For this guide, we’ll be using Iconosquare analytics, which isn’t free but it may as well be with how cheap it is. Unfortunately, they aren’t paying me to do this post, it’s actually just one of those tools I can’t seem to live without. It does most of the work, all we’re going to do here is apply a little marketing insight to the analytics they offer.
First off, I want to say that anyone who says or quotes some statistic saying “the best times to post on Instagram are x” is full of shit. Those are generalized, over-arching averages that don’t reflect your personal following. You may post at those times and find them to be accurate, but that just means your average follower is active in those times. It doesn’t always work that way, though. Taking a look at your specific set of followers will allow you to figure out when to post on Instagram optimally. Let’s begin.
“The dark rounds indicates when you usually post media (repartition by hour horizontally, and by days vertically). The light grey rounds shows when your community has been interacting. The biggest light grey rounds are the best times for you to post.”
That’s what they want you to think. The reality here is that the set of data they’re pooling from is too small to give definitive answers. First off, Iconosquare starts recording data on your account from the moment you sign up (since it needs your account permissions), so you’re missing retroactive data.
Secondly, all it
does is take the day of week and time you posted content and
averages out the total number of likes and comments you got on each
post. This means that if you’ve only ever posted once in any of
these one hour time slots, your stats will reflect this. If you’ve
posted twice in a one hour time period over the course of 2 weeks
and no other times that day, it will tell you you’ll gett the most
likes in at that time. I’m simplifying things here a bit since I
obviously don’t know their secret sauce, but that’s the basic
concept at play. Small data set means inaccurate scheduling.
I’m a beta
user of Pro Iconosquare, which gives you different analytics
dashboards and more filters to play around with. The updated
version of best times to post on Instagram reveal that my theory on
how they calculate scheduling to be flawed. The best time to post
is Thursdays at 10 am and the time I post the most media is also
Thursdays at 10 am? Bullshit. Data sets given to Iconosquare are
only accurate if your posting frequency reflects a full schedule.
Note that the differences between posting times in Iconosquare and
Pro Iconosquare are due to browser timezone settings, they aren’t
completely different schedules.
Media lifespan is something that’s more of a secondary or tertiary factor when calculating when to post on Instagram. It’s just something to keep in the back of your mind that doesn’t necessarily play a big role in overall engagement.
See those bumps? That’s when actual, real people are commenting on my posts. The immediate spike when I post is likely allocated to bots that latch onto hash
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