The Best Time to Post on Facebook is a Small Window

When is the best time to post on Facebook? This has been the biggest, most on-fire question for social media marketers since the unveiling of Facebook Pages for businesses. While there have been several studies, statistics, and general speculation about the topic, no one has ever really cracked the secret answer. Until now.

The Wisemetrics Study

A recent study from Wisemetrics may just be what Facebook marketers need to quell their frustration with low engagement results. The study specifically looked at the lifespan of the average Facebook post (which, by the way, isn’t a new concept for social media marketing studies), but what Wisemetrics did differently in their study was to compare post reach with the other two qualitative metrics on posts: engagement (likes, shares, and comments) and impressions (clicks).

Facebook Post Lifespan Study

Read the original results and blog post at Wisemetrics.

What you’re seeing is correct—in just 30 minutes, your Facebook post has already reached 50% of its total audience. In just two hours, your post will have reached 75% of that same audience. For engagement, it takes a mere hour and a half to get to 50% of total engagement, and just four and a half hours to reach 75% of its total potential based on the time it was posted.

So what does this mean?

Timing is Everything

It’s like the title of this blog says—the best time to post on Facebook is a small window. Wisemetrics’ graph shows that your Page only has roughly 30 minutes of wiggle room when it comes to getting the most out of a post’s reach, engagement, and impressions. If you’ve ever posted something you thought might go viral (or at least get decent engagement with your fans) that didn’t, this data could be the reason why.

In order to get the most out of your efforts in building up your Facebook community in order to drive engagement, you’ll need to get smarter about timing your posts for maximum exposure.

Making Facebook Insights Work for You

If you’ve explored the new Facebook Insights, which were rolled out publicly to Pages at the end of July, you’ve probably noticed all the new metrics your page is now collecting.

One of the most important metrics you can look at when deciding the best times to post on your Facebook brand page is when your fans are online. Navigating over to the Posts tab, then the middle section, “When Your Fans Are Online,” will show you a lovely line graph averaging your fans’ Facebook activity by hour for the last week. You can even get as specific as the day of the week by hovering over the corresponding bar tabs above the graph.

Facebook Fan Insights

The importance of this graph is in the data it provides you. You are now able to see, comprehensively, when your fans are more active on Facebook (by logging in or navigating to their News Feeds). You can therefore time your posts within minutes of peak activity for your page, netting you more post views, likes, and engagement.

However, a warning: Facebook Insights are not predictive tools—they can only show you what has happened in the past, and even then, only an average. This means that it’s up to you, as the social media manager, to apply what you discover here to what you already know of your fans’ behaviors. If your current strategy gets you the engagement and participation you’re looking for, then keep up the good work, despite what your Insights might say.

Your Takeaways

I know I didn’t give a straight answer to the big, burning question, “When is the best time to post on Facebook?” Really, the answer isn’t one that a single person can give—it’s up to each manager to determine the right method for their unique Page.

My advice is to use the tools you have in conjunction with your best sense about your community to experiment with post times. You might be surprised to find what times actually work!

If you know of any other data that could be useful to answering the best time to post on Facebook question, post with your comments below!

6 Comments
  1. I use the Facebook Insights for myself as well as for my company’s clients and the more I see the Best Time To Post articles the more skeptical I get. Not that the data isn’t correct, but as you state it is not predictive.

    If you are a brand new page then your data is not going to be that trust-worthy because it will change the longer you are active. Let us also throw in the fact that you may promote the FB page in a different manner or more than in the past on different vehicles like Google+.

    This may result in quite a bit of traffic to your FB page and not because of a particular post. There is so much that goes into how well engaged a post is that it is nearly impossible to predict how well one will do even with the use of insights.

    1. Kaitlin Hawkins says:

      Hi, Jason. I absolutely agree with your comments. There really isn’t a “best way” or a “right way” to do anything on Facebook. That’s why I always tell people to experiment with what they post, how they post, and when they post. Finding the right combination of those factors for a specific page will, in the end, make it a success.

      But you’re right, this is much more difficult when it comes to brand new pages. I think that, generally, the best way to determine what’s best for your page is to keep revisiting your strategy on a routine basis. Like you say, your insights are going to keep changing as more people like your page. So make it a point to look at these metrics every month to determine what you did well and what needs work. As your page grows and develops, you can even start visiting these metrics every week and basing your strategy for the next week off of them.

      Now, to your point about predicting success of a specific post – I do agree that it can be difficult, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say impossible. I think that if you really and truly know your audience and have determined what kinds of content they enjoy seeing, you’re going to be successful. You may experience differing degrees of success, but you’ll see success nonetheless.

  2. Mike Morden says:

    I use page insights and it works very well. Thank you for this read, I will share it with my followers.

    1. Kaitlin Hawkins says:

      Thank you, Mike! I’m glad that Facebook Insights has helped you.

  3. Great advice. I have already been digging into the insights but this feature had escaped me. This will help a lot with the SMO on my fan pages

    1. Kaitlin Hawkins says:

      Glad I could help! The feature originally escaped my notice as well, since it’s hidden in a not-too-obvious place. But it really does provide some great insight into just who your audience is made up of.

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