The Best Time to Post on Facebook is the Worst Time

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Infographic Saturday has been going for about a month now, and I’m quickly realizing an unintentional theme: Agreement isn’t necessary.

I use this space to share an infographic that taught me something new or inspired a reaction. Lately, that reaction has been… Eh?

This week’s infographic is a terrific example. It looks fantastic. Someone spent a lot of time on it. There are five sources behind it, so proper research was done. It’s by Lori Taylor of SocialCaffeine, two sources I respect and trust. But…

It’s kinda worthless. There, I said it.

I’m not piling on you here, Lori. You’re awesome. It’s just that this is a popular link bait category (look, I’m participating now, too!) and the results rarely have much value.

Here’s why…

Contradictions


Lori tells us that the best time to post on Facebook is between 1 and 4 pm while the worst times are between 8 pm and 8 am. The evidence supporting this is that…

  • Traffic builds after 9 am;
  • Peak time is Wednesday at 3pm;
  • Traffic fades after 4 pm; and
  • Avoid posting on weekends.

To be fair to Lori, this comes straight out of a Mashable report conducted by bit.ly.

Interesting, though, that another infographic I shared a month ago was by Dan Zarella of Hubspot on this same subject of best times to post. Zarella, another respected social media tactician, found…

  • Content posted after 8 pm gets more Likes and shares;
  • Likes peak at around 8 pm while shares peak at 6 pm;
  • Posts published on Saturdays and Sundays receive a higher Like percentage; and
  • The worst Like percentage is on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday;

You following? These two reports completely contradict one another. Granted, Zarella uses “percentages” instead of raw totals, but the conclusions are clear opposites. Lori and bit.ly say to post between 1 and 4 pm while avoiding posting after 8 pm and the weekends; Zarella says the highest success is after 6 pm and on the weekends.

So we know nothing!

Does it Really Mean That?


Here’s my problem with bit.ly’s report (I’ll stop assigning blame to Lori here, she’s just reporting what she read): Their conclusions are based on peak and non-peak times. They suggest that you share content when everyone else is on and avoid when they aren’t.

Maybe that seems logical, but it’s wrong.

I don’t necessarily care when everyone else is on. I don’t want to compete with the firehose of information that is coming in during those times. I’m most concerned about getting the most likes, replies, shares and overall engagement that I can get.

You see, simply having a lot of people out there does not necessarily guarantee more engagement. Sometimes having less competition (like in the evenings and on the weekends) will actually give you a better chance of reaching more fans.

Relevance is Important


You probably think I prefer Zarella’s report. Sure, I do. But I think they’re both crap in the end.

When is the best time to post? Before we get to the featured infographic, here’s mine…

best time to post on facebook infographic jon loomer1 The Best Time to Post on Facebook is the Worst Time

All joking aside, it depends. Who are you? Where are you? What’s your industry? Where is your audience? When are they online?

Most of these studies survey hundreds or thousands of Pages to come to their conclusions. But this is a mishmash of geographies that are bound to have very different results. A business whose audience is only in Australia is bound to have a different peak time to post than a business in New York City.

That’s obvious, but unfortunately people still take this stuff as gospel. These reports are fun for entertainment purposes, but only you know the best time to post.

Wait, you don’t? You’re reading those posts and this one because you want us to tell you? Well, you’re failing.

Check out your Facebook Insights. From there, find the posts that generated the most engagement over a three month period. Find the posts that had the greatest reach. Then you will know the best time and days to post that are relevant to you.

Me? I have an international audience. I tend to see results before 10 am EST, between 2-4 pm EST and later at night. I’ve even scheduled content in the middle of the night that has received response.

So check it out (the original post is here). What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

best and worst times to post on social networks The Best Time to Post on Facebook is the Worst Time 3

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About Jon Loomer

Jon Loomer is a digital marketing consultant with a unique perspective on social media. He was introduced to Facebook in 2007 while with the NBA (back before Pages) and has been using Facebook for business ever since. Stay in touch by liking his Facebook Page (Jon Loomer Digital).

  • http://twitter.com/krissybrady Krissy Brady, Writer

    Your Facebook infographic totally cracked me up Jon! I agree – taking generalized info like this as gospel is not the way to go – it’s okay to use it as a starting point, but you have to monitor your own analytics and customize your social media based around your personal audience.
    Thanks for the Social Caffeine shout out! :0)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1337854456 Greg Olotka

    100% agree, one of the main benefits of a Facebook business/fan page is to cater to a highly targeted audience. The audience for say, used auto parts has a very different schedule from the audience engaged in luxury watches. By the way, how the hell are ya!

    https://www.facebook.com/PullAPartAuto

    https://www.facebook.com/raymondweil

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Thanks for stopping by, Greg! Oh, you know… Just trying to rock this independent thing!

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  • http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com Cendrine Marrouat

    I’ve been saying for a long time that FB is overrated. The best time to post depends on where you are. Once, a while ago, I posted an article very early in the morning, and still got a lot of engagement.

    I often tell people that instead of focusing on a time to post, maybe they should first focus on creating quality content.

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  • http://www.jeremybinns.com/ Jeremy Binns

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been thinking along those same lines. I did a Wednesday at 3:00pm post the other day just to see what kind of difference it made.

    It totally tanked. There are so many factors to include when you’re sharing on social networks. Especially if you have a niche group of friends.

    Enjoyed the read. – Jeremy

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Experimenting is good, Jeremy. And I also wouldn’t assume that 3:00 is a bad time based on one post. It just involves too many factors.

      For a few months, I had established a pretty regular schedule. But I’m starting to shake it up again, just to see if there’s anything else that might actually work better. The problem, of course, is always with sample size. But you have to find what works for yourself!

      • http://www.jeremybinns.com/ Jeremy Binns

        Thanks for the reply, and speaking of experimenting, I have a question for you. Do you share the same post more than one time in a particular day?

        I know that Michael Hyatt suggests revisiting older posts and sharing them again, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone give an opinion on sharing more than once throughout one day.

        • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

          Hey, Jeremy. I don’t share the same content twice in the same day, but I do share old content (just not duplicate posts). I reserve my morning for posting fresh content and evenings/late nights for revisiting old content. That way, it’s less likely that people are seeing the same information twice. But I usually wait a month or more before resharing old information.

          Here’s a blog post I wrote about it:

          http://www.jonloomer.com/2012/08/10/facebook-scheduling-benefits/

          • http://www.jeremybinns.com/ Jeremy Binns

            Thanks Jon. It makes sense. I’ve always felt a little like I’m a used car salesman when sharing the same content in one day.

            I’ll check out the other post too. Have a great week.

          • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

            Totally understand. My rule of thumb is not to post anything if it doesn’t feel right. I’m simply not a salesperson by nature, so I always have to think about what feels right to me while balancing making business decisions. Never easy!

  • http://twitter.com/nicolaslavin Nicola

    Thanks for this. Very helpful. I also have an international page and can see I need to test a few options out to detrmine best time of day for me.

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Hi, Nicola! I definitely find value in just about any time of day. I’m starting to get a lot of engagement in the middle of the night my time, so don’t neglect such times!

  • Steve Kozy

    Jon, you certainly write informative, yet fun stuff. Good article and great statement: “But I think they’re both crap in the end.”

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      HAH! Thanks, Steve!

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  • Lee Swales

    Nice post Jon. I do agree. I have just started blogging on legal issues associated with social media and in my experience, it all depends on two factots: 1. The target market; and 2. The nature of your offering. I tend to find my best results are early in the morning (near midnight in most parts of the US) and late at night (afternoon in the US).

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      You get it, Lee! While reports of “best” and “worst” times mean well, they simply can’t provide much value to the typical page. We all need to do our own research of our own data to figure out what works best, not the data of a mashup of thousands of pages globally.

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Zahid Esmail

    Hi Jon is there a way for me to check for my own page the traffic time ?

    • http://jonloomer.com/blog Jon Loomer

      Zahid — You can use a tool like PostRocket to schedule posts that will reach the most people. You can also use several tools, including AgoraPulse, that will tell you the best time for you to post based on your results. Or you could dig into your Insights exports to get a sense of when you get the best engagement.

  • dinesh

    awesome post

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000355560883 Celeste’s Best

    Made me laugh. I was thinking some of the same things. Like wouldn’t it somewhat make sense to post in the non-peak times when less people are posting. And what about the different time zones which you mentioned. Guess you just have to play around with it and see what works best for those reading your posts.

  • tchae

    Amen, brother. Preach!!!

  • http://twitter.com/alisammeredith Alisa Meredith

    Thank you! It kills me how people will jump from one “definitive” report to the next, changing their posting times accordingly just because of some new statistics. Absolutely, consider you OWN audience and when they are online and then do the work of looking at your most successful posts and when they were posted. Relying on the studies of others is just too easy – and it doesn’t work.

  • Charlie

    I agree with you completely. Followed these “best times to post” rules at first, but they didn’t work at all. Our stuff’s not always safe for work, so have been posting after 8 pm with good results. Get barely any interaction 9 am till 2 pm. Had a post go viral yesterday for the first time, posted at 4:30 pm GMT to catch people finishing off their work day. Testing this week to see if this is a better time for us or if yesterday was just a fluke. That seems a better approach to me than following someone else’s rules on this.

    Btw Facebook’s Reach number is completely wonky on this post for us. Still says ca 200 people reached, even though Insights also reports that over 1000 people are talking about it and we have over 400 shares.Very strange.

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  • http://www.incion.com/ profesional web design

    Nice post.. Thanks for sharing it…

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  • Fabio Bauer

    Can anyone share with me how to change the time facebook has set up in my fanpage? I mean, when I downloaded the insights into excel, I got a time for each post. How do I know what time is that? For instance, 9:10 AM. Is that GMT – 4, GMT, GMT +1?? And then, how can I set the time to match the time of my audience? Thanks for the comments in advance.

  • Warren Johnson

    It would also depend on why you’re posting the ad. If you’re posting an ad meant to attract someone to your website to buy something then there are probably times of the day where people are more prone to purchase. For example, if someone is at work and goes to your website, do they really have the time to browse and make a purchase? Or is that better saved for after 6pm?

  • http://www.mennlay.com/ Someone Else

    This is immensely helpful and backs a lot of the research I’ve already compile!

  • Sara Lee

    Great Post!! I have found another related article too in the link
    below:

    http://technology-vibe.com/blog/best-hours-day-posting-status-updates-facebook-twitter/

    Thanks

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