While Instagram has been reluctant to share overarching statistics about Reels — its answer to TikTok — brands have been achieving impressive results.
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 on Instagram Reels to get as many eyeballs on your content as possible?
The best time to post on 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.
Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
This data is more or less in agreement with that from Later, who, having analyzed over 35 million posts (though these posts didn’t include Reels or IGTV) also concluded that the best time to post on Instagram is either early in the morning or late at night.
Similarly, Hootsuite suggests posting in the morning — 9am to 12:00pm — though not at night.
So why early or late, but not in the middle of the day?
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 interaction immediately 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 early birds or night owls, being an early bird on Instagram can help you catch the proverbial worm.
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.
More to the point, suggested posting times are just that. Suggestions.
While they’re a good starting point, every business is different. And you’ll want to adopt a strategy that works for you.
Here’s how to figure out the best time to post Instagram Reels for your business and boost their reach.
1. Where is your audience?
When it comes to engagement, Instagram Reels are a bit like real estate: location matters.
Instagram’s 118.9 million 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. When is your audience active?
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, so might be 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.
Unfortunately, scheduling tools don’t currently support Reels, because of limitations in Instagram’s API. So figuring out the best posting times and scheduling your Reels will require some elbow grease.
It’s a good idea to create a spreadsheet covering the main time zones your audience is from. Use the suggested posting times we’ve discussed above as a starting point and record your results.
Once you’ve established a baseline, experiment with slightly different timings to find out if you can get more engagement.
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.
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 to 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.
The best time to post on Instagram Reels, in a nutshell
To give your 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 timings 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.