When is the best time to post on Instagram in 2021? [Cheat Sheet]

In high school, a friend of mine was determined to find the perfect time to post her Instagram photos to maximize the number of likes she was getting. She was surprisingly scientific about it, posting at different times of the day and noting “likes per minute” for each of her posts.

After weeks of testing, she determined which post time had the most likes, and from there, she could easily get 200 likes across all of her Instagram posts.

My friend’s rather scientific method of maximizing her likes on Instagram still makes me laugh to this day. But since I’m a marketer now, her desire to build a strong Instagram presence also resonates with me.

To create an important Instagram account, you need to create compelling content that your audience really wants. But if you don’t publish your content at the right time, most of them will never see it.

So how do you determine the optimal post time for your specific audience?

The best way to find a perfect post time is to test your posts sync to see which post time generates the most audience engagement.

But if you don’t have enough resources or time to run your own tests, Sprout Social, a social media management platform with over 20,000 customers, has you covered. Last year, they analyzed their customer data to see what time and day their social media posts generated the most engagement.They also segmented the data by social media and industry.

Looking at their aggregated customer data for Instagram, you can see that the following days and times – Central Daylight Saving Time (CDT) – are ideal for driving the most engagement on the social network:

As noted above, while 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. is considered the best time of day to post on Instagram, the day of the week you post can change the level of engagement you actually get by 10. a.m. to 3 p.m.

Why? Think about the small differences in your daily mood and routine – the ones you might not realize – and how they affect your behavior. The same goes for everyone who follows your Instagram account. Here is some more information on the optimal timing of publications from data by Sprout Social to show you what I mean:

  • Posting at 7:00 a.m. CDT Wednesday through Friday generates some of the highest engagement – people typically check their phones as soon as they wake up.
  • Posting 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. CDT on weekdays also generates a lot of engagement – people typically check their phones during lunch or when they start to run out of mental energy towards the end of the workday.
  • If you want to post on weekends, post on Saturdays around 10:00 am CDT when people are having brunch or going out with their friends.

So when creating Instagram, don’t rely on this time slot alone. Consider both the day of the week and the industry you’re in (we’ll talk about the latter in a minute).

On average, here are the best times for Instagram during the week in each time zone around the world:

* = particularly high levels of commitment

Want easy market orders based on this data? Post on Instagram between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. This will give you the most consistent engagement.

Need a visual to develop a strategy? Check it out Sprout Social graphic that shows the hot spots of Instagram’s overall engagement.

Sprout Social's Global Instagram Engagement

Source: Sprout Social

The general data above on optimal post timing is a great starting point for building an engaged Instagram audience. But if you want to get more specific, here are the best times to post on Instagram if your organization is in tech, B2C, education, healthcare, and nonprofit, according to Sprout Social Research.

Best times to post on Instagram for tech companies

  • Best time: Wednesday at 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. CDT, Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  • Most consistent commitment: Tuesday evening to Wednesday afternoon, Friday midnight to 10 p.m. CDT
  • Best day: Wednesday
  • Worst day: Sunday

Best times to post on Instagram for B2C businesses

  • Best time: Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. CDT
  • Most consistent commitment: Tuesday to Friday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. CDT
  • Best day: Wednesday
  • Worst day: Sunday

Best times to post on Instagram for educational organizations

  • Best time: Friday at 10:00 a.m. CDT
  • Most consistent commitment: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CDT
  • Best day: Friday
  • Worst day: Sunday

Best times to post on Instagram for healthcare companies

  • Best time: Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. CDT
  • Most consistent engagement: Will depend on audience location and business niche
  • Best day: Tuesday
  • Worst day: Saturday and Sunday

Best times to post on Instagram for nonprofits

  • Best moments: Tuesday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. CDT
  • Most consistent engagement: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT
  • Best day: Wednesday
  • Worst day: Sunday

The audience for each brand is different. To build a large and engaged Instagram audience, you need to know who your followers are. And one of the best ways to get to know your audience and capture their attention is to know exactly when they like to surf the app.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in February 2018, but has been updated for completeness and freshness on January 28, 2021.

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