, so other followers can view your posts according to the hashtags.
Tips from Travel Blogger Stephanie Parker from Big World Small Pockets:
What is the best time to post for your industry? I’ve found the most engagement from posting at 5pm GMT.
How did you figure that out? I used Instagram analytics and personal A/B testing to discover the optimum time to post.
Do you use any third-party analytics tools or just Instagram analytics? Nope! Instagram analytics.
Do you have any tips for the readers for posting on Instagram for the travel industry? Engage, engage, engage! Use the app as much as you can!
How to Find the Best Time to Post on Instagram Through Personal Experimentation
One of the many benefits of having an Instagram business account is the ability to use insights to see when your audience is most active. These Instagram tools will showcase when your Instagram followers are most active so you can tailor posting times accordingly. Posting at these times will maximize reach and engagement thus helping you gain more Instagram followers.
As mentioned before to access Insights you will need an Instagram business profile or Instagram creator profile. The major benefit of switching to a creator profile is gaining access to the Instagram Creator studio dashboard. The Instagram tools on this dashboard include additional audience insights, like advanced data for when your followers are online.
How to Schedule Instagram posts Using the Most Popular Scheduling Tools
Not down to experiment with Instagram posting times for yourself? Don’t have the time to carefully monitor your Instagram engagement, check insights and figure out the best time to post on Instagram? We get it. That’s why popular scheduling tools to take the guesswork out of it and show you the best time to post on Instagram specific to your account.
Finding the best time to post on Instagram can be a chore. Engagement and reach seem to be declining daily, so the pressure of finding the best Instagram posting times and optimizing your content is more important than ever. Like we’ve mentioned above, every account has a unique audience, so finding the best time to post to engage with your Instagram followers was a huge challenge…until now.
Later offers a feature called “Best Time to Post” which, as the name alludes, highlights the best time to post on Instagram for your account specifically. Later automatically calculates the top times that your Instagram followers are active, and when you should schedule for maximum engagement. To use Later to find the best time to post on Instagram, you’ll have to upgrade to one of Later’s business plans which also includes unlimited posts and more starting at $16/month.
Sprout has their own data science team that constantly gathers information from customers. They collected the information above about the best time to post on Instagram and like Later, Sprout Social, shows you the optimal time for your posts.
Sprout Social is unique in its ability to not only show you the best times for posting on Instagram for your account but also can schedule and auto-post your content too. Joel Booth, a Senior Data Scientist at Sprout explained, “The algorithm can look at more messages, more engagements and more factors over a far wider range of time than a person to pinpoint those ideal times to send a message and how those times change week to week.”
Sprout’s offerings give your account the best opportunity to shine and engage with your Instagram followers.
Social Media Success
While the quality of your content is certainly a crucial aspect of being successful on social media, with the addition to the algorithm, timing is the most decisive factor to whether your post is going to be successful or not.
Now that you’ve read our master guide to finding the best time to post on Instagram, you’ll be able to optimize your posts, boost engagement, and gain more followers, no matter the industry.
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