Is there an ideal time to post to Facebook?

Facebook is a black box to marketers.  If you post to your company page, your post often won’t be shown to everyone who has Liked it.  At LaunchBit, we currently have 264 Likes on our company page.  But, when we post to our page, you can see that most of the time, not even half of our audience sees our posts.

A lot of marketers claim there’s an ideal time to post to Facebook.

It seems that the right time differs for everyone.  So we decided to analyze our own data.  (n=189)

Here are our 189 posts over the last couple of years plotted by time and reach.  On first glance, the data appears to be all over the place.  (Note: the definition of “reach” is the unique number of people who see a given post on Facebook.)

But, with a more in-depth look, there are a couple of interesting findings:

1) Our top posts were posted between 1-4pm PT

I took the top quartile of posts with the greatest reach and categorized them by time.  This is represented by the blue bars.  For example, you can see that 11 of my posts with the greatest reach were posted between 3-4pm.

Then I graphed how many posts you would expect to be in the top quartile for each duration of time if time were not a factor in Facebook’s reach algorithm.  This is shown by the red bars.  Here’s the interesting part: where the blue bars are significantly higher than red bars indicates where time has helped our posts get more reach.  In this case, the top posts tended to be between 1-4pm PT.

2) The bottom quartile of posts were posted between 8-9am and 4-5pm

I used a similar approach with the bottom quartile of posts.  I categorized the posts with the worst reach by time, and this is represented by the blue bars.  For example, 12 posts in this quartile were posted between 8-9am.  The red bars represent the number of posts you’d expect in each time bucket if time were not a factor in determining reach.  So, where the blue bars significantly are higher than the red bars are the worst times to post.  In this case, between 8-9am and 4-5pm were the worst time periods to post.

The takeaways here are:

  • Our best time to post is between 1-4pm PT.
  • Our worst time(s) to post are 8-9am PT and 4-5pm PT.
  • We don’t know anything about posting between 7pm-7am, since we’ve never done this before.
  • Your data may show something different.

Going forward, we should always try to post between 1-4pm to give ourselves the best shot at maximum reach.

Do you know when is the best time for you to post to your Facebook page?

P.S. If you’re interested in getting my book for free — essentially a Moneyball for email marketing — sign up below.  It will only be free for one week.

  1. Stephane/Wisemetrics says:

    Food for thought Elizabeth :
    What is the reason why 1-4pm is working best for you. Is it because it’s the timing that was perfect or is it because at these specific times, you’ve posted content that engaged more than usual? Or is it because of the type of content?
    It’s very difficult to assess. Our algorithm, for example, ranks more than 60 variables in predicting the success of a post. Day and hour being only 2 of them.

    Best,
    Stephane

    • Elizabeth Yin says:

      Hi Stephane — to be clear, this isn’t a predictor of engagement. This is a measurement of Facebook’s reach numbers for each post. In other words, how many people they decide to *show* my post to. I don’t think you determine why Facebook to show my posts… :) This analysis merely shows there’s correlation between time and impression reach.

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