Creating audience-engaging Instagram Reels goes beyond exploring unique ideas and improving video quality. Instead, it requires focusing on the time you post your Reels too.
Because the truth is told: Publishing a Reel when your audience is asleep will never get your content the eyeballs and engagement it deserves.
But when you post your Reel when your target viewers are online, your content will garner more Instagram likes and comments in no time.
So what’s the best time to post Reels on Instagram?
To answer this, we’ve put together this guide as your tell-all resource on when you should post Reels on the gram. We’ll cover the following:
- The ways to find the best time to post Reels on Instagram
- The best and worst times to post each day of the week
- And tips for increasing engagement on your Instagram Reels
But first, let’s talk about how Reels work. Dive in.
How do Instagram reels work?
It’s been two years since the launch of Reels, and more and more users are trying this feature out.
Reels are simple to create. You can upload a video from your gallery all at once or in clips and record a Reel using your Instagram camera. Moreover, you can edit your Reel to add effects, audio, and text.
Reels are Instagram’s creative response to TikTok’s video content. You can tell how quickly they’ve become a much-loved content type, given they now have a separate feed on Instagram.
Related Read: Instagram Reels Vs. TikTok
To create a Reel, click on the ‘+‘ sign on Instagram and then select ‘Reel.’
You can also make your Reel using another user’s template. To do so, tap ‘Use the template,‘ an option just above the username when a user’s Reel has been made in clips.
Remember: Instagram’s algorithm pushes relevant, engaging, and recent Reels. In other words, it shows users videos based on the type of content they engage with, the accounts they interact with, and how often they scroll.
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How to figure out the best time to post reels on Instagram?
Not only are Reels Instagram’s most engaging content type, but they’re also the platform’s fastest-growing feature. No wonder marketers and creators are jumping on the Reels bandwagon to make the most of them.
How can you find the best time to post Reels on Instagram for maximum engagement?
Luckily, we’ve five ways that you can use to figure out when you should be publishing your Reels on IG:
Start with A/B testing
If you’re new to Instagram Reels, A/B testing can help you find the best time to post Reels.
How do you go about it? Simply publish Reels at different times each day for a few weeks. For instance, publish a Reel at 4 pm Monday, then post it on Tuesday at 5 pm. Similarly, post an hour ahead the next day.
After a few weeks of posting like this, you’ll be able to see a pattern in the engagement you’ve been receiving. Jot down the times when your Reels receive the most engagement day-wise.
This way, you’ll know when you should post to get higher engagement.
One thing to remember, though: instead of deciding random times to post Reels for A/B testing, pick times when your audience is likely to be active.
For instance, if you’re targeting teens, avoid posting during the hours they’re at school. Instead, post between 4 pm to 8 pm on weekdays. On the other hand, if your target audience comprises young mothers, you may want to post midday when their children are at school, and they may have time to check Instagram.
At the end of the day, when you should post depends on when your audience is likely to be using Instagram. This looks different from industry to industry.
A/B testing may be a reliable method of finding the best time to post Reels, but it is inconvenient. With changing audience schedules and social media algorithms, you may need to conduct such testing often to track when you should post. Unfortunately, this can be both time-consuming and tedious.
Dive into Instagram analytics
If you’ve been religiously posting Reels, but only a few have received higher engagement, check out in-app analytics to up your game.
Instagram’s in-app Analytics can give you solid insights into when your audience is most active. Moreover, these insights can also help you see which type of content your audience is interested in watching.
But while using Instagram’s analytics to find the times you should post is more convenient than split testing, it does have some conditions.
You see, insights for Reels are only available if you have a Business or Creator account, and Analytics are only for some user accounts.
Also, insights are only helpful if you’ve been posting for a while. If you’re new to Reels, you may have to consistently create Reels content for the app to give you valuable data.
You can find insights for your account by clicking on Insights, an option available right on the profile of business or creator accounts. If it’s not there, click on the three lines at the top-right corner, and you’ll find Insights for your account there.
To view Analytics for your Reels specifically, go to your profile and the Reels tab. Tap on the Reel you want to view insights for. There, you’ll find the View insights option. Click on it to find the views, plays, likes, comments, shares, and saves of that particular Reel.
Now keep note of the Reels that receive the best engagement and at what times you’ve posted them.
These are the times you should ideally post when your audience is active and interacts more with your content.
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Study your competition
Here’s what you can do:
- Make a list of your competitors.
- Note down their most engaging posts.
- Track their likes and comments to determine which of their Reels have garnered the most engagement.
From then on, watch the days they posted their best-performing Reels.
However, this method has a drawback — you can only see the date a Reel is posted, not the exact time.
But this is no reason not to use this tactic to learn the best time to post on Instagram Reels. You see, an easy way to find the exact times your competitors post their most engaging Reels is by installing the Exact Time Viewer for Instagram chrome extension.
Now for the most time savvy to post Reels when your audience is active: use ContentStudio.
ContentStudio’s set-and-forget content publishing feature takes all the manual work off your plate and makes it easy for you to post when your audience is likely to engage.
All you’ve to do is to connect your Instagram account with the tool and schedule a post using it.
Once you queue a post and are ready to set a time to schedule it for posting later, you’ll have the option to post it at the Recommended Best Time.
Tapping on this option will open up a heatmap that shows you the times when your audience engages with your content the most. This way, you can schedule your Reels to post at the most suitable times.
The best part? This heatmap monitors your activity constantly and accordingly changes the recommended best times.
One thing to remember though: ContentStudio’s scheduler can only recommend the best posting times when you’ve published a couple of Reels using the tool. Because this is the only way it gets a chance to analyze when your audience is most interactive automatically.
Post when you do on other social media accounts
For those of you who are just starting with Reels and don’t have much data to rely on, here’s another super simple way to find the best times to post videos on Instagram.
Look at when your audience engages best on other social media accounts.
For example, if you have an account on TikTok, you can replicate your most engaging times to post on TikTok for posting Reels.
You can start this way, and once you have a couple of Reels on IG, use Insights or ContentStudio to refine your posting schedule further.
Also Read: What’s the Best time to post on Instagram?
Best times to post Reels on Instagram in 2023
If you don’t have any social media accounts to replicate the posting strategy or need help with when to post Reels, don’t fret.
Influencer Marketing Hub analyzed over 100,000 bite-sized videos and found these to be the most engaging times for 2023:
- Best times to post reels on Monday: 6 am, 10 am, 10 pm
- Best times to post reels on Tuesday: 2 am, 4 am, 9 am
- Best times to post reels on Wednesday: 7 am, 8 am, 11 pm
- Best times to post reels on Thursday: 9 am, 12 am, 7 pm
- Best times to post reels on Friday: 5 am, 1 pm, 3 pm
- Best times to post reels on Saturday: 11 am, 7 am, 8 pm
- Best times to post reels on Sunday: 7 am, 8 am, 4 pm
Note: these times are in EST, so you must convert them to your audience’s time zone.
Remember though: While these are the global benchmark times for posting Instagram Reels, they may or may not work for you. This is because when your audience is most active depends on their location and your business niche.
So, referencing this timetable is a great idea for getting started. Down the line, though, analyzing what is working best for your specific audience is effective.
Worst times to post reels on Instagram in 2023
As you must have already guessed, the worst times to post Instagram Reels are when your audience is least likely to engage. For most industries, these are times when their audience is asleep.
You can also grasp the same from the timetable for posting Reels we’ve shared above.
So, avoid posting your Reels between 12 am to 5 am for both weekdays and weekends. Posting during these hours will only suppress your content’s visibility and reach, resulting in poor engagement.
How to schedule Instagram reels with ContentStudio?
Whether you’re a social media manager, marketer, or creator on the ‘gram, pre-scheduling your Reels for the week can reduce your midweek workload.
Once you’re queued your Reels for the week or so in the ContentStudio scheduler, they’re automatically posted at your set time. Meaning: you don’t have to open your account exactly when your audience is active if you’re busy yourself.
This helps you maintain a work-life balance and gives you the brain space to enjoy your holidays.
To schedule your Reels, you’ll first need to connect your Instagram account to ContentStudio. Once done, follow these steps:
- Click on Compose, an option at the top of your ContentStudio app.
- Select the Instagram account you want to post from right beside the Post Composer.
- In the Post Composer, select Upload to schedule a Reel through ContentStudio.
- You can publish the post directly from the app once scheduled or receive a mobile notification at the set time for publishing the post from the two options given in front of ‘Publish As.’
- Right below ‘Publish As,’ you’ll find ‘Post Type.’ From here, select whether you want to post your video to only the Reel tab, the Feed tab, or the Reel and Feed tab.
- Finally, please choose whether you want to post the Reel at that moment, schedule it for publishing later, queue it, or save it as a draft.
Note: if you want to hit publish before a scheduled Reel is posted manually, you’ll need to download the ContentStudio app and turn on mobile notifications from within the app.
Six tips for maximum engagement on your Instagram reels
Now that we’ve covered when and how you can post Instagram Reels, here’s a quick look at six tips you can use to increase engagement to your videos on IG:
Keep user experience top of mind
Instagram wants your Reels to look as native as possible. Means: you need to ensure your videos are of the right size and shot specifically for Instagram. So, your Reels should be in the 9:16 ratio to impress Instagram’s algorithm.
Moreover, you shouldn’t upload a TikTok video as an Instagram Reel.
When you do this, your Reel is published with a TikTok watermark, which is quite off-putting to Instagram, so much so that it says it isn’t going to recommend such Reels in the Reels tab.
So, your best bet is to create Reels with Instagram in your mind rather than publishing any horizontal or unclear video as a Reel on the gram.
In other words, prioritize video quality — publish high-quality videos that aren’t blurry or difficult on the eye.
Create a custom thumbnail for your reels
When publishing Reels to your feed, you’ve two options: let Instagram select the thumbnail or pick a custom thumbnail.
A pro tip is always to select a custom thumbnail. You can either upload a thumbnail or pick a frame from the video you upload. The former is more favorable here as it allows you to have a more coherent Instagram grid and convey the video’s gist if you want to.
Look at how Solid Starts on Instagram has created custom thumbnails with text explaining what each Reel is about.
Include a call-to-action
To increase engagement, you can either have a call-to-action in the caption or include one at the end of the video.
The benefit? An effective CTA helps increase engagement by encouraging people to respond. For instance, ask a question in the caption to urge your audience to reply in the comments.
Go Wander Dubai’s Instagram page is a good example here. They typically ask a question in their captions, eliciting a response from viewers.
Ride the trend bandwagon
Have you noticed a trend on your explore page that you can jump on? Go for it.
Adding a unique twist to a trend encourages people to watch your video and engage with you.
You don’t just have to limit yourself to trending ideas; you can also follow Instagram Reels trends regarding the audio or effects you add.
Check out how @theloverspassport has followed a travel-niche trend and used trending audio in their Reel:
Get chatty in the comments section
Comment replies are a great way to make your audience feel like you value their opinion and/or questions.
Responding to the comments you receive on your Reels pushes your Reel’s engagement further and also encourages people to comment more often.
Just remember to respond meaningfully rather than just replying hurriedly with emojis. Also, always be polite and ethical rather than losing your cool when you receive negative comments.
Learn from Netflix hit YOU’s Instagram page. They also know how to keep the audience hooked on the gram by engaging with them in the comments section.
Post Reels frequently
Last but not least, post consistently. Since Instagram currently gives Reels a better chance at higher viewership, it’s a good idea to post more Reels than other content types.
Styling influencer Isha Borah’s consistency in posting reels has undoubtedly worked wonders for her, as she’s recently earned herself a blue tick.
Post Instagram Reels at optimal hours for high engagement
Posting your Reels when your audience is active is a great way to increase Instagram engagement.
And while you can analyze your past Reels performance, your competitors’ videos, or what works for you on other social networks, posting through ContentStudio is the easiest way to publish video content when your audience is likely to interact.
So, what are you waiting for? Join ContentStudio today to schedule your posts for maximum ease and engagement.
Also Read: Best time to post on Youtube
What is the best time to post a reel on insta?
The best time to post a reel on Instagram depends on your target audience and their location. You can use Instagram’s insights to determine when your followers are most active on the app. Experiment with posting at different times to find the optimal time for your audience engagement.
Does it matter what time you post on Instagram Reels?
Yes, the time you post on Instagram Reels can have an impact on how many people see and engage with your content. Posting at a time when your target audience is most active on the app can increase the visibility and reach of your Reel. Instagram’s algorithm also considers the engagement rate of your post in the first few hours after posting, so posting at a time when your followers are likely to be online and active can help boost your engagement.
Alafiya Memon is a freelance content writer and an ardent lover of fries. She creates value-packed, conversational blog posts. When she's not working, you'll find her doodling or reading.