What time of day should I post?@@

 

I’ve seen this going around a bit today. It’s pretty meaningless, I fear. There’s no data attribution, but I strongly suspect that some of the data comes from this bit.ly research paper which I’d recommend you read: their data are good, and their analytics pretty impeccable. But you should also note that the paper dates back to May 2012. Much has happened in the intervening years. Many other vendors have released “best time to post” research; it’s a perennial favourite. Run a Google Image search on “best time to post”; it’s instructive — if a bit depressing.

Let me share two reasons why you shouldn’t pay any attention to them.

1. The feedback loop

Let’s assume, for a moment, that the data were correct back in 2012, and that some competitive advantage was to be had by posting between 1pm and 3pm EST. That information has now been shared several hundred thousand times. Does that competitive advantage still exist?

2. It’s all mostly nonsense, anyway

We spent over a year looking at a number of accounts we managed, trying to work out when we’d see optimal reach — and more broadly (across a large number of Facebook Pages) whether there was a predictable relationship between post times and engagement.

What we discovered was (in no particular order) that:

Peak Facebook tracked peak TV. Much of our audience was at work, school or doing chores or childcare during the day. Posting later sometimes appeared to confer an advantage, but there was no robust correlation.
Notwithstanding this, almost every brand Page in the UK posted between 9 and 5 during weekdays.
Changes to Facebook’s editorial algorithms had a massive impact on our data.
There were massive discrepancies between Pages.
There were massive discrepancies between content types
There were massive discrepancies

Whenever we thought we’d picked up a pattern we discovered (much to our disappointment) that we hadn’t.

We tried to adjust for confounding factors, but the reality was that almost everything other than time of day appeared to have more impact on reach, engagement and clicks.

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