When Is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?

srosenquist
Sarah Rosenquist Marketing Coordinator, Stryve Group

Posted on September 24th 2013

When Is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?

The question of “When is the best time to post on Facebook?” gets asked (and googled) frequently. The topic gets discussed, studied, and reported on in blogs, whitepapers, and webinars a lot. The problem is, the true answer to that question that nobody is telling you is that you have to find it out for yourself.

At the end of the day, the only data that will truly help you is your data. Aggregate reports can help by giving you a sense of the general Facebook population’s behaviours, but your audience will likely be a unique segment. So it’s time to make your own report! Here is what we did:

Create something that’s going to explode

Nope, not a bomb; content! The reason you needed something much larger and more exciting than what is normally being posted to Facebook is so that you can see the fluctuations between different hours of the day more clearly and with more confidence. For example, posting a link to an informative blog is fairly plain vanilla but posting a silly video can get a lot of attention.

Monitor engagement

If your awesome content is a Facebook post or photo (not a link to your site), monitoring your engagement is a bit of a manual process. Unfortunately Facebook Insights don’t provide real-time or even hourly statistics, so what you’ll have to do is look at engagement metrics at regular (hourly) intervals and jot them down.

If your awesome piece of content is a link to your site/blog, Google Analytics provides hourly data when you’re in overview mode. You can gauge engagement (tongue twister?) over the course of a couple of days to see what times Facebook users were clicking through to the site.

Here’s what a 48-hour period of web traffic typically looks like for us:

google analytics 2 days When is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?

2 days of baseline web traffic

Compare that to our web traffic when our “Because I live in Waterloo and not Toronto…” blog got posted to social media:

Funny post google analytics When is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?

Our Google Analytics data over the 2 days

Here you can clearly see that more data is better data – the peaks and valleys are actually meaningful.

Cross-reference if you can

To make sure that we were making proper conclusions we wanted another source of data. We were able to look at hourly data from bit.ly click-throughs:

big blog bitly When is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?

Our bit.ly click-through data over the first 12-hours

Draw conclusions

We learnt a lot from this exercise about our target market and when they engage on Facebook. We ultimately found that it was higher in ‘off-work’ and break times, namely:

  • Over the lunch hour,
  • Around 5-6pm as people are switching out of work mode, and
  • Before an early bedtime around 10pm.
So I suppose the moral of our time-of-day story is that people are actually doing work during the day, and not just putzing around on Facebook as some bosses might think! But that’s our story… what’s yours?

Post by:

srosenquist

Sarah Rosenquist

Marketing Coordinator, Stryve Group

Blogger and Account Manager at Stryve Group. Results-focused marketing in Kitchener, Canada.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Ian Mullane
Posted on September 24th 2013 at 4:58PM

Thanks Sarah, a great post and I especially like that you have not tried to generalise like so much content on this subject. It really is all in the data and whilst it Facebook insights may not provide the level of data needed, it is available in platforms like Locowise that can tell you best day and time not just based on age and gender but also based on when fans have engaged with particular previous content.

The reward for being so disciplined is visible relatively quickly with increased engagement and reach.

jenpicard
Posted on September 25th 2013 at 9:17PM

"At the end of the day, the only data that will truly help you is your data."

Amen sista! I also just wrote an article on the best time to post on Facebook, where I discuss using the new Facebook Insights to see when your fans are online. This data, which is unique to each and every single brand, is a great starting point to experiement with the best time to post. From there, your tips can really take this data to the next level to understand how engaged users are at different times.

I was reading another article yesterday which talked about going on the Burrito Principal - which says that people are logging in on the bus on their way to work, while eating a burrito at lunch time, or after their kids are asleep. Your new Facebook Insights may show that your fans are, in fact, online at this time - but when are they really clicking on your content, commenting on your posts, and sharing your posts with their network? Using your tips, it would be easy to see, for example, if your fans were online during their am commute, but really only engaging once they were in front of their computer after the kids are in bed.

Posting when your fans are online is great for brand awareness, but perhaps you find a time that is best for posting direct response type content. Kudos on a great article Sarah!

hsinar
Posted on September 26th 2013 at 3:16AM

Sarah, I totally agree to what you say in your first two paragraphs. And this applies to posting on other social media outlets and email marketing as well. You should know your audience and how they will engage with your posts. Testing and your metrics will give you the answer.

Sam Walls
Posted on September 26th 2013 at 8:19AM

I don't believe this. Is Social Media Today actually endorsing an article that talks about the best time to post on Facebook, then goes on to say that Facebook does not give you the hourly breakdown of activity on your page? This is why it's so frustrating going through these "popular" social media tips and tricks blogs.

Facebook Insights gives you all the hourly breakdown of content you're going to need. You can go to Facebook Insights and see what time your users are online on particular days. Are they online on Wednesday at 4 PM or at 8 PM? Or are they online at 3 PM on Saturday? For every single day of the week and every single hour - you get detailed statistics from Facebook Insights that tell you EXACTLY what time is the best for you to post.

This question should no longer be asked by anyone - and such articles SHOULD NOT be endorsed - specially by websites like Social Media Today.

srosenquist
Posted on September 26th 2013 at 6:40PM

Hi Sam, I admit that part could be misunderstood. It is meant to refer to hourly engagement stats with one specific post on your Page, not the overall 'When Your Fans Are Online' stats. Thanks for keeping me on my toes