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Kasia Perzyńska

Kasia Perzyńska

1 month ago 5 min read

The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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Kasia Perzyńska

Kasia Perzyńska

The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Data-Backed Study for the UTC time zone)

What is the best time to post on social media? This is a pretty basic question frequently asked by social media beginners.

And this topic has already been covered. There are lots of theories about it, and you can find plenty of articles explaining the science behind the best posting times.

Finding the best time to post seems to be a pretty straightforward task because all you need to do is post when your audience is present on a particular social network.

But to help you skip the guesswork, we’ve decided to look at this topic a little differently and will advise you how you can leverage our tools to boost your social media outcomes.

I’ve pulled the analysis to provide data-backed information about the best posting times on social media for a few chosen business types, specifically, for travel, ecommerce and SaaS industries.

For the sake of this study, I’ve come up with three three topics – and have used the Unamo Social Media Monitoring Tool to see what time of day social media activity for a specific niche is the most intense.

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 10.59.57 AM.png

Travel Niche

But first, answer this question: What are the top three companies that come to mind when you think of the travel industry? For me these are Booking.com, AirBnb and Ryanair, respectively.

So I have included these three brand names as keywords.

And because Unamo is a brand new tool that currently only operates on the British market (but will start monitoring the US market very soon), we have pulled the analysis for the UTC time zone.

With the use of Unamo, you can easily estimate how many mentions for a specific topic have been generated on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during a day, a month or a year (you can set practically any date range). This is called the hourly distribution of mentions.

The hourly distribution of mentions on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram for the travel niche looks like this:

As you can see, this industry receives, on average, the most buzz at 8 PM UTC among all of the social networks.

The chart above shows that 8 PM is the best time to post (on each channel) because that is when the most followers are present on these platforms.

In order to set your posting habits correctly, check your hourly distribution of mentions for the last month or even year. The broader your date range is, the more objective and reliable results become.

It will help you understand at what hours during the day your audience is actually online.

Narrowing the date range, on the other hand, can give you data specific to a seasonal event or any other particular occasion.

Now, let’s split up the channels and focus on each one separately to see if the combined results are precise enough. We will start with the giant network: Facebook.

Facebook

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 2.07.39 PM.png

It turns out, the distribution of Facebook mentions differs from the combined results significantly.

As you can see, the chart looks completely different. Sure, the number of mentions similarly peaks between 8 PM and 9 PM UTC, but the levels of mentions are much more aligned during the day. There is also a visible second spike between noon and 1 PM UTC.

Travel business

Based on the hourly distribution of mentions, we can assume that the best posting times on Facebook are:

  1. 8-9 PM UTC
  2. Noon – 1 PM UTC

Now, let’s look at Twitter to see how it differs from Facebook.

Twitter

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 2.25.13 PM.png

The hourly distribution of mentions graph for Twitter presents results utterly unlike the combined ones and different than the Facebook results, too.

You can see that night hours indicate pretty low activity, and in the morning, activity starts to rapidly grow at 8 and 9 AM. So mentions get the first spike at 11AM and then another (smaller) spike at 1 PM.

In the daytime, mentions maintain similar levels and the third peak happens around 9 PM.

To summarize, based on the hourly distribution of mentions graph, the best posting times on Twitter for the travel niche are:

  1. 11 AM UTC
  2. 1 PM UTC
  3. 9 PM UTC

So if your brand operates in this specific industry, make sure that you post then!

Instagram

Instagram is also a top social network for the travel industry. In general, looking at the number of mentions for this particular niche allows you to see that both Facebook and Instagram hit pretty high activity levels, and this is a clear indication of their importance for this type of business.

Instagram’s chart of mentions is deprived of any sudden falls and growths. The night time is characterized by drops in mentions, and at 6 AM, the numbers smoothly start to grow toward the first peak at 10 AM UTC, and once again at 9 PM UTC.

So, based on the hourly distribution of mentions, the best posting times on Instagram for the travel industry are:

  1. 10 AM UTC
  2. 9 PM UTC

E-commerce

To examine the best times to post on social media for the ecommerce market, I have chosen three keywords representing the biggest online store builders. According to my individual opinion, these are Shopify, Weebly and Wix.com.

And the hourly distribution of mentions for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram combined grows systematically during the daytime and peaks visibly at 8 PM UTC.

How does this graph change when we narrow down the criteria to one specific channel? Have a look:

Facebook

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 4.11.14 PM.png

Facebook’s chart seems to mirror the shape of the combined results; the wave draws similar lines, but the peaks are much more clear.

The distribution of mentions per hour is the most intense at the 9 PM UTC spike, then at 1 PM UTC, and lastly at 9:30 AM UTC.

So posting at these specific times of day will guarantee you the proper reach and engagement.

E-commerce

Based on the hourly distribution of mentions, the best posting times on Facebook are:

  1. 9 PM UTC
  2. 1 PM UTC
  3. 9:30 AM UTC

Twitter

Now we shall set our eyes on the second social giant: Twitter. As you can see on the chart, the Twitter mentions distribution has already lost the shape of the combined results wave.

Twitter shows a sharper line, but you can clearly see when the most mentions come in. The distribution of mentions reaches its highest spike at 3:30 PM UTC, then at 10 PM UTC, and the third peak happens at 1 PM UTC.

E-commerce

Based on the hourly distribution of mentions, the best posting times on Twitter are:

  1. 3:30 PM UTC
  2. 10 PM UTC
  3. 1 PM UTC

Instagram

Now it’s time to look into the third social media network: Instagram. Instagram’s chart also differs from the two previous ones.

Based on Unamo’s hourly distribution of mentions chart, we can assume that the best times to post on Instagram during the day are visibly:

  1. 5 PM UTC
  2. 1 PM UTC.

Now we have a clear picture of the best posting times for the travel and ecommerce business. Let’s dive into the last niche to finish up our investigation.

 

SaaS Industry

At first glance, you can notice that among all the media channels, Twitter brought in the most mentions last month. This means that Twitter has been the best performing and most active network for the SaaS business for this period.

According to last year’s total, SaaS companies have collected the most mentions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at 9 PM, then between noon and 1 PM, and finally at 9 AM to 10 AM.

Based on the chart below, you can assume that these are the top three hours of the day when posting on social media might be the most profitable in terms of reach and engagement. It’s during these three hours that the most active audiences are online.

Hourly_distribution_of_mentions_SaaS_Business.png

So, on average, for all the social media networks – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – these are the best positing hours for SaaS business.

Let’s now delve into each channel separately to see if the times indeed overlap.

Facebook

Once again, I’ve marked “Facebook” instead of “All” in the Overview section.

And what happens now?

The Facebook chart looks slightly different. You can see below that 9 AM is still one of the best times for Saas companies to gain mentions, but now it occurs to be the most important hour for posting on Facebook overall, too.

The second best time to post is 4 PM UTC, and then in third place, with a visibly worse outcome, is 9 PM.

SaaS

Based on the hourly distribution of mentions, the best times to post on Facebook are:

  1. 9 AM UTC
  2. 4 PM UTC
  3. 9 PM UTC

 

Twitter

Because Twitter is the leading social network for the SaaS business, the following data is essential if you want your Tweets to reach their fullest potential.

The hourly distribution of mentions on Twitter overlaps with the average results: 9 PM UTC is in the lead and 1 PM follows.

Between 9 AM and 10 AM the rise in the number of mentions is visible, but there are two additional, intriguing peaks as well. One peak occurs at midnight and another one at 3 AM.

SaaS

Based on the hourly distribution of mentions, the best times to post on Twitter are:

  1. 9 PM UTC
  2. Noon – 1 PM UTC
  3. Midnight
  4. 3 AM UTC
  5. 9 AM UTC

And because social updates on Twitter live a really brief life (depending on how many users you follow, your board may move quickly), you should leverage any occasion to post something truly engaging.

Interestingly, Wiselytics has analyzed a million successful Tweets (that hit around 10 retweets each), and they noticed that the half-life of a Tweet is 24 minutes. Moz also researched this and states that a Tweet’s prime of life lasts 18 minutes.

Instagram

Instagram is the last performing channel for this specific industry. The most mentions for this network and time zone happen at 4 AM. Just take a look at the graph below.

Does this mean that you should post on Instagram at 4 AM?

Not necessarily. Instagram’s nature is different than Twitter’s. Here your posts have a much longer lifespan, so posting once a day for any SaaS business (which is not always a visual business) is perfect and will ensure your post gets a decent amount of attention.

What matters is the quality of the photos you post. This is critical. Instagram users scroll through their feeds quickly and will only stop to look at a picture that’s attention-grabbing.

To make them stop over your content, you must deliver beautiful, high-quality, outstanding visuals. According to Sprout Social, top brands’ posts get 50% of the engagement within the first six hours and 75% within 48 hours. But the best performing content by the same brands sees its peak later; it takes more than 13 hours to reach 50% of engagement.

Moreover, the same resource advises you to post on Mondays and Thursdays, as Instagram audiences tend to be more engaged then.

So whatever posting time on Instagram you choose, always keep in mind that high-quality visuals have a longer lifespan.

Targeting Different Time Zones (Like the US)

Apart from this analysis, it’s important to talk about how to target all the different time zones at once with your social media efforts.

This time we’ll focus on targeting the US market. There are four time zones in the US:

  • PT – Pacific Time Zone
  • MT – Mountain Time Zone
  • CT – Central Time Zone
  • ET – Eastern Time Zone

According to Coschedule’s article, 50% of the U.S. population is in the Eastern Time Zone. What is more, the Eastern and the Central time zones combined represent almost 80% of the U.S. population.

So it turns out, these are the two most important time zones to consider when targeting the United States.

Nevertheless, you should still check Facebook Insights, the Google Analytics Audience Demographic Report and Twitter Analysis to understand where your website visitors and fans come from before you set any posting times for your blog or social media..

Facebook Insights:

Facebook_Insights.png

Google Analytics → Audience → Geo →

Google_Analytics_Geo_Location.png

Twitter Analytics

Audience_insights_Twitter.png

This will help you target your followers’ time zones well.

If you need any additional support setting your posting times, you can also rely on tools created specifically for detecting when your audiences are online. These tools will automatically generate a report with the best hours to post for weekdays and weekends.

From time to time, I use Tweriod to check the best posting times for Twitter.

Free_Tweriod_Analysis_Unamo.png

And it’s working really well.

There are also other tools, like Followerwonk, that you can test out on a free trial. This tool helps you sort all of your Twitter follows & followers by name, days on Twitter, Tweet count, and more. It also lets you analyze your own followers or the followers of any account you please.

Followerwonk maps locations of your followers in a really user friendly and readable way:

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 3.44.05 PM.png

It breaks down the activity of your followers according to the most active hours:

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 3.44.15 PM.png

And provides you with the most active hours for your Twitter account.

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 3.44.36 PM.png

Quite useful, isn’t it? 🙂

The last tool worth mentioning is Fanpage Karma. It analyzes the performance of any social networks, including Instagram and Pinterest. There are many ways you can play with it and compare yourself with competitors as well.

Ok, that’s all for today.

To recap, here are the best posting times for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for these chosen industries:

 

Travel business

Based on the hourly distribution of mentions,
the best posting times on Facebook are:
  1. 8-9 PM UTC
  2. Noon – 1 PM UTC
the best posting times on Twitter are:
  1. 11 AM UTC
  2. 1 PM UTC
  3. 9 PM UTC
the best posting times on Instagram are:
  1. 10 AM UTC
  2. 9 PM UTC

E-commerce

Based on the hourly distribution of mentions,
the best posting times on Facebook are:
  1. 9 PM UTC
  2. 1 PM UTC
  3. 9:30 AM UTC
the best posting times on Twitter are:
  1. 3:30 PM UTC
  2. 10 PM UTC
  3. 1 PM UTC
the best times to post on Instagram are:
  1. 5 PM UTC
  2. 1 PM UTC.

SaaS

Based on the hourly distribution of mentions,
the best times to post on Facebook are:
  1. 9 AM UTC
  2. 4 PM UTC
  3. 9 PM UTC
the best times to post on Twitter are:
  1. 9 PM UTC
  2. Noon – 1 PM UTC
  3. Midnight
  4. 3 AM UTC
  5. 9 AM UTC

Also published on Medium.

Written by
Kasia Perzyńska

Kasia Perzyńska

Content Marketing Manager; Editor at Unamo

Kasia is a content marketer with two years of experience in the SEO universe. Doing some marketing for the awesome Unamo!

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