Optimizing Facebook Engagement: The Timing of Posts

Posted on July 10th 2012

Optimizing Facebook Engagement: The Timing of Posts

In this next of our series on Facebook Engagement we look at what times of day and week major brands are getting the best results from their Facebook posts.

Facebook users consume most content from their stream, and a typical stream is a rapidly moving feast. Perhaps the one thing all Facebook posts share in common is the certainty and speed with which they will soon be replaced by new content.

With social content, timing is critical.

Hitting the target consumer at exactly the right time - when they are in the right mood to not only take in your content, but respond to it - is the goal.

Having national and global audiences spread across numerous time zones only exacerbates the challenges that brands face in getting the timing of their social activities right.

First we first look at posting activity by day of week:

Posts on the weekend perform about 16% better on average.

Facebook Response by Day of Week

In particular we observe an increase in the number of comments received when a post is made on the weekend, presumably because people have more time.





Next we look at the response by time of day. Note that the while the majority of posting activity in this study was targeted at US based audiences, there is still a challenge in interpreting the data due to time zone differences. Hence we have split the day into 3 broad sections, specified in Central Standard Time.

Posts made in the evening get approximately 10% better response.

Facebook Response by Time of Day

Off hour posting does not seem to be viewed as an intrusion by Fans. In fact,  response rates are higher on average after 6pm.

It could also be the case that the reduced posting frequency by brands on the weekend and evening time periods reduces clutter, creating more opportunity for those that do post to catch a Fan's attention.

Finally, we combined all non-business hours posts, including posts on weekends, evenings and holidays, and looked at the response levels.

Posts made outside of  business hours get approximately 20% better response.

As always, we need to reinforce that these are aggregate results. We observe a lot of variation between brands, and it is critically important to consider each specific situation and analyze each brand on its own merits. However there are some general rules of thumb we can give to brands targeting a non-business audience:

  1. Do not only post in business hours
  2. Consider posting at least equally across the days of the week,
  3. Consider the evening as at least an equal day part compared to the day time
  4. Take into account holidays and other cultural events
  5. Consider that your audience may be in multiple timezones

Track Social offers enterprise clients the ability to optimize social content timing across timezones as part of an overall program of Social Content Optimization. For more information, and to apply for a free assessment of your brand's social performance, go here.

See previous articles in the Optimizing Facebook Engagement series here:

Post Type
Post Frequency
Post Size

To sign up to receive alerts for our Facebook Engagement series and more, go here.

Morgan J. Arnold

Morgan J. Arnold

CEO, Track Social

Morgan J. Arnold is a marketing entrepreneur with a PhD in Engineering. Morgan is CEO of Track Social, the leader in Engagement Optimization.

Track Social monitors, aggregates and analyzes the Social Media accounts of thousands of businesses across multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Track Social provides a self-serve Analytics Platform as well as Professional Reporting, Social Advertising and Enterprise Consulting services.

Morgan is also CEO of Sprokkit, The Smart Marketing Agency.

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IDS Designz
Posted on July 10th 2012 at 4:56PM

This is very interesting. However this data does make sense with the majority of peoples schedules.  Really good post we will use this article for reference in the future. 

Posted on November 30th 2012 at 11:58AM

Hey Morgan,

Great article! As a page administrator, I have searched through Facebook's interface and read articles regarding the aggregation of my page's time of day engagement data. Unless I missed it here, I have been unable to find if this functionality is provided through Facebook's general interface. Do you know if Facebook provides this functionality or would I/3rd party have to work with Facebook's API to gather this data?


Thanks for your time,