best times to post on Instagram

The Best Time to Post on Instagram for the Most Engagement

There is an algorithm for everything in digital marketing and social media. So the best time to post on Instagram shouldn’t have to be a guessing game.

Almost every social media scheduling tool claims to be utilizing the best social media optimization (SMO) features. 

But do you want to rely on one brand’s AI for optimal post timing? In an industry of A/B testing and rich analytics, of course not! 

First of all, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the grandeur of this platform. Did you know that Instagram surpassed 1 billion global users by the end of 2020? That’s crazy! 

Would you like a few more reasons to tap into Instagram’s highly engaged audience? 

Consider this:

  • Over 63% of Americans say they check their Instagram daily! (Pew Research). 
  • The average Instagram user spends at least 7 hours per week on the platform (Yellow Book).

Let’s find out what day and time is best to connect with them!

We’ve dug through all of the trusted data and research to aggregate the absolute best time to post on Instagram for influencers, businesses in different industries, or anyone interested in driving more traffic and conversions with Insta.

Skip Ahead: Don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of researching your target audience’s most active times on Instagram? For the best engagement on a consistent basis, always post on Instagram between 9 AM and 4 PM Monday-Friday CST. 

best times to post on instagram

In this article, I will share with you everything from how to use Instagram Analytics to cracking the Instagram Algorithm for the best time to post, in the following order: 

Use Instagram Analytics to Pinpoint the Best Times to Post on Instagram

It often makes sense to go to the source when it comes to analytics. As a digital marketer, we love 3rd party marketing software, which often fills the gaps of those features marketers wish native platforms had. 

Instagram is no exception. There was no way to automate and organize your Instagram DMs until Messenger and Instagram DMs merged, paving the way for the centralized MobileMonkey DM inbox.

Before you start automating DMs to grow your following, learn the basics, such as whats the best time to post on Instagram by using Instagram’s own tools, Instagram Insights. 

How to Use Instagram Analytics 

Before you dive into finding out when is the best time to post on Instagram, first make sure you have an Instagram Business account. 

If you don’t, we highly recommend that you switch by tapping the hamburger icon at the top right of your mobile screen, then “Switch to Professional Account.”

Once you have an Instagram Business account, click on the “Insights” button on your profile page. 

best times to post on instagram

On the following screen, you will have a broad overview of your Instagram business account’s metrics and demographics, including locations, age, gender, and more. 

Tap on “Your Audience” to see narrow in on your best times to post on Instagram. 

best times to post on instagram

You can break your audience data down by the past 7 days or 30 days and hours or days for “Most Active Times.” 

That’s the golden nugget right there, your specific audience’s most active times, and therefore your best time to post on Instagram. 

However, bear in mind that Instagram’s Insights only report and measure from the moment you switched to a business account and onward. If you need older metrics, you’ll need third-party tools. 

Best Times to Post on Instagram Pro Tip: Always note any special events, promotions, or holidays that could have affected your snapshot of metrics in Instagram Insights. 

If you opt for the Instagram Creator account, you’ll have access to even more rich audience insights, including the best times to post and more. 

How to Find Your Best Time to Post on Instagram

After you’ve been posting for at least a few weeks, but preferably a few months, you will have enough analytics data to determine your target audience’s most active time on Instagram. 

The first thing you will need to do is identify your top time zones, which are readily available in Instagram Insights, as mentioned above. 

For our purposes, we are sharing insights based on the Central Time Zone (CST).

You might already know this basic data depending on your type of business. At this point, there are some pretty broad but safe Instagram generalizations you can make, aka the easy way. 

best times to post on instagram
  • The best time to post on Instagram in general and globally: Wednesdays at 11 am, and Fridays from 10 am-11 am. 
  • The worst time to post on Instagram is Sunday.

This data comes from Sprout Social’s pool of over 20k customers that are primarily legit agencies, who are focused on SMO and Instagram posts timing for their clients. 

Posting before 6 am is generally not recommended. Who is engaging with anything besides coffee at that hour? 

best times to post on instagram

Also, there is a significant drop off in engagement, in general, after 9 pm. 

However, it’s important to note that Instagram is not as “time-sensitive” as other social channels. Weekends and early mornings can and will work for specific verticals. 

Most marketers and influencers are taking advantage of IG Stories by now, which also changes the game on post timing, as you can check them at any time. 

The Unicorn Marketer’s DIY Custom Target Audience Research Method 

Unicorn Marketers should get way more targeted for accurate and consistent results. 

Further, hone in your best time to post on Instagram by keeping a doc or sheet of your highest engagement posts days and times. Do you see any patterns? Bam!💥

best times to post on instagram

If you’re not a spreadsheet-making wizard, we have a free template for you! Just open this link in your browser for the Google Sheet and make a copy for yourself. 

best times to post on instagram

Essentially, you will track every post and highlight the best performers based on the most comments and likes. 

The best way to do this is to mix up the days and times weekly for the first few weeks or months to get a broad set of results that you can crunch and analyze. 

But it’s not always that obvious or easy, especially with a large volume of popular posts, which comes easily when you’re utilizing the best Instagram tools

You don’t have to be a genius, but you do have to go the extra mile. Lazy marketers finish last. Savvy marketers automate and iterate well past the finish line of Insta success. 

What’s Up With the Instagram Algorithm Anyways?

Understanding how something works is essential before trying to manipulate it to your benefit in any way. 

Respect the robots and play the game. It’s simple! 

Instagram’s algorithm is designed to favor new content, so the older a post is, the less likely it will appear high up anyone’s feed. 

New is best, so more quality content more often should be your new mantra for gaining traction with times to post on Instagram. 

Of course, other things such as engagement play a significant role in your posts’ virality or reach.

The Easiest Way to Hack the Instagram Algorithm with IG Stories

Instagram Stories have become the best way to hack the Instagram algorithm. Gaining a better newsfeed placement combined with an authentic feel, it’s where the most engagement is happening on Instagram. 

However, Stories have not been a popular tool for marketers as there weren’t many good options for automation and marketing tools. Then, in February 2021, Instagram changed its API, and it has become an incredible tool for marketers. 

Now, you can add a link to Instagram Stories, auto-reply to Story mentions, auto-DM, and so many more ways to increase engagement on Instagram have been developed in 2021.

It’s easy to use MobileMonkey’s chatbot builder to auto-reply to mentions in Stories. This, combined with the all-in-one DM inbox and auto-responder, is huge for Instagram influencers bombarded with mentions and DMs. 

It’s also a fantastic growth hack for businesses of all sizes. Just be sure to follow Instagram Stories best practices. Here’s how you can easily set up your custom Instagram Story auto-responder:

  1. Sign up for your Free Edition of MobileMonkey
  2. Click the Chatbot tab, then Chat Starters, and select the Instagram Story Mentions Tool. 
best times to post on instagram
  1. Click the Create Instagram Story Mention button. 
  2. Scroll past the Instagram Story Mention auto-reply example and create your custom dialogue. 
best times to post on instagram


Don’t forget to drop a link in your Instagram Story auto-responder’s dialogue, as DMs is another excellent spot to use links beyond the classic “Swipe Up” option and Instagram bio link. 

Daily Best Times to Post on Instagram

Whether you are posting on a Sunday or a Wednesday, it will be critically important to consider your target time zone(s) and audience habits.

So if you haven’t already done so, go back and experiment with a few posts, or better yet, a few weeks or months of posts (the more, the merrier for metrics!) and measure the results. 

If the information at hand is the best day to post, then start there and try the following guidelines, then measure again, and you’ll have a precise best time and day to post on Instagram for your unique business. 

Scroll to the next section for different industry types and how marketers should consider their different lifestyles and habits in their targeting for the smartest and best time to post on Instagram. 

Get inside your target persona’s head!

Best Time to Post on Instagram Pro Tip: These are just guidelines to help you hone in your unique best times to post on Instagram. Follow these but run a few experiments of your own for best SMO practices.

Monday: 11am to 5pm CST 

Monday is not a popular day of the week. People are getting caught up after the weekend and are generally busy with work. 

It’s still a good day to post compared to Sunday, where there is significantly less activity across all of Instagram and the rest of the social media sphere. 

Tuesday: 9 am to 6 pm CST

A significant improvement in overall activity on Instagram from Monday. We’re all wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and it’s a very engaging day for some target audiences. 

Wednesday: 5 am, 11 am, and 3 pm CST

The glorious hump day is every social media marketer’s preferred day to share an essential piece of content. Why? It’s the most active and engaging day of the week across social platforms and time zones. 

What is it about Wednesdays? I’d venture to guess it has something to do with the average workweek and typical midweek slump. People are less engaged with work and more engaged with their mobile devices, and therefore, Instagram. 

Thursday: 5 am, 11 am, and 3-4 pm CST

Another bell ringer for engagement. Thursdays are coming in hot at second place for the best time to post on Instagram. For some audiences, this is the best day of the week for social media activity. 

Friday: 5am, 9-4pm CST

Fridays are still busy on social media, but it also marks the beginning of many people’s attempts to “unplug” on the weekends. Hence, there is typically a decline in engagement Fri-Sun. 

Saturday: 11 am

If you’re going to post on the weekend, which you should post as often as possible, then stick to brunch hours. People are taking it slower, checking their social feeds later in the afternoon compared to weekdays. 

Sunday: 10am-2pm CST

It’s the end of the week, and many keep with the traditions of taking a break from business and social media on Sundays. 

If you need an excuse to skip a day on your content planning, Sunday is probably that day. 

Best Time to Post on Instagram for Targeting Different Industry Personas

Every industry has its unique quirks. For example, workers in the hospitality industry might have a reverse weekend and completely flip our best times to post on Instagram upside down. Our web developers and IT professionals may not always work the same hours as the rest of their company. 

A little research goes a long way when targeting different personas on Instagram. 

From the best time to post on Instagram to the best hashtags to reach your target audience. Here are some helpful tips on a few often targeted industries based on Sprout Social’s customer insights: 

Consumer Goods Industry Best Time to Post on Instagram

  • Best time to post on Instagram: Wednesday @ 3 pm
  • Best day to post on Instagram: Wednesday
  • The worst day to post on Instagram: Sunday
instagram algorithm

Selling products on Instagram is a massive moneymaker for many CPG brands. It turns out that late nights are not when people make the most purchase decisions. 

Focus your efforts on the best time noted above but for another safety range post weekdays 11-3 pm. 

Media Industry Best Time to Post on Instagram

  • Best time to post on Instagram: Friday @ 9 am
  • Best day to post on Instagram: Friday
  • The worst day to post on Instagram: Saturday & Sunday

We are a strange breed in the media industry, deviating from other verticals, with Friday being the perfect day of the week to post on Insta.

Media types are a discerning group, too, when it comes to engaging with social media. Optimize by scheduling your posts Monday through Friday from 8-10 am or 2-4 pm.

Go even further and keep your audience engaged with an automated Instagram welcome greeting known as MobileMonkey’s DM Auto-Reply tool. 

Education Industry Best Time to Post on Instagram

  • Best time to post on Instagram: Friday @ 10 am
  • Best day to post on Instagram: Friday
  • The worst day to post on Instagram: Sunday

Universities and schools of all stripes are highly active on social media because their target audience is typically incoming freshman or returning students, usually a social media savvy bunch. 

Many colleges have found innovative ways to capitalize on their target demographics’ favorite pastime using Messenger bots as educational lead gen tools. 

The education sector’s best times will be Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 am-9 pm. A notable exception to educational personas is the tendency to be active late nights on Instagram. 

Recreation Industry Best Time to Post on Instagram

  • Best time to post on Instagram: Wednesday & Thursday @ 1 pm
  • Best day to post on Instagram: Wednesday
  • The worst day to post on Instagram: Sunday

The recreation industry is a prime audience for Instagram, as beautiful outdoor landscapes and action shots perfectly fit and flow on the visual platform.

The outdoorsy types tend to prefer to check in on Insta M-F 8 am-8 pm. Capitalize on those golden sunrises and majestic purple sunsets using the best times to post on Instagram for recreation. 

Bonus Tips for the Best Times to Post on Instagram 

It makes sense that the best times to post on Instagram coordinates with the majority of society’s work schedules. 

Bonus Tip #1 – Capitalize on Work Schedules

Posting from 11am-1pm (lunch) and 7-9pm (evenings) tend to get good engagement. This aligns with the earlier data points mentioned above that early mornings and late nights are not ideal for engagement globally and industry-wide. 

Bonus Tip #2 – Never Miss a Wednesday

Save your best posts for the weekdays and, most importantly, for Wednesdays (or whatever day is best suited for your audience per your research). All systems go for Wednesdays! 🚀

instagram algorithm

Bonus Tip #3 – Hack the Best Time to Post on Instagram

You don’t have to sit by idly with organic posts. Utilize Instagram best practices like hashtags to increase your engagement at any time dramatically. 

Of course, hashtags perform better on fresh posts, but you can also breathe new life into an older post via hashtags in captions or comments. 

It’s also a good idea to schedule posts in advance, as relying on yourself to manually post consistently is a recipe for disaster. There are so many great tools available, such as Sprout Social, Buffer, or Later to help you streamline your Instagram content planning.

Use MobileMonkey’s Instagram Comment Guard tool and quickly get an algorithmic boost with a keyword trigger in your caption, such as “Clubhouse.” It will encourage tons of engagement and boost your post in the newsfeed. 

instagram algorithm

Not to mention you can then easily set up an auto-reply bot that DMs each commenter and opts them into a drip sequence or email capture. How’s that for a fully automated Instagram funnel? 

instagram algorithm

If that doesn’t wet your growth marketing whistle, then check out Larry Kim’s ten best Instagram growth hacks to convert your followers into leads!

Keep posting, measuring, and iterating the timing of your posts to grow your Instagram accounts organically!

GET EARLY ACCESS TO NEW INSTAGRAM TOOLS FROM MOBILEMONKEY

Are you looking for an edge on Instagram? Influencers, artists, brands and D2C businesses, you may qualify to be the first to use tools that generate elite engagement via Instagram DMs.

Get Early Access

Important Next Steps

  • Create your first chatbot today after you sign-up for MobileMonkey.
  • Talk and learn about chatbots with other enthusiasts. Join MobileMonkey Island, our Facebook group of 40K marketers and entrepreneurs who are ready to support you.
  • Advance your marketing performance with Chatbot University, a free chatbot tutorial and training area for chat marketers.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *