If you’re like me, obsessed with checking and refreshing every new Facebook page update after you post it; watching your impressions, comments, likes and shares increase, then I have some bad news.
If you’re posting your Facebook updates at the wrong time, your addiction is going to be somewhat fruitless, or at least vastly less fulfilling than it could be.
Put your page updates live at the right time however, and that small change can fuel your obsession to new heights 😉
Following is the latest research on the life of a Facebook update, as well as the best days and times to post in order to get the maximum reach and engagement possible for each precious update.
the (very short) life of a Facebook update
New research, below, from the gurus over at Wisemetrics is yet another reminder of similar previous findings by Optimal and EdgeRank Checker about the surprisingly fleeting life of a Facebook update – and subsequently how short your window of time is for getting it right.
You (hopefully) already know that posting updates in the middle of a week day is dumb. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, I just liked the alliteration. Seriously though, I know it’s convenient for you to put your updates live during your work day, but that’s rarely when most of your fans are online.
To be honest, I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t fall into that trap. More about the best days and times in a moment, and how to schedule your updates easily without leaving Facebook or using third-party apps or software.
Back to that new research. It tells us you have as little as 2 hours after posting to reach the majority of your audience.
Here’s what they learned after analysing a year’s data…
Click the image to enlarge the graph below, or just scroll down
…The summary of the findings were:
- 75% of engagement with Facebook page posts is reached in the first 5 hours after posting.
- Since impressions (people who see your update) are shorter than engagement, that time drops to only 2.5 hours to reach 75% of your maximum impressions.
- In just 2 hours, 75% of your audience sees your message.
Just 2 hours?! Exactly. Not a lot of time. Which brings us to:
the best times to post updates on Facebook
First off, the best days and times are what works for you. In other words, don’t take my word for it. Check your page’s Facebook insights for the data that really matters.
Does a 6am update get twice the reach and engagement of a 9am update? Your Facebook insights is where you’ll find out for sure.
However, if your page is new, or if you’ve been posting your updates at about the same times every day instead of trialing different days and times, you simply may not have enough data yet to make that call.
A number of studies have already shown users tend spend the most time on Facebook early mornings before work, or after dinner in the evenings (this is on week days, weekends are a different kettle of fish).
In my experience the golden time on week days is around 6am (with your 2 hours taking you through to 8am) then again around 7pm (taking you through to around 9pm).
Those 2 times are going to vary according to your region’s typical business hours of course.
Yes, your fans log in to Facebook during the day as well, maybe on their phone or sneakily on their computer at work, however I find they spend more time on Facebook before and after work, and therefore are more likely to slow down and actually interact with your update.
If your fans aren’t 9 to 5’ers then sure, the middle of the day could be perfect for you. Hence why your own stats matter most.
Until you have enough data on your page’s activity, if you’re posting your updates during typical work hours, you’ll want to use Facebook’s easy built-in scheduling.
This allows you to upload your update during the day as normal, but schedule it to go live that evening, or early the next morning, or even days or months in the future, to take maximum advantage of that 2 hour window.
Simply add your update as usual but before you post it, click the clock icon that appears in the bottom left corner of the status update box.
Pick the year, month, day and time… and voila! It’ll go off to your Facebook Activity Log for going live later. If you don’t know what or where your activity log is, here’s where to find it >
Some types of updates don’t yet allow for scheduling – most notably individual photo updates do, but photo albums don’t – however there are third-party and software solutions if needed for those. I just tend to earn my brownie points as a Social Media Community Manager and do them in my own time at home on those occasions.
the best days of the week to post Facebook updates
As for the best days of the week, there’s also a lot of research into this. One of my favourites is the study by LinchpinSEO into the best day segmented by industry.
Here’s a quick summary of just a few of the industries in order of the 1st to 3rd best days of the week based on the engagement achieved per day:
- Clothing and Fashion: Thursdays, Saturdays and Wednesdays
- Consumer Packaged Goods: Sundays, Saturdays and Wednesdays
- General Retail: Mondays, Fridays and Tuesdays
- Health and Beauty: Mondays, Sundays and Saturdays
- Technology: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays
That report also found a 14% jump in engagement for posts shared after 8pm and before 7pm, as well as a 25% drop in engagement when brands and companies posted more than 7 times per week.
In my usual fashion, this article was inspired by one study. Soon enough I had a long list of related research, stats and tips to share and it became more of a mini-novel.
I hope you made it to the end, and if you did, I hope that’s because you gained so much value from all that data pulled together in one place for you. If you did, please consider sharing this article with your network. Thank you 🙂