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Social Scheduling: When Do Top Brands Post to Instagram?

I recently researched Instagram activity by brands included in Interbrand’s Best 100 Brands listing. The list, comprised of brands spanning automotive, technology, luxury, and other industries, includes 86 brands with Instagram accounts. Detailed findings are presented in Simply Measured’s Q3 2014 Instagram Study.

In this post, I’ll take a closer look at posting cadence – not just average posting frequency, but how regular that frequency is.

On Instagram, many top brand posts are published within hours or even minutes of their last post. Not surprisingly, many posts are also centered around whole day increments from the last time a post was made, suggesting a lot of big brands are doing their social media work during… wait for it… work hours. More interesting is that not only is this activity happening during work hours, but it’s happening within an hour or two of the time it was done the day before.


54% of Instagram posts by top brands are published between 9AM and 5PM Pacific Time (or 60% between 9 and 5 Eastern).  Most engagement happens quickly after content is posted – see more on that in our full study.


That doesn’t mean that audiences aren’t listening (or as is more common on Instagram, looking) into the wee hours of the morning. Top brands received similar engagement rates outside of business hours during our study period, so even though posts from earlier in the day may start to see engagement decline, there is opportunity to engage audiences with new posts into the night.


It’s possible that different sub-audiences are engaging in the evening and overnight, and it’s definitely the case that there is less competition for attention. Don’t be afraid to test posting at odd hours – you may be missing out on building stronger connections with some of your followers, and there is prime opportunity to stand out on your followers’ feeds while they’re waiting for dinner.

Read the Full Study 

Simply Measured’s Q3 2014 Instagram Study uncovers findings around:

  • Hashtags
  • @Mentions
  • Photos vs. videos
  • Location tagging
  • Posting frequency

Here’s a teaser. The full study is available to download for free by clicking the button in the graphic below. See how your brand stacks up to the best in the world!

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Michael Thomason

Michael Thomason

Michael is Simply Measured's Marketing Analyst, focused on measuring, analyzing, and understanding the social strategy for the most successful social brands in the world.

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