While Instagram has been reluctant to share overarching statistics about Reels — its answer to TikTok — brands have been achieving impressive results.
The NBA’s Reels get 43% more engagement than their standard posts or Instagram Stories. And luxury fashion brand Louis Voutton’s Reels have racked up a whopping 7 million views in under two years.
With numbers like those, you’d be doing your business a disservice if you didn’t give Reels a try.
But, at the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, it’s not enough to produce eye-catching Reels. Unless the people you want to reach actually see your content in their feeds, all your efforts will go to waste.
So when is the best time to post Instagram Reels to get as many eyes on your content as possible?
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The best time to post Instagram Reels: what does the research say?
Given the buzz around Reels, you won’t be surprised to hear that there have been a number of studies aimed at discovering the best time to post.
Influencer Marketing Hub, which analyzed over 100,000 Reels, concluded that the best engagement typically happens early in the morning or late at night.
This timeframe is attributed to work and school schedules, with most individuals on social media before and after their other responsibilities.
But does it really matter when you post? Afterall, you don’t need instant activity on your Reel to rank well.
The answer seems to lie in how Instagram’s algorithm works.
As Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri explains, the platform ranks content based on four main factors:
The nature of the content
Is it a photo or a video? Is it relevant to the user? How many interactions does it have?
How often do you post? And do you and a particular user follow each other?
What content does the user typically engage with?
The user’s interaction history
Have they interacted with your content before?
Crucially, these factors aren’t time-limited. In other words, getting loads of interactions as soon as you publish your Reel doesn’t help it appear higher up in individual users’ feeds. Nor does not getting immediate interaction hinder its visibility.
The upshot is that there’s no pressure for you to pinpoint when your audience is most active. Instead, you can give your post a boost by publishing it before other brands start crowding in on users’ feeds.
To hijack a bunch of expressions, while your audience isn’t necessarily made up of early birds or night owls, being an early bird on Instagram can help you catch the proverbial worm.
Find out the best time for your audience
The research from Influencer Marketing Hub offers a good indication of when to post when you have a brand-new account. Most Instagram users are aged 25–34 — typically working professionals with limited time during the day to scroll through their feeds and interact with content.
Consequently, you might think the best advice is to post Instagram Reels before and after work when users have access to their phones; however, this doesn’t paint the most accurate picture on a case-by-case basis.
To help you drill into your specific audience, Instagram provides insights (appropriately called Instagram Insights) into the accounts that view and interact with your profile.
Once you establish your Instagram Insights account, you can start to rely on your own analytics to find the best time to post Instagram Reels. With the help of Instagram Insights, you can gauge when your target audience is most active and tailor your content plan accordingly.
For example, if most of your followers live in a different country than you, adjust the posting time to their local time zone.
You can also analyze the content that performs best with your audience and compare it to other posts, revealing new patterns over time. Once you’ve identified when your followers are most active and responsive, you can keep a consistent schedule and track your progress as you go.
To access these insights, you’ll need to change your Instagram account to either a business or creator account. This is a simple process:
- Head to the settings section in the menu
- Click on the account menu
- At the bottom of the list, click on “switch account type” and select the one that is most relevant to you.
Once you have access, your account will start tracking data on your audience’s demographics. You can then use this information to personalize your strategy and optimize your Reels content for maximum engagement. Instagram will break down your audience according to top cities, top countries, ages, and genders.
You’ll also be able to access data on when your audience is most active. Instagram will break this information down into days and hours.
In the example above, there is less of an incentive to post in the morning before work because the audience is less active on Instagram at that time. For this account, the optimal posting time is between 6 pm and 12 am, as that is when engagement peaks. With this information, you can optimize your Reel content for the times when people are most likely to be interacting with your content online.
Analytics is a vital component of the content strategy, but when you’re operating on multiple platforms, it can be challenging to keep track of all the data. A social media scheduler like Loomly enables you to schedule posts easily. It provides insights into your content’s performance through in-house analytics.
Loomly can gather data from across your social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and present it in a single dashboard, helping you create an effective content strategy tailored to your audience’s needs.
How to boost engagement on your Instagram Reels
While you don’t have to schedule your Reels with Swiss precision, you’ll still want to make sure that your audience is active around the time you post. Your audience can’t engage with your content if they’re asleep or at work.
- Experiment with posting: Posting content at different times of day is the easiest way to find out what works best for your audience. Try posting at different times, and compare the engagement you get from each post.
- Track your analytics: As your analytics collects data, you’ll be able to see when your audience is most active and tailor your Reel content according to your audience’s preferences.
- Schedule your content: You can’t always be online for the best time to post, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss it. Social media schedulers like Loomly enable you to pre-schedule your content so that it goes out at the time you want.
Here’s how to boost engagement with Instagram Reels for your business and reach more people.
1. Where is your audience?
When it comes to engagement, Instagram Reels are a bit like real estate: location matters.
Instagram’s 1.35 billion users are spread across all seven continents (yes, people use Instagram in Antarctica, too. We checked.) So you must take time zones into account when working out the best times to post.
With this in mind, your first step is to find out where your audience is based.
On the Instagram app, go to your profile and press the insights button under your bio. Then press total followers. This will show you a breakdown of your followers, including the top locations.
You’ll need a business or creator account to view this data.
If you don’t have a business or creator account, you can switch from the settings page. The option is at the bottom of the Account menu.
2. Schedule Reels at the right time
Once you’ve discovered where your audience is located, it’s time to figure out when they’re most likely to be active. And this means understanding when they’re awake and possibly checking their Instagram app.
If you’re in the US and your audience is mainly Canadian, this is fairly straightforward, because both countries are in the same time zones.
Things can get trickier if you’re in the US and your audience is mainly in Europe or further afield.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to create a content strategy using Loomly’s post builder to schedule Reels. This tool allows you to easily plan your posts in advance.
Loomly’s post builder helps to save time by giving you the option to post your content to multiple platforms. If you’re looking to publish your content on Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube Shorts, you can do it all with the click of a button.
Once you’ve created a content strategy and scheduled your Reels using Loomly’s post builder, it’s time to monitor the growth of your Instagram presence. Loomly’s social media management tool provides insights into how your content is performing with its in-house analytics. This data can be used to refine your strategy to reach more people and increase engagement with your content.
3. Give your Reels your unique stamp
Figuring out when your Reels are most likely to appear in front of your audience is half the battle.
The other half is getting your audience to stop scrolling, take notice, and engage with them.
And for that to happen, you need to give them a reason to.
How to create a Reels strategy is a whole topic unto itself. That said, you can’t go far wrong if you follow these simple principles:
Your content should be relevant to your brand and your target audience.
This is fundamental. There’s no point making Reels about food if you’re a shoe shop (unless you’re telling your audience about your shoes’ new and improved stain-resistant coating).
Your audience should get something out of your content, whether it’s valuable information or just a bit of fun.
UK-based retailer B&M, for instance, often uses Reels to spotlight how specific products work.
By contrast, Taco Bell tends to take an out-of-the-box approach with its Reels. They even turned what would’ve otherwise been a bog standard product video of their breakfast burrito into ASMR.
Your Reels are an extension of your Instagram profile, so they should follow the same aesthetic. Inconsistency risks giving the wrong impression of your brand or confusing your audience.
4. Use hashtags
On Instagram, hashtags make a big difference in a posts’ reach. And Reels are no exception.
But you need to use the right ones.
If you use irrelevant hashtags, nobody who matters will see your content. Or, worse, you’ll come across as spammy. Not good.
To find hashtags, tap on the magnifying glass icon, type in a keyword, and switch to the tags menu.
This will show you a list of the top keywords for your query.
Loomly’s post creator also shows you hashtag suggestions based on the content of your posts, as well as trending hashtags. But bear in mind that we don’t currently support Reels because of restrictions in Instagram’s API.
There’s conflicting advice on how many hashtags you should add to a Reel. Some say you should max out the 30-hashtag limit, while others suggest you should be careful not to go overboard.
Our advice is to go for quality over quantity.
What’s most important is that your hashtags are relevant to your Reel.
5. Update and redefine your posting strategy
The goalposts for success on social media — and Instagram in particular — are constantly changing. Updates to the app’s algorithm can lead to a sudden drop in engagement or reach of content.
This can be particularly devastating for businesses relying heavily on the platform as an outlet for their products and services. To stay ahead of the curve, creators must continually update and redefine their posting strategies.
One way to do this is to take advantage of data-driven insights powered by analytics tools, whether native Instagram tools or third-party apps. This valuable information about your content’s performance can help you refine your strategy so that it reaches more people and increases engagement with your posts.
Analyzing user patterns and trends can also help shape a successful posting strategy when it comes to Reels. Instagram and other short-form content platforms boost videos that use the right hashtags/trending songs/filters, etc.
Check out what other brands in your niche are doing while keeping an eye on your own feed, as this can help inform what’s hot on Reels.
How many times should you post per day?
Knowing when to post Instagram Reels is only part of your overall social media strategy. To truly reap the rewards, you’ll also need to find the right balance between volume and quality for your audience.
Determining how often to post is largely a question of personal preference; however, for most profiles, one or two posts per day is a good starting point. You can always experiment with more frequent publishing and see what works, but consistency matters most — so make sure you’re consistent in terms of frequency and content quality.
You may feel pressured to post more often, but if the content’s quality drops, that extra effort won’t be worth it. Posting five times per day is fine if that’s workable, but that’s a lot, even for large marketing teams.
On average, Instagram users are on the platform for around 30 minutes daily; as such, they’ll scroll past anything that doesn’t hit the right quality level. So before you start firing out content, consider how many Reels you can realistically manage per day and stick to that.
The best time to post Instagram Reels, in a nutshell
To give your Instagram Reels as much exposure as possible, the best time to post is either early in the morning, around midday, or late at night.
That said, it pays to experiment with different times to see what works for you.
More importantly, you need to stick with it. Instagram’s algorithm boosts content from creators that users have interacted with before. So if you share relevant and useful Reels regularly, you’ll build a relationship with your audience that’ll pay off in the long term.
The best way to post at the right time is to use Loomly’s scheduling tool. You can create and optimize your posts during your work hours, and Loomly will handle the upload and post to Instagram at the time you choose!