Social Media Mythbuster: Posting Times

For years, there has been this Instagram myth that if you post on Instagram at 8pm, you’re bound to receive the optimal amount of engagement.

The brand that I am testing this myth on requires that I post three times a day at 12, 5 and 8. Due to this restriction, there isn’t much leniency for me to test all times, so I tested times at 15 minute intervals.

I conducted research in the area to test if these were in fact he best times to post in Instagram. According to Instagram scheduling site, Later, the best time to post is outside of work hours.

This means that 5pm and 8pm are optimal times to post on Instagram. Although, 12pm is also a great time to post in Instagram because it is during the work break.

Social Media Marketing site, CoSchedule created this info-graphic as a visual representation of the perfect time to post on Instagram. Through my test, I will be able to prove the validity of this information.

(Ellering, 2016)

However, Instagram has introduced an algorithm into it’s interface where post’s don’t show up in chronological order, but on the basis of engagement.

“If you’re able to generate a lot of engagement on your Instagram posts shortly after posting, this signals to Instagram that your post is quality, engaging content and your post will move to the top of your followers feeds and be shown to more users. There are a handful of ways to increase Instagram engagement, but one of the best ways is to post when your Instagram audience is most active.” (Chacon, 2017)

In order too ensure that my posts receive the best engagement,  I need to identify my audience.

afe rage
I used Instagram’s Business analytics to discover our target audience

After examining the profiles that follow Dance Editorial and the engagement we receive, I have determined that our main audience sits within the 13 yrs- 44 yrs age bracket. Due to this, content needs to be uploaded outside of work hours to achieve the optimal engagement.

annotated issta
Annotated Instagram profile describing the different kinds of posts and the layout of the Instagram page. There are three posts per day, meaning the second time slot (5pm-6pm) will always be a quote post alternating between inspirational and funny.

Over a few weeks, I tested which times work better from 12-1, 5-6 and 8-9.

12pm 280- Micro celebrity Tues
12:15pm 104 -Fashion Wednesday
12:30pm 222- Young audience Mon
12:45pm 133- Dance photography Thursday
1pm 189- Micro celeb/ Fashion Friday
5pm 139- Funny Tuesday
5:15pm 62- Announcement Monday
5:30pm 127- Inspirational Wednesday
5:45pm 123- Funny Thurs
6pm 82- Inspiration Friday
8pm 93 -Dance video/ 357 views Tuesday
8:15pm 121- Photography Monday
8:30pm 100- Dance video / 329 views Wednesday
8:45pm 132 Micro Celebrity Video/ 602 views Thursday
9pm 95- Fitness video/ 390 views Friday

With just this first week, I have proven that CoSchedule’s notion that video posts perform at least 34% better when posted at 9 pm is a myth (Ellering, 2016). In fact, the video that was posted at 8:30 pm performed 4.75% better.

However, in order to determine which times and days performed the best, I had to look at an average over the span of a month.  Therefore, I decided to look at the time slots of 12-1 pm, 5-6 pm and 8-9 pm as a whole to test which time slots performed better.

My posts over one month:

12 MON 84- Funny Video

51- Celebrity video

95- Micro-celeb video

222 – Young audience**

5 MON 125- Funny*

67-  Funny

130- Inspirational*

62- Announcement

8 MON 89- Fashion

71- Fitness video

113- Young Audience

121- Phototgraphy

12 TUE 119- Celebrity/ Fashion

143- Young Audience

86- Makeup

280- Micro-celebrity

5 TUE 184- Inspiration

83- Inspiration

151- Funny

139 -Funny post

8 TUE 68- Fashion video

161- Young audience

92- Young audience

93- video

12 WED 108- Makeup

138- Celebrity/ Fashion

92- Fashion

104- Fashion

5 WED 102- Funny

58- Announcement

75- Inspirational

127- Inspirational

8 WED 205- Micro-celeb

73- Dance video

38- Fashion video

100- Dance video

12 THURS 101- Fashion/ Fitness

120- Dance Photography

127- Photography

133 Dance photography

5 THUR 86- Inspiration

125- Funny

159- Funny

123 -Funny

8 THURS 47- Fashion video

146- Fashion Video

113- Fashion

132- Youth Audience

12 FRI 125- Young Audience

90- Celebrity/ Fashion

162- Photography

189 Micro-Celeb/ Fashion

5 FRI 85- Funny

79- Inspiration

103- Inspiration

82- Inspiration

8 FRI 127 – Micro celebrity/ Young Audience

90- Makeup

150- Micro celebrity/ Young Audience

95 Fitness video


**Young Audience relates to the photos/video’s we post of the pre-teens and teenagers who take our pre-professional dance course.

*This is a word post

My results:

Monday 135
Tuesday 170
Wednesday 110
Thursday 120
Friday 122

I discovered that Tuesday’s were the best days for engagement over the month for my brand.

12pm-1pm 185.6
5pm-6pm 106.5
8pm-9pm 108.2

I also discovered that my highest engagement on Instagram came from the first time slot at 12-1pm. This was very interesting as for as long as I can remember, 8pm has always been the staple time to post an image on Instagram. At 8pm, there is a lot of online traffic with new posts going up every minute, therefore, there is an over saturation of content which is diluting the news feed of our content.

However, whilst conducting this test, I also made a note of the kinds of content I was posting. Our brand covers everything from dance, lifestyle and youth meaning we need to post content that reflect this ethos.

Content Type Likes average
Fashion 82.4
Makeup 94.6
Micro celebrities 192.25
Celebrities 99.5
Young Audience 146.125
Inspirational 105.4
Funny 123.875

I was surprised to see that the posts focused around micro-celebrities performed better than Hollywood celebrities. These micro-celebrities are dancers who have set the current scene within the dance industry. These dancers include Paris Cav and Lauren Seymour who danced on So You Think You Can Dance or at reputable dance studios.

The high number of likes was a direct result of Instagram mediating what audiences see as a result of the algorithm that Instagram now works on. If content receives high engagement within the initial hours of being uploaded, it will be highlighted by Instagram as valuable content to the audience and will automatically boost the post to the top of our followers Instagram feed. Consequently, Instagram’s ability to choose the value of content mediates what the audience view as their reality. Instead, they consume a constructed version of reality created for them by Instagram.

micro celebrities
This post received the highest engagement as it featured 6 micro-celebrities.
For our ‘DETV series’ which are screenshots of the videos we have created. This one received the highest likes. This is because it features two youth nano-celebrities. As our audience has a large youth base, it is important to include these nano-celebrities on our Instagram page. 

” A micro-celebrity is the idea of the subcultural or local celebrity.” Matt Hills defines subcultural celebrities as “mediated figures who are famous only by and for their fan audiences” (Marwick, 2015, p. 6)

These micro-celebrities are hyper-local and live within Sydney, thus bringing a sense of Intimacy to our audience who are mainly based in Sydney.

Where the majority of our audience lives, according to Instagram Business Analytics.

Our audience, being mainly youth, young adults and their parents look up to these mirco-celebrities as role models and aspire to be like them someday. This is why their posts do substantially better.

Overall, the myth regarding timing has been disproved as content posted at 8pm performed the best on certain days. Instead I proved that, for my particular audience base, content that was posted at 12pm performed the best with Tuesday being the highest engagement, not Thursday as suggested by CoSchedule.

In addition, I also discovered posts featuring micro-celebrities performed excessively better than other posts with fashion being the least.

This study, whilst it did not prove the myth as successful, it helped me better understand my audience, what they like and what I should be posting. Thus, even though the myth is busted, I highly recommend that each brand conduct their own study similar to mine to extensively understand their target audience.

Here is my rating of this social media hack:

Timing:  4 Stars

Practicality: 5 Stars

Success: 2 Stars

Engagement: 3 Stars

Ethical: 5 Stars

Common Practice: 4 stars

Overall: 3.8/ 5 Stars

Instagram: @danceeditorial 


Chacon. B, 2017 ‘The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2017,’ Later, 12 Juanuary, Viewed 20 April 2017 <https://later.com/blog/best-time-to-post-on-instagram/&gt;

Ellering, N 2016, ‘ What 16 Studies say about the best times to post in Social Media,’ CoSchedule, 13 April, viewed 10 May 2017 <https://coschedule.com/blog/best-times-to-post-on-social-media/&gt;

Marwick. A, 2015, “You May Know Me From YouTube: (Micro)-Celebrity in Social Media.” John Wiley & Sons Inc <http://www.tiara.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/amarwick_youmayknowmefromyoutube_2015PrePrint.pdf&gt;




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