Have you ever gotten one of those accidental haircuts where you can’t tell if you look chic and edgy or completely insane? Then you ask three friends and you get three really different answers?
Asking when’s the best time to post on Facebook is kind of like that. There are countless studies based on different criteria like engagement data, expert opinions, and more.
So how do you get a clear answer for your business? In this post we’re going to help you parse through the results of these studies so you can identify the right baseline to start, and then show you how to further refine down to the best time to post on Facebook for your business, audience, and business goals.
Yep, timing matters.
You need to catch your target audience when they’re active on Facebook to increase the chances of them engaging with your content. And you need that engagement because (aside from building trust, relationships, and an audience) it’s the best way to get the attention of the Facebook algorithm.
Said algorithm is a proprietary formula that scores every post to decide who’s going to see it. The score is based on what Facebook thinks is the most relevant content for each user, with the end goal of keeping them on the site for longer. While the nitty-gritty details of the formula are kept closely guarded, we do know that it’s made up of three components:
There’s not much you can do about who posted it other than friending a bunch of potential customers, which…don’t do that. You *may* be able to find out your audience’s preferred content by doing a bit of research on their social media activity. But the part of the algorithm you have the most control over is engagement.
This is where posting times come in. Posting when targets are online = more chances for engagement. More engagement = broader reach through the algorithm and showing up in your followers’ Feeds.
The first step is to identify the latest sources of information on this. As in, not just the top ranking posts on the SERP, but the most recently published study with original data. As of this post, we’ve found those to be HubSpot, Coschedule, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social. Now that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t mean that those sources are going to agree with one another.
In fact, of the 24 one-hour time slots, only two overlap:
So let’s dive into each one to find out why.
American software and marketing company HubSpot polled 300+ U.S.-based social media marketers for its 2022 Social Media Trends report. Along with information on brand inclusivity, expert polls, and (of course) the metaverse, the report also gave the best posting times for each platform.
There are a few things to know about HubSpot’s data. First of all, of the 300 companies it polled, 38% were in EST and participants were instructed to answer in their time zone, so that may skew the results a bit.
The second is that the report points out that certain industries overwhelmingly indicated best times outside of 6-9 pm on Saturdays, so you’ll have to keep industry in mind (we’ll get to that in a bit). Nevertheless, these times are still a great starting point for reaching broader audiences with your Facebook posts.
CoSchedule’s social media posting times research comes from 37 million social media messages from 30,000 organizations.
Interestingly, the research showed that the pandemic changed the times Facebook audiences are most engaged. Typical audiences used to check in most often around 10 am (during the late morning office coffee break). But in 2022, CoSchedule found that users are most active in the earlier morning and later afternoon.
Unsurprisingly, CoSchedule’s data suggested that the worst chunks of time are when most people are sleeping —from 12:00 am to 5:00 am. But note again, this refers to those times in the respondents’ respective time zones.
Sprout Social’s research looked at the metrics from over 30,000 of its customers, and its findings directly contradict CoSchedule’s. Sprout agrees that mid-morning is no longer the ideal posting time that it used to be, but determined that, when looking at an international audience, early morning is now the best time to post.
Sprout Social notes that these times are in CST, but it’s considering a worldwide audience. That means that these odd posting times may be coming from audiences in other countries. For example, 3 am in Chicago is 9 am in London, which is an early morning posting time.
According to Hootsuite, which analyzed over 30,000 social posts to find its data, the universal best time to post on Facebook is 8 am -12 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, as clear-cut proof that you should only use the conclusions from studies like these as a baseline to find your own time to post, Hootsuite dug into its own data and found that the best time for its own account to post on Facebook is at 6:15am and 12:15pm on weekdays—which is outside of those hours.
Coschedule’s data also breaks down the best time to post on Facebook by day of the week. Here’s what it found:
Note that the times are listed in order of the best (of the best):
|Day||Best time to post on Facebook|
|Sunday||8am, 9am, 12pm, 1pm|
|Monday||9am, 11am, 4pm, 7am|
|Tuesday||9am, 7am, 10am, 11am|
|Wednesday||9am, 7am, 10am, 8am|
|Thursday||9am, 4pm, 11am, 10am|
|Friday||9am, 7am, 4pm, 10am|
|Saturday||9am, 10am, 1pm, 8am|
Here is the same information for the worst times to post, also in order of the worst (of the worst):
|Day||Worst time to post on Facebook|
|Sunday||5am, 2am, 12am, 4am|
|Monday||4am, 12am, 5am, 3am|
|Tuesday||5am, 2am, 3am, 12am|
|Wednesday||12 am, 2am, 5am, 3am|
|Thursday||2am, 12am, 3am, 5am|
|Friday||2am, 11pm, 4am, 3am|
|Saturday||2am, 12am, 5am, 3am|
Understanding the best time to post on Facebook by industry can benefit you if you’re in that particular industry, or if you’re a B2B business, you could potentially aim to post at the times when the people in your target industry are online and doing their own business posting.
HubSpot’s research identified a few outliers to their best posting times data in certain industries. Specifically, the best time to post for the agriculture, food, beverage, and hospitality industries is 9 am-12 pm. HubSpot mentioned that 50% of respondents in the ag, food, and beverage industries selected this window as the best time to post while 100% in the hospitality industry chose it.
Sprout Social was able to drill down to specific posting times for 10 different industries. Some industries still follow the typical before work/at lunch/after work check-in cadence. This varies, however, based on each industry’s typical working schedule and the reasons for being online.
CoSchedule also segmented its 30,000 accounts by industry to accompany its broader posting time recommendations. Like HubSpot’s findings, it found those in the same industries tend to have similar Facebook behaviors. Its research doesn’t recommend one-size-fits-all posting windows per industry, though. Instead, its insights explain why industries have time preference variances.
Posting based on activity statistics or your market’s behavior doesn’t take into account your unique target audience. That’s why the best method will always be your personal research on your specific customers.
Facebook’s built-in analytics platform tells you when your audience is most active during the week and at what time, based on parameters and characteristics you choose. You should also look back on your past posts that generated solid engagement and see if there were any patterns in posting days or times.
If Insights isn’t giving you the info you need, do your own customer research for the most specific, tailored results. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Offer customers 10% off their next order if they fill out a survey. Ask simple, multiple-choice questions about what they want to see on Facebook and when they’re the most active on the site. Or host a focus group with a few active customers to identify their social media behaviors and preferences.
If all of this strategy is overwhelming, you can always try the KISS (keep it super simple) method. Post online when it makes sense to you or is most convenient. Then track your posts for a month. At the end of the month, look at the top performers and see if there’s any common ground with posting times. Keep posting at that time to see if engagement stays high; if not, adjust accordingly.
Well, there you have it, clear as mud. The definitive answer on when to post on Facebook? It depends. The good news is, posting time is only one small part of earning engagement. Focus on producing things your audience will enjoy reading and commenting on, and go from there.
If you’re going to do research on your audience (and you should), use it to learn what content they most want to interact with. Then pick one of these posting time suggestions, give it a shot, and adjust as needed.
Want more ideal social media posting times? Two additional posts, comin’ in hot:
Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream, where she helps businesses to make sense of their online marketing and advertising. She specializes in SEO and copywriting and finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.
See other posts by Kristen McCormick
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