To understand the best times to post on Instagram it’s important to understand how Instagram has evolved. The network’s popularity grew as the first visual-only social media platform. People shared images of their food, travels, outfits and events. And after the introduction of Instagram Business Profiles, the platform has made it easier for users to tag brands, restaurants and venues. This made Instagram a valuable visual marketing tool for brands and businesses alike. That’s why knowing the best times to post on Instagram can be a huge benefit to your social media content strategy.
Now, with features like Instagram shopping and Guides, businesses from startups to corporations as well as influencer brands, can harness the power of Instagram to capture their audience’s attention. And as a platform for discovery of brands, products or services, it’s important to get high-quality photos and content in front of potential consumers’ eyes at the right time.
If you’re interested in learning how to identify your best times to post on Instagram and other social profiles, start a free trial of Sprout Social and test our ViralPost® feature with your profiles.
- What are the best times to post on Instagram?
- What are the best times to post on Instagram by industry?
- How to find your own best times to post on social media
- How we gathered the data
Best Times to Post on Instagram
- Best times to post on Instagram: Monday at 11 a.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to noon
- Best days to post on Instagram: Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- Worst days to post on Instagram: Sunday
Instagram has seen incredible growth in the last two years and reached 2 billion monthly users as of early 2022. While the competition for short-form video content from TikTok is heating up, there’s no denying the staying power of Instagram, especially as it rolls out new features and enhances existing ones. Instagram Video has taken new life and expanded to 60 minute videos, and Reels have made it easier to create and discover videos on the app.
Similar to Facebook, Instagram’s top times to post grew compared to last year. Midday engagement during weekdays became denser with top times ranging between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., while evenings and weekends still showed increased opportunities for engagement.
If you’re looking to amplify your own Instagram strategy, use these best times to post data and check out our guide on getting the most out of your Instagram presence.
Best Times to Post on Instagram by Industry
Being armed with the best times to post on Instagram is a great start to any social media content calendar, it’s important to see how the data translates to your specific industry. With the help of our Data Science team, we were able to capture the best times to post on Instagram within ten industries.
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Consumer Goods
- Best times to post on Instagram for Consumer Goods: Sundays 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
- Best days to post on Instagram for Consumer Goods: Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Consumer Goods: Saturdays
Consumer goods industry covers a large portfolio of products, including food and non-food categories, ranging from food and beverages to clothing and footwear and everything in between. Despite a nearly 5% increase in the demand for consumer packaged goods in the US, social media engagement of consumer goods was relatively low.
Even though most weekdays saw some engagement on Instagram, the best times to post were Sunday afternoons starting at 3 p.m. into the evening. Saturdays had the lowest engagement for this industry.
Consumer goods social media resources
- How to master social media for retail and win more customers
- How to set ecommerce social media up for success
- Mobile commerce: what it is and why you should care
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Education
- Best times to post on Instagram for Education: Tuesdays at 10 a.m.
- Best days to post on Instagram for Education: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Education: Sundays
Higher education and educational institutions saw a new day for engagement opportunities on Instagram compared to last year. Fridays had the highest engagement days of engagement last year, but it’s now shifted to Tuesdays starting at 10 a.m. CST and going through the afternoon.
From highlighting student life to sharing school updates, a social media strategy for education needs to fulfill multiple functions. Keep in mind that some schools manage multiple social profiles (per college, athletics, etc.) to meet these needs and effectively target distinct audiences at the right time.
Higher education social media resources
- University branding: How to build your school’s brand on social media
- Higher ed playbook: Using social to unite your university
- 12 Ways to use social media for education
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Finance
- Best times to post on Instagram for Finance: Wednesdays at 6 a.m.
- Best days to post on Instagram for Finance: Wednesdays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Finance: Thursdays through Sundays
For social engagements with financial institutions, we noticed that Instagram wasn’t the best platform for engagement. This may be due to the highly regulated nature of the finance industry or, after performing their own social testing, businesses found their audiences aren’t looking for banking information on Instagram.
Finance social media resources
- 6 Social media tips for banks and financial institutions
- How social media drives cryptocurrency for users & brands
- Navigating social media compliance across regulated industries
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Healthcare
- Best times to post on Instagram for Healthcare: Thursdays at 7 a.m.
- Best days to post on Instagram for Healthcare: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Healthcare: Mondays
Healthcare services and institutions have spent the last few years with an overwhelming challenge responding to global audiences. As the pandemic went into its second year and vaccines were being distributed, engagement with healthcare institutions on Instagram dropped significantly compared to last year.
The most engagement on Instagram for healthcare started Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. and waned by noon. However, there was still engagement experienced all throughout the week. With healthcare engagement up on other social platforms in 2021, we can assume audiences were looking for answers to their questions on other platforms, such as Twitter.
Healthcare social media resources
- Social media and healthcare: how to prioritize what patients need
- Why healthcare orgs should invest in social listening, stat
- Supporting HIPAA Compliance on social: a cheat sheet
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Hospitality
- Best times to post on Instagram for Hospitality: Thursdays at 11 a.m., Friday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Best days to post on Instagram for Hospitality: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Hospitality: Wednesdays
Hotels and hospitality brands saw a moderate shift in Instagram engagement times. Engagement used to be higher on Fridays throughout the day and into the evening, but we see slightly less engagement Friday mornings on Instagram.
Current best time to post on Instagram for hospitality is Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is Instagram engagement throughout the week and the highest days of engagement are Thursdays and Fridays.
Hospitality social media resources
- Sprout for travel and hospitality: Deliver a five-star experience on social
- Social Spotlight: Hilton’s pandemic strategy proves the business value of social
- How Loews Hotels & Co succeeds at scale with Sprout Social’s all-in-one platform
- When to create separate social media accounts for your multilocation business [Free Worksheet]
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Media
- Best times to post on Instagram for Media: Tuesdays at 10 and 11 a.m.
- Best days to post on Instagram for Media: Mondays through Thursdays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Media: Saturdays
Engagement for media or journalistic industry accounts was consistent from early weekday morning hours through the afternoons. This could reflect global users’ tendency to check in for longer sessions, including watching and reacting to Instagram Stories. However, we see moderate to high Instagram engagement for the media industry Mondays through Thursdays from 4 a.m. through 4 p.m.
Media social media resources
- Social media and journalism: how to effectively reach the public
- How to supercharge your media relations strategy with social
- 9 visual journalists changing the way we tell stories with data
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Nonprofit
- Best times to post on Instagram for Nonprofits: Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sundays at 9 a.m.
- Best days to post on Instagram for Nonprofits: Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Nonprofits: Saturdays
Nonprofits saw similar engagement on Instagram compared to last year. Our data for the best times to post on Instagram for nonprofits shows solid engagement throughout the week during US business hours as well as weekend mornings, but the best times for engagement are Wednesdays from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m.
Even with this consistent audience engagement, it’s important for nonprofits to test their own best times to post. Whether it’s through AB social testing or using Sprout’s Optimal Send Times feature, you can find what works best for your organization and test which platforms your target audience is on the most.
Nonprofit social media resources
- How Sprout Social helps not-for-profits transform awareness into action
- A strategic guide to social media for nonprofits
- Turning moments into momentum: How nonprofits can leverage #GivingTuesday year-round
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Restaurants
- Best times to post on Instagram for Restaurants: Wednesdays 10 a.m. to noon
- Best days to post on Instagram for Restaurants: Wednesdays and Thursdays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Restaurants: Saturdays and Sundays
In 2021, restaurants continued to deal with online orders, curbside or delivery services, outdoor seating, and limited indoor dining. Communicating changes with employees and diners was important as local ordinances fluctuated throughout the year.
Instagram engagement for restaurants and bars were unevenly distributed but saw higher engagement starting on Wednesdays at 10 a.m through noon and tapering off closer to the weekends. Keep in mind that different platforms offer a unique way for businesses to connect with their customers. Offering unique promotions and updates suited for each platform will keep your restaurant in mind for potential customers.
Restaurant social media resources
- The complete guide to social media for restaurants & bars
- Social media marketing for franchise businesses
- How to effectively run a multi-location review management strategy
- Social Spotlight: How Tim Hortons puts people first in its social strategy
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Tech
- Best times to post on Instagram for Tech: Wednesdays at 8 a.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m.
- Best days to post on Instagram for Tech: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Tech: Sundays
In the last year alone, tech companies – including SaaS, software and B2B – have seen growth in social media engagement on both Facebook and Twitter. Social platforms are incredibly effective for staying in touch with current customers, allowing brands to create a community around their products and offer meaningful customer care.
It might be surprising to see that software and tech had a large number of engagement times on Instagram. However, it’s a perfect fit for tech companies and B2B brands to highlight creative visual content such as infographic and reports.
Tech social media resources
- How to put together a top-tier SaaS marketing strategy
- 5 stats for social media marketers in the software industry
- 4 overlooked B2B market research methods for understanding your customers
Best Times to Post on Instagram for Travel and Tourism
- Best times to post on Instagram for Travel & Tourism: Wednesdays at noon
- Best days to post on Instagram for Travel & Tourism: Wednesdays, Fridays
- Worst days to post on Instagram for Travel & Tourism: Sundays
Travel and tourism industries still saw a decline in engagement on Instagram as many travel restrictions were lifted in 2021. Whether it was participating in “virtual” tourism, local exploration or discovering new destinations, our data shows that audiences were less responsive to engagement efforts by travel and tourism brands.
On Instagram, there was primarily higher engagement on Wednesdays throughout the US workday and the highest engagement being at noon. Fridays are the second highest days of Instagram engagement for travel and tourism businesses, starting at 9 a.m. through noon.
Travel and tourism social media resources
- How to set up a travel social media marketing strategy
- Hello from the outside: Exploring the great outdoors while staying close to home
- The ultimate social media for museums guide
How to find your own best times to post on social media
Social marketers can plan content more effectively when they’re armed with data on the top times to post across social networks. Still, as platforms evolve with how brands and consumers are using social, there are new ways to innovate interactions all the time. New content formats and trends might help you reach your audience in unexpected ways, or even find new segments and personas you weren’t focusing on before.
More tips for content scheduling and social strategies
- Building your social media marketing strategy for 2022
- How to craft an effective social media content strategy
- 20 social media ideas to keep your brand’s feed fresh
- Creating a 30-day social media plan
While posting at peak engagement times is a go-to strategy, a detailed analysis of your audience might reveal less busy times when your specific audience is active, but competitors are not. A tool like Sprout Social can help you dig into your own analytics and develop tailored findings for your accounts to complement the wide range of data across industries we’ve surveyed here.
With Sprout’s tools like post tagging and cross-channel reporting, you can separate different factors like network or types of media and drill down into how your posting time influenced your social success.
Sprout’s very own ViralPost® algorithm uses the same types of data we’ve looked at across all our customer accounts to determine the best time to post for your individual account. ViralPost® algorithmically determines the results for our Optimal Send Times feature, a publishing option on our Professional and Advanced plans.
With Optimal Send Times, the specific times that your own audience engages the most are identified based on your publishing history. ViralPost® also continually updates and refines to save you time from doing repeated analyses yourself.
Want to see it in action? Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Sprout Social.
If you’re looking for more of our findings from this year’s study of our customer data, see what we learned about the best times to post on social media including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
How we gathered the data
We understand that these reports can raise questions about just where the data is coming from. That’s why we want to be clear about the data we pulled and how we got here.
First off, we were lucky enough to work with Sprout Social’s very own data science team to gather this information from our customers. Joel Booth, a Senior Data Scientist at Sprout, explained how it all works.
“Sprout integrates with the different social media platforms via their API, which allows the application to receive messages on behalf of our customers,” Booth said. “Essentially, this is how we power features such as Sprout’s Smart Inbox and Reports.”
Now’s the time to test your content calendar. Are you posting when your followers are most active? Start your free trial of Sprout Social and discover your best times to post on social media today.
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