How To Optimize Posting Times For Your Instagram
It’s all about timing…
Have you noticed lower engagement rates on your Instagram posts over the past few weeks? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are a lot of accounts suffering from the same problem and it’s likely due to an update to the Instagram algorithm or a deeper issue with your content (to learn more about that, read this article on why your Instagram account isn’t growing).
In either case, it’s important to begin tweaking your Instagram growth activities to identify the problem and find the solution. In most cases, the activity that’ll be the most simple to first tweak to begin to see positive engagement and growth results will be optimizing the time at which you post on your account.
Why? Instagram’s algorithm heavily favors surfacing content that gets above-average engagement from your audience within the first few moments after it’s posted (read this article on how the Instagram algorithm works if you want to understand why). Unless you’re optimizing your posting time for the time of day when the highest percentage of your audience is on the app and most likely to engage with your posts, you’re much more likely to consistently post at times when fewer of your followers are on Instagram, fewer of them see your posts, fewer of them engage with them early on and, because of that, both your posts and your account are downgraded by the algorithm (which will lower all of your other growth stats).
Alright, so how do you optimize your posting times? The process breaks down into two main steps — first, identify at what time the largest percentage of your audience is on the app, and second, make sure you’re posting at those times.
1. How to identify at what time the largest percentage of your audience is on Instagram:
If you’re starting from scratch, a simple and free tool that will give you a good idea of what times and days get the most engagement is Squarelovin. Their optimization analytics are much more specific than Instagram’s Insights and it’ll take you less than 5 minutes to get what you’re looking for. Here’s an example of what my engagement times look like:
Now that you know the most highly engaged windows, you need to consistently post at those times in order to optimize your engagement.
2. How to hit your post-times consistently:
The biggest roadblock when trying to post consistently at specific times is actually doing it. Using apps to remind yourself when to post and having to stop everything you’re doing several times a day to stick to that schedule is very disruptive to your work-flow. OnlyPult makes it painless for you to stick to your daily posting times by allowing you to create and schedule your posts from your web browser ahead of time, then uploads them directly to your Instagram, so you don’t have to. To make the best use of your time, plan to schedule all of your content once a day (or even once a week) and then use their “Publish Time and Day” feature to post during your most engaged-with times.
It’s as easy as that!
Once you have your system down, continue to optimize for engagement by frequently testing new posting times every few weeks and measuring if they generate higher engagement. If they do, those are likely your new optimal times. User behaviors, and Instagram’s algorithm, will always change and the best way to adapt is through continual testing.