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The Shockingly Best Times to Post on Instagram in 2021

When you Google "best times to post on Instagram", you're typically met with an article that suggests using your Instagram insights to track when your followers are most active online and then post during times of high follower activity. In fact, we've written that exact same article. The well known social media scheduling company Later recently studied 35 million posts, and they discovered the best times and days to post on Instagram for the highest engagement rates. You're not going to believe what they uncovered!

The 35 million posts that Later studied were feed posts that excluded Reels and IGTV posts. The posts they studied were from everywhere across the world. According to their analysis of these posts, the very best time to post on Instagram is Sunday at 6am. WHAT? 6am? Let's break down their other findings for best posting times, and why they think this change is happening on the platform.

The Best Times to Post on Instagram in 2021

According to Later's study, the highest engagement days are Saturday and Sunday. This definitely doesn't match up with data of the past that suggested these days weren't priority posting days. The best times to post (in your audience's time zone) are:

Monday @ 5am

Tuesday @ 6am

Wednesday @ 6am

Thursday @ 5am

Friday @ 6am

Saturday @ 6am

Sunday @ 6am

Check out this chart created by Later that shows the best times to post.

The Worst Times to Post on Instagram in 2021

Later found that these were the worst times to post on Instagram:

Monday @ 2pm

Tuesday @ 1pm

Wednesday @ 10am

Thursday @ 11pm

Friday @ 9am

Saturday @ 8pm

Sunday @ 4pm

We're truly shocked by these findings, as these are some of the days/times that our audience is most active on Instagram! They also compiled the findings above into a fancy chart.

Why Are Early Posting Times Performing Better?

We still believe that posting when your audience is active is a good way to make sure your engagement stays up, and Later agrees. But Later theorizes that it isn't the only way to get rewarded by the fickle Instagram algorithm saying, "By posting earlier in the day, accounts benefit from less competition (globally, most posts are shared between 9 am - 1 pm each day), while also tapping into traffic from users during their first scroll of the day — even if that’s a few hours after the post was shared."

This theory ... actually does make a lot of sense. If we've all been adjusting to post during the times that Instagram users are most active, that means there is a ton of competition on the feed. If you post early, you're likely to catch users in their first scroll of the day, as most posts in their feed will have been posted the day before - giving your early bird post a boost of recency in their feed.

We're really interested to see how this study from Later affects posting times in general, and we plan to do some experimenting ourselves to see if this data from 35 million Instagram posts can help boost our engagement rates. If it works for us, you'll be there first to know.

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