When is the best time of day to post? This is one of the most common questions asked when someone is trying to increase their reach on social media.

With algorithms on both Twitter and Instagram – in addition to Facebook’s now limited reach – getting the most reach out of each and every post is getting more and more important in order to be served to a larger number of people, and posting when your audience is online is one of the easiest ways to do this.

There are many conflicting reports on ‘best time to post’ whenever you google it. Many studies are US-based, which don’t always feel accurate when there are strange 3 am peaks (although, if you really wanted to try to explain this, it could be explained by a massive number of bimodal sleepers turning to social in the middle of the night!)

However, we can look at a few studies around people and their behaviour which might give us better luck, in addition to our own social and Google Analytics data.

Here’s the rundown.

Hungry for social?

Anecdotally, we’ve always known that people are on social media around break times: morning coffee break, lunchtime, afternoon snack, dinnertime.

In fact, the Sensis Social Media report from 2017 highlights that 47% of Aussies who are accessing social networks do it during lunch or breaks.

So, if you’re looking for higher reach, post when people are online looking for a break while they eat, which seems to hover around the windows of 8am, 10am, 12pm, 4pm and 7pm.

Sunrise, sunset

71% of social networking is done during primetime in the evening, with another 39% on last thing before bed.

And it’s not just in the evening: 57% of social networking is done first thing in the morning. If you’d like more eyeballs – aim for the evening or early morning. We’d suggest scheduling it so you don’t need to be working 24 hours a day!

When we combine the fact that 84% of social networking is in the loungeroom and 59% in the bedroom, we can see a clear correlation that downtime for most Aussies includes social networking.

How old is your audience?

Let’s not forget who your audience is: when are they online? The Sensis Social Media report gives us a detailed breakdown into which ages use social networks when.

For example, those under 30 are in the routine of checking their social networking sites during work, while those over 30 will rarely do so. Consider who your audience is an plan your time of day based on this.

Who is your audience?

It’s also useful to keep in mind the social platforms you use: are you mostly on Instagram or Twitter? Different demographics are more likely to use different social networks, so consider this when you’re looking at when to post.

This report breaks down the peak times for each social network, but, as I stated earlier, many reports can be conflicting on the ‘best time of day’. I would recommend taking the reports around platform best times with a grain of salt, considering who your audience is and test to collect your own data to see if it works for your own business.

Your data

While these studies can give us some background information on when your audiences are online, you can also look at your analytics and data to find out. Your audience will be different to someone else’s.

On Facebook, you can head to your analytics, click on ‘Posts’ and check out ‘when your fans are online. Just double check the data is reporting in your local timezone.

The other trick to consider is looking at your Google Analytics and seeing when your website has most traffic – it might just correlate with when your audience is online (I give a breakdown of how to do this here).

The recap

The key things to keep in mind with your time of day posting is to test the following times and see which is most effective for your audience:

    • post when people are eating – focus on lunch time, dinner time and snack time.
    • post around bedtimes – first thing and last thing of the day.
    • know your audience – do they have a specific time they are online or using a specific social network?
  • use your data – look at the data provided by social networks or Google analytics to learn when your audience are online.

Happy posting!

Originally posted March 2016, updated June 2018.

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About Rachel Beaney

Rachel Beaney is an Australian freelance social media specialist with over a decade in digital media. She’s worked with global names like Microsoft, Samsung, News Corp and General Assembly, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping clients solve their business needs with creative and data-driven solutions. Get in touch today to jump on a free consultation call to find out how Rachel can help you.

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