When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2024? [Cheat Sheet]

When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2024? [Cheat Sheet]

If you want to find the best time to post on Instagram, you’re probably trying to get the highest engagement. Whatever your specific goal (likes, followers), posting when your content will get the most eyes can only benefit your marketing, so I’m glad you’re here.

New Data: Instagram Engagement Report [Free Download]

If you’re new to social media, you may think you should just start posting at different times of day and document your performance post-by-post — but that’s pretty labor-intensive and unnecessarily time-consuming.

There’s gotta be an easier way to figure out when to post on Instagram.

That‘s where we come in. In this post, you’ll find everything you need to start posting at the best times on the popular social media platform, all backed by our 2024 Social Trends Report and other new HubSpot research.

Table of Contents

Graphic showing the best times to post content to six of the top social media channels in 2024, including Instagram.

The times above are for Instagram engagement in local time — meaning that your audience is in the same time zone as you are when you post.

So, if you live in Los Angeles and your primary audience is also in Los Angeles, you would post at the times above. However, if you live in Los Angeles and your target audience is in New York, you’ll want to shift these posting times three hours forward.

Keep this in mind when updating your social media content calendar.

Worst Time to Post on Instagram

So, now that we‘ve established when the sweet spot for posting on Instagram is, let’s take a closer look at when it isn’t. The HubSpot Blog recently asked 697 global Instagram marketers across B2B and B2C industries about the best (and not-so-best) times and days to post on the channel.

According to those findings, the worst time to post on Instagram is between the hours of 6 AM and 8:59 AM and the worst days are Mondays and Tuesdays. This was across B2B and B2C verticals and consistent with results from 2023.

In this chart, you can see the lowest Instagram engagement rates were actually between 6 and 9 AM globally at that time, which isn’t surprising.

Bar graph showing the average rate of engagement on Instagram for each hour of the day.

No matter where they are, most people are likely just waking up, eating breakfast, commuting, or getting their days started at this time — and you can’t hit “like” in the shower or in between bites of toast.

So night owls, you can rest assured. There’s no need to wake up early to post that Instagram collaboration.

(While social media management software and Instagram itself enable you to schedule posts in advance, this marketer is still waiting for them to support the collaboration feature. Sigh.)

Best Time to Post to Instagram Cheatsheet

Table/schedule showing the best average times to post to Instagram each day of the week.

How We Found the Best Instagram Posting Times

The data in this article comes from three sources.

First is HubSpot’s 2023 Instagram Engagement report. This extensive report reviewed 110M posts across 1M Instagram users. The report also has several sections specific to English-speaking countries. They analyzed data from close to 85M posts from North America alone.

This post also contains more original 2024 research from the HubSpot Blog team. We surveyed 697 professionals across B2B and B2C about their preferred days and times to post on Instagram.

We also included some data from our 2024 Social Trends Report — where we asked 1,460 social media marketers from across the globe about their biggest trends, goals, challenges, and strategies going into 2024.

Why post on Instagram at a certain time?

I know for many marketers, social media posting is just one more thing to do on a busy day. It can be tempting to post whenever it‘s convenient or seems logical, even if there isn’t any data to back it up.

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to post to Instagram at specific and consistent times.

Increasing Reach

According to eMarketer, US adults spend at least 33 minutes a day on Instagram. That’s about 15 hours a month. So, posting when your top users are online will make a difference.

It will be more likely your content gets seen, increasing its reach to existing followers — but also new folks. This graphic from a machine learning engineer outlines some of the factors in helping new users discover your posts.

Graphic of a purple arrow depicting the criteria/flow of how Instagram typically recommends content on the platform.

Image Source

One of those factors is engagement. Posting content when your followers are active can boost engagement (more on that next) which, in turn, increases the chances that new users will discover your account and posts on the platform.

Check out this post for more tips on how to grow your reach on Instagram. This post from the Instagram blog also outlines how important fresh and recent content is.

Increasing Engagement

According to HubSpot’s research, the global average Instagram engagement rate was 6% in 2023, a slight increase from the year prior.

Instagram engagement has a ripple effect, like throwing a rock in a still pool. The first ripple is obvious — if you get immediate likes, comments, and saves after posting, your post will likely appear in more feeds.

Image showing what Instagram “Search” results for the term “space” look like on a mobile device.

Image Source

The next ripples come from other Instagram features like Favorites, Shopping, and Search & Explore. Each feature has an independent algorithm and weighs engagement differently.

For example, becoming a “Favorite” for your followers means your posts show at the top of their feeds every time they log in.

On the other hand, engagement rates and behavior factor into which posts get bumped to the top of Explore pages. Posting at the right time doesn’t just mean more comments, messages, and saves. It creates more opportunities for engagement.

Building a Loyal Audience

Loyalty takes time and effort to build. It’s especially tough for small businesses that have to compete with big brands on social media. Fortunately, posting during peak times on Instagram helps you reach more of your audience and start building that relationship.

Building loyalty is more than great products and customer service, however. It’s also about reliability. Posting at peak times helps establish a consistent presence in your followers’ lives and sets expectations of when they can hear from you.

For example, say you run your media business in the Pacific time zone, but a third of your customers are in the Australian Eastern time zone.

If you post all your content from 9 AM – 5 PM PST, those posts will appear between 3-11 AM for your Australian customers and many won’t see them.

And what if an unhappy customer in Australia posts a story about your brand that you miss? That one miss could shape that entire audience’s perception of your business.

Understanding when your audience is online can be key to meeting them where they are and fostering brand loyalty.

Testing New Algorithms

Like most online tools, Instagram launches regular updates to improve its user experience. As a business, your team needs to quickly understand how each update could impact your users and adapt your strategy. This is especially true of algorithm updates.

Algorithms are complex. Instagram leaders say that each part of the app uses an independent algorithm, and they aren’t always transparent about what they entail.

If you’re lucky, social media analysts will do the research and share them online quickly, but if not, you can do your own by monitoring your post performance.

What do you need to run reliable and useful tests to help you understand which content your users see after an update? Number one is a consistent posting schedule. The fewer variables your test has, the more trustworthy your results will be.

Posting at the best times for your audience on Instagram will get you in front of the largest audience and give you more data to work off of.

Understanding New Features

Your posting schedule can also help you understand new Instagram features. Carousels, Stories, and Reels are all unique parts of Instagram, and depending on your content and industry, they’ll have different rates of engagement.

When Instagram releases new features like these, it can take time to understand:

  • What the new feature does
  • When users see new features
  • How they interact with each new feature
  • Resources needed for feature content

The sooner you understand a new feature, the more likely it is that you’ll make the most of that feature before your competitors. For example, this post on the Instagram blog tells users how to see more of what they want on their feeds.

Like testing an algorithm update, knowing the top posting times for your niche can help you test them for your users faster. Social testing is most useful when you know your test audience, which makes posting time important.

Streamlining Your Posting Schedule

Knowing the best times for your audience can make it much easier to schedule your posts.

Many social media and marketing managers take advantage of social scheduling tools. While these tools can make the process of social media posting much easier, it can be tough to get results if you’re not posting at the right times.

It’s all about creating the right content at the right time for your audience — and set posting times can also help you create a more personalized social media calendar for your buyer personas.

Here are a few more ways that choosing the best posting times for Instagram can help you simplify your posting schedule:

  • Creates focused times for content planning and tracking
  • Limits the need for “always on” social media management
  • Offers opportunities to batch-create targeted post content

Finding Your Best Customers

Instagram allows users to make direct purchases, but it’s also an invaluable lead generation and brand awareness tool that can lead to sales.

But how can the best posting times help you find prospective shoppers? By meeting them when they’re active and paying attention.

If you are new to your industry, the industry-specific posting times below can help you understand when your users are online to actually see your content.

For example, people in financial services are easiest to reach on Instagram on Sunday nights. This is just before the next work week begins. It may be a way to wind down the weekend and prepare for what the next week will bring.

Workers in agriculture are easier to reach on Saturday mornings and mostly skip Instagram during the week. These professionals might be in spots with limited service during the week. Safety is also a concern, so it may be difficult for them to use mobile devices while on the job.

You can also block out these times on your schedule to engage with users who follow your business. Comment on posts, ask authentic questions, and watch videos from your target audience.

These times are when the biggest pool of your users is active online, so it’s the best time to start a conversation.

It‘s easy to send a message on Instagram, but not every message gets a response. If you can be there to engage in real-time, you’ll get much more value from the time you spend on the platform. You’ll also have a better chance of connecting with top customers.

Is there really a “best time” to post to Instagram?

It‘s clear that posting time matters on Instagram. But is there really a best time to post to get the results you’re looking for? To answer this question, let’s hear from some members of the HubSpot social media team.

Content Quality

It can be tempting to churn out content to meet ambitious deadlines in the hopes that the right customers see your posts. But content quality is what creates the most value for your audience.

Brand Social Media Manager at Guild and Former HubSpotter Mathew Cruz says,

“It sounds obvious, but making your content as engaging and optimized as possible for the platform it’s being published on is key. ”

So, begin each post with the best possible content, then optimize to make sure that followers get to feel the impact of your efforts.

“Start with your target audience, and what types of content and information is most useful to them. What kind of content might they save for later? What might they share with a friend? What might incentivize them to comment on your content? Start with these questions and work backwards in order to improve your reach and performance.”

Annabelle Nyst, Principle Social Media Content Manager, G-P

Image of three mobile devices, each showing different Instagram Story content from three different creators.

You can also get some inspiration from top influencers and brands on the platform.

Another way to create quality content is to line up with recent trends and news. But this strategy isn’t the right fit for everyone. Here’s more useful advice from Annabelle Nyst:

“When it comes to posting around tentpole moments, events, and trending conversations, you should ask yourself: Does this make sense for my brand to be a part of this conversation? Are we adding value here?”

Instagram’s Algorithm

The best posting time isn‘t really about when you post, it’s about when you want users to see your content. But that’s up to the algorithms that are unique to each part of Instagram.

So, the care you put into posting time is only one part of a more complex system that delivers your content to people on the platform.

According to Mathew Cruz: “Instagram’s algorithm and UX changes have made an impact on the effectiveness of posting at specific times. Unless your users are consuming their content in the ‘following’ view, the time your audience will see your content can vary.”

To optimize the chances that people will see and engage with your content, check out these tips:

“Look at what the Instagram algorithm appears to be prioritizing at any given moment – for example, Reels. We know that Instagram has been leaning into Reels as a format in order to compete with TikTok, so how can you incorporate Reels into your strategy?

The more you adhere to what Instagram wants to see, the more the algorithm will favor you. Also, always optimize for value and engagement first.” – Annabelle Nyst

Image of three mobile devices, each showing different Instagram features. The first two show Shopping, while the last shows an example of a Reel.

“With Instagram, understanding the UX and algorithm changes can be more effective in strategizing content publishing rather than simply timing.

For example, with Instagram’s shift to pushing video over images, the types of content you choose to create and publish may impact the chances of it being pushed out to users.

Additionally, feeding the algorithm with what your content is about helps it know where it should go. For example, adding relevant captions, hashtags, and sounds can help increase chances of it appearing on the feeds of users that enjoy specific types of content.” – Mathew Cruz

Content Consistency

Social Strategy and Analytics Marketing Manager Erin McCool says: “Quality and consistency of content is more important than timing.”

Consistency is key to taking advantage of social media opportunities. Whether you’re amplifying your stories at the same time each week or posting with branded hashtags, a steady schedule is essential.

If you don‘t have a clear brand voice on Instagram, you won’t reach a wider audience — it‘s as simple as that. Without consistency, it’s unlikely that users will recognize and connect your content to your brand no matter how many times they see it.

So, don’t just post at the best times. Use the best times to post as a guide for a consistent posting schedule. This strategy can help you reach the right audience at the right time with the right content.

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Time Zone/Region

Your location can heavily influence the success of your social media marketing strategy. Audiences behave differently depending on where they are in the world, and you can benefit from knowing when they’re most active on Instagram.

You know that evenings tend to be the best time to post to Instagram for engagement. But how do you make that happen if your audience lives in multiple time zones?

This is where you need to decide the best posting times on Instagram for your audience. To help you make these choices, here’s more compelling data from the 2023 Instagram Engagement Report and our recent research.

North America

According to HubSpot research, the best time to post on Instagram in North America is between 6 to 9 PM, as those were the hours with the highest engagement.

It’s no surprise: People tend to be winding down in the evenings, so naturally, they usually access their Instagram apps at around this time.

Multi-color bar graph showing the best times to post to Instagram in North America by day of the week.

As you can see, though, the engagement rate is between 7% to 8% for most hours — you really can’t go wrong with your posting time, so long as you make an effort to study your audience and learn when they’re specifically online.

The hours you might want to avoid specifically are between 6 and 9 AM.

UK and Ireland

The best time to post in the UK and Ireland is from 9 AM to 3 PM to generate high engagement. That’s quite a jump from 2023 when we found 10 PM to 2 AM to be most popular.

Multi-color bar graph showing the best times to post to Instagram in the UK and Ireland by day of the week.

You’ll want to avoid the morning hours from 9:00PM to 12:00AM.

Asia-Indian Standard Time

In Asia (specifically India), the best time to post on Instagram is between 6:00 and 9:00 PM. During our research in this region, we saw huge peaks in engagement at those hours.

Multi-color bar graph showing the best times to post to Instagram in India by day of the week.

Indian Standard Time (IST) engagement rates are more volatile. You’ll specifically want to avoid posting between 6 and 9 AM, as those were the times with the lowest engagement.

Best Time Each Day to Post on Instagram

Every day of the week is a good day to post on Instagram, but you’re likely to get the best engagement on weekends.

The chart below shows the average engagement of each day of the week. As you can see, even though weekends are when you’ll see the most engagements, the data is pretty steady throughout the week.

Orange bar graphic depicting the average engagement rate on Instagram by day of the week.

This means that you’ll want to do deeper research to figure out which days are best for you to post. This is where industry-specific data can help.

For example, if your followers work at a desk job with regular hours, they might be taking a lunch break around noon. This would mean that they could be more likely to scroll through Instagram during that time to catch up on the latest from their friends, favorite brands, and influencers.

But what if they work in an industry with a less consistent schedule? For example, real estate agents often work around their clients’ schedules, showing homes on the weekend or after work hours.

This means that their scrolling time will be different from other users. You’ll want to track their behavior or use industry benchmarks to find the best day to post.

Best Time to Post on Instagram by Industry

General data about optimal post timing is a great starting point. But if you want to get more granular, HubSpot research surveyed over 300 professionals to help you engage with your top audience. Here are the best times to post on Instagram for over 16 popular industries as of last year.

Education

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in Education.

Best Times: 9 PM – 12 AM

Best Day: Monday

Worst Days: Wednesday through Sunday

If you work in the education sector, the best time to post is from 9 PM to 12 AM, specifically on Monday. That may be because educators are preparing for the week at this time and may be more receptive to content from education brands.

Healthcare Companies

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in healthcare.

Best Times: 6-9 PM

Best Day: Saturday

Worst Days: Tuesday through Friday

For healthcare companies, the best time to post on Instagram is in the evenings, from 6 PM to 9 PM, and specifically on Saturday. You’ll want to avoid posting on Tuesdays through Fridays.

Financial Services

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in financial services.

Best Times: 9 PM – 12 AM

Best Day: Sunday

Worst Days: Wednesday and Thursday

Financial services companies will want to post from 9 PM and 12 AM — remember, a social media tool can help you schedule late-night posts! — and Sundays are one of the best-performing days in terms of engagement.

Retail

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in retail.

Best Times: 3-6 PM

Best Day: Sunday

Worst Day: Tuesday

Retail companies should consider posting between 3 PM and 6 PM on weekends, especially on Sundays. Tuesdays were the worst day according to our research.

Ecommerce

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in ecommerce.

Best Times: 9 PM – 12 AM

Best Day: Saturday

Worst Days: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday

Ecommerce brands would benefit from posting between 9 PM to 12 AM, in keeping with the general pattern that evenings perform best for most brands. Saturdays were the best days to post on Instagram, while you’ll want to avoid Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Business Services

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in business services.

Best Times: 9 AM – 12 PM, 6-9 PM

Best Day: Friday

Worst Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday

Companies that offer business services would do well to post on Instagram between 9 AM and 12 PM — the starting hours of most people’s business days. Evenings between 6 and 9 PM also performed well. The best day to post, surprisingly, is on Friday.

Consumer Manufacturing

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in consumer manufacturing.

Best Times: 9 AM – 12 PM

Best Days: Wednesday and Friday

Worst Days: Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday

Consumer manufacturing organizations should post on Instagram in the mornings, between 9 AM and 12 PM. The best days to post are Wednesdays and Fridays.

Manufacturing and Materials

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in manufacturing and materials.

Best Times: 12-6 PM.

Best Days: Friday and Sunday

Worst Days: Monday through Thursday, Saturday

Companies in the manufacturing industry should post in the afternoons between 12 PM and 6 PM, starting with most businesses’ lunch breaks. The best days are Fridays and Sundays.

Construction Companies

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in construction.

Best Times: 6-9 PM

Best Days: Thursday and Sunday

Worst Days: Monday and Saturday

Like most verticals, construction companies would benefit from posting in the evenings between 6 and 9 PM. Thursdays and Sundays are the best days.

Agricultural Organizations

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in agriculture.

Best Times: 9 AM – 12 PM

Best Day: Saturday

Worst Days: Weekdays

The best time to post on Instagram for agricultural organizations is in the morning, between the hours of 9 AM and 12 PM. You will want to avoid weekdays and post on weekends, specifically on Saturday.

Electronics Organizations

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in electronics.

Best Times: 3-6 PM

Best Day: Thursday

Worst Days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday

Electronics organizations would benefit from posting in the afternoons, between 3 PM and 6 PM. The best day to post is on Thursday.

Energy, Utilities, and Waste Management

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in energy and utilities.

Best Times: 6-9 PM

Best Day: Saturday

Worst Days: Sunday through Friday

Energy, utilities, and waste management organizations would benefit from posting between 6 and 9 PM. The best day to post is on Saturday, while our research respondents reported that every other day is a poor option.

Information Technology

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in informational technology.

Best Times: 6-9 PM

Best Day: Saturday

Worst Days: Monday and Thursday

Like most businesses, IT companies should post in the after-work hours, between 6 and 9 PM. The best day to post is on Saturday, but remember to experiment to find out what works for your audience.

Media and Entertainment

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in media and entertainment.

Best Times: 3-6 PM, 9 PM – 12 AM

Best Day: Friday

Worst Days: Sunday and Monday

For media and entertainment companies, the best times to post on Instagram are between 3 PM and 6 PM and 9 PM and 12 AM, and the best day to post is Friday.

Transportation and Logistics

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in transportation.

Best Times: 9 AM – 12 PM

Best Day: Saturday

Worst Days: Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday

Transportation and logistics companies would benefit from posting in the morning, between 9 AM and 12 PM. Our respondents reported that Saturday was the best day to post.

Advertising and Marketing Organizations

Orange and white table depicting the best time to post on Instagram to reach an audience working in advertising and marketing.

Best Times: 9 AM – 3 PM

Best Days: Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

Worst Days: Tuesday and Friday

Advertising and marketing organizations have countless options for posting on Instagram. The best time to post is during the work day from 9 AM to 3 PM, and the best days include Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You’ll want to avoid Tuesdays and Fridays.

Remember that the guidelines above are just that — guidelines. It’s essential to constantly gauge your engagement rates to find the best times to post for your specific audience. We recommend using the above data as a starting point, then adjusting slightly as time goes on.

Best Time to Post Different Instagram Content Types

What about the different types of Instagram content? What is the best time to publish them and get a good engagement rate? Let’s take a look.

Need help putting together your content? Our free content creation templates can help you get started.

Best Time to Post Reels on Instagram

We recommend following the general guidelines. The best time to post Instagram Reels is in the evening between 6 and 9 PM, when engagement rates increase globally.

That said, you can’t go wrong with posting Reels, because they’re so popular. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri actively shares Instagram updates on Twitter, and many of his recent posts highlight new Reels features and emphasize the importance of this post type.

Trusted resources offer the same tips for the best time to post Reels as for other types of content, such as Carousels and photos. You’ll want to post when your users are online, and that means carefully examining your engagement rates.

The top tip for Reels timing is to post consistently. If your uploading days or times are sporadic, the algorithm won’t prioritize your account visibility.

Best Time to Post Instagram Videos

The best time to post Instagram videos is between the hours of 6 and 9 PM.

Best Time to Post Instagram Stories

The best time to post Instagram Stories is between the hours of 6 and 9 PM. If you work in the B2B sector, you could also benefit from posting an Instagram Story at lunchtime (from 11 AM to 1 PM), where your business audience might be scrolling through their app. That said, global average engagement rates peak in the evenings.

Best Time to Go Live on Instagram

The best time to go live on Instagram is in the evening, when users are unwinding for the day and have the time to watch a live broadcast.

Best Time to Post Instagram Carousels

The best time to post Instagram carousels and photos is between the hours of 6 and 9 PM.

How to Find the Right Time to Post to Instagram for Reach

Data on the best posting times for Instagram is incredibly useful. That said, it‘s often most effective when you’re just starting out.

As you continue to develop your presence on the platform, you might want to boost your results and do some posting time research on your own. The tips below are useful places to start.

1. Use a Social Media Tool

The most effective way to find the best posting time on Instagram is to use a social media tool, which will allow you to post at different times without needing to log into Instagram each time.

Social media software is useful not only because you won’t need to remember to log in to Instagram — you can simply schedule your posts — but because you can test and experiment more precisely.

 

Screenshot depicting what the HubSpot social tool looks like on desktop.

Try HubSpot’s social media tool for free!

Plus, you can see your posting history through reports — there’s no need to go through your Instagram posts one by one.

2. Experiment with Posting Times

To find the best time to post for your brand, it’s essential to experiment.

Our 2023 data strongly suggests that posting in the evening hours from 6 to 9 PM is a great place to start. Then, test out another time — such as lunchtime or mid-afternoon — and see if that changes engagement rates for your posts.

Try to keep the type of posts you make consistent. For instance, test out posting times for Reels specifically, with similar caption lengths and subject matter. That way, the only variable is the posting time itself and not any other characteristic.

3. Check Your Top Posts

Screenshot showing what “engagement” metrics can look like in Instagram Insights

Tracking your top posts can help you understand what posts are most popular and which topics draw the most engagement. It can also help you see how posting time impacts those factors.

For example, is that recent post about company events the most exciting content for an online beauty company? Or did it generate the most likes last month because it was posted on Saturday evening, a top time for ecommerce engagement?

You can use Instagram Insights to check out your top-performing posts, as well as factors like:

  • Engaged audience
  • Total followers
  • Most active times

HubSpot customers: You can check the Top Posts report for a quick list of your top ten posts. You can also check interactions, clicks, shares, and impressions for each post.

As you start to look at your social analytics, it can be tempting to focus on the numbers. But when you‘re looking at top posts, it’s important to stick with your creative side and to look at your numbers from your customer’s point of view. As you check your top posts, ask yourself:

  • What is special about this post?
  • What kind of content is it?
  • If it’s a video, what makes this video stand out?
  • If it‘s a photograph, how is this photo different from the others you’ve posted?
  • Did you edit the post?
  • Did you add text or design elements to the post?
  • Is there something that ties the people who’ve liked this post together?
  • Does this post connect to a current trend or event?

You may want to gather top post insights for a few months before you dig into analyzing your post content. This can help you see the top content your users respond to and when they want to see that type of content.

4. Track Competitor Posting Times

Another way to choose the right time to post for your audience is to figure out who else has their attention. Starting with your top competitors helps you figure out when to post and what content works on different days and times. Competitive analysis can also help you:

  • Learn about trends and benchmarks in your niche
  • Update your social strategy
  • Pinpoint new opportunities

There are a few ways to begin this research.

First, just scrolling through Instagram can give you a wealth of competitor insights. Take a look at a brand’s likes, hashtag copy, and how many hashtags they use. This can give you a quick profile of who follows that brand and what keywords they use, so it can hint at that competitor’s strategy.

If you want to do more detailed research, there are many great tools to help you track your competition. For example, you can create competitor streams with HubSpot’s social media software.

 

Screenshot of what users see on the screen when adding a “competitor” in the HubSpot social media tool.

Try HubSpot’s social media tool for free!

With this feature, you can track multiple competitors at once and filter your results by social network or time period.

5. Focus On Engagement

Screenshot showing what “engagement” metrics can look like in Instagram Insights, specifically audience engagement.

Strong engagement on Instagram is between 1-5%. According to HubSpot research, the average engagement in 2021 was 5.86%. The average engagement rate for 2020 was just 2.26%, so these rates can change quickly.

If you want to improve engagement, start by calculating your Instagram engagement rate. You can measure your rate with your all-time numbers, but it can be helpful to break this data into smaller sections, like months or weeks.

That way you can see engagement patterns for your account over time. It can also make it easier to see how the times you post on Instagram could impact your engagement rate.

Engagement rates show how people are reacting to your content. So, whether you’re sharing Reels, going live on Stories, or posting polls, questions, and quizzes, you can measure your impact. Engagement rates can sway based on:

  • Audience interest
  • Relevance
  • Social authority

It’s also important to remember that your most engaging content may not be as sticky at the same hours each day. Some content takes time to pick up views and shares before it makes an impact during peak engagement hours. Other content is like a firework — exploding quickly and disappearing just as fast.

To optimize your post timing for engagement, you need to get organized. The best way to find an ideal posting time is by testing the timing of your posts to see which post time generates the most audience engagement.

For example, what if you want to figure out when you get the most likes and comments on your Instagram carousels?

Say you create and post five different carousels a week and post them at random times. That approach will make it tough to get data that shows you the best times to post carousels for engagement.

But what if you post five similar carousels at a slightly different time each day? Then you can compare your engagement rates with the time you posted each carousel. This can show you the best time to post carousels for engagement so you can plan future carousels with those times in mind.

6. Use Your Data

Screenshot showing what an insights “overview” can look like in Instagram Insights.

When you’re new to Instagram, follower and engagement numbers are often low. Numbers for posting time, content type, hashtags, and more can be so similar that you may not spot the patterns that can help you grow.

Social media analytics can make these patterns easier to see and experiment with.

For example, the audience section in Instagram Insights can show you the days and hours when your followers are active. You can use that information to create a posting schedule. This can help you see whether posting during peak hours improves your reach.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that anyone with an account has access to Instagram Insights. And according to our 2024 survey, 48% had 100k to 450k followers.

So, there‘s a good chance that other brands are showing up in your followers’ feeds during that active time. You may want to post outside of active hours to see if your account draws more attention when there’s less competition.

It’s great to have the best times on Instagram available when planning your strategy. But tracking your own data can give you the personalized insights you need to stand out.

Boost Instagram Engagement on Your Schedule

Organic Instagram engagement and a consistent posting schedule go hand in hand. Each industry has natural peaks and valleys of activity each day. This means that your Instagram strategy should flow with them.

Use helpful resources, like this cheat sheet, to plan your social media calendar and watch your engagement rate soar.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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