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The Best Time to Post on YouTube – Insights Backed by Data

With 2.6 billion monthly users, YouTube comes second to Facebook as the most popular social media platform. This makes it a prime resource for content creators and businesses looking to increase their audience reach.

Understandably, competition on the platform is stiff, thanks to its lucrativeness. Without an understanding of how YouTube works, it can be extremely difficult to reach your target audience, not to mention rank highly on the platform.

Fortunately, there is a proven formula for succeeding on YouTube. Most of the advice you’ve probably come across revolves around creating unique and engaging content. However, one aspect is less talked about but is equally crucial—the time you post on YouTube.

So, what’s the best time to post on YouTube? A quick answer would be there isn’t a fixed value. But it’s more complex than that.

A general “best time and day” to post on YouTube exists, but that’s not what you’re after. To achieve the results that really matter, you need to get more granular with your strategy.

Find out more about this and how you can position your YouTube channel for success.

How Posting Time Affects Your Views

First, you must understand what YouTube aims to achieve as a platform.

Unlike before, YouTube faces increasingly high competition from other platforms. In particular, TikTok is one such fierce rival. So, the monopoly is gone, but what YouTube has done and continues to do is what should concern you.

As revelations by a few of the engineers who developed YouTube’s algorithm reveal, the video-sharing platform’s main goals are:

  1. Providing users with the most relevant answers to their queries.
  2. Ensuring users stay on the platform for as long as possible.

Multiple sources suggest YouTube employs two neural networks to achieve these goals.

The first neural network is what recommends videos to users. The other one constantly evaluates videos on the platform and provides the data that forms the recommendations’ basis.

How recent a video is, features among the many metrics the algorithm uses to decide whether it should recommend a video to a particular user.

Most of the population relies on the internet for information. Information is also highly dynamic and morphs with time as hypotheses are proven. Given that a considerable number of internet users turn to YouTube for information, it’s clear why the platform considers information currency vital.

The time metric has a snowball effect. When you post at an optimal time, the algorithm can review it, test it out with a few users and recommend it to people who’re most likely to love your content.

If the content is great, this audience is more likely to rate it positively, which the algorithm takes as a cue that it should recommend the video to more people. That’s how you get more views for your video, and if you’ve done everything right per YouTube’s content guidelines, you should see a rise in your channel subscriptions.

How’s YouTube Different from Other Platforms?

The major difference lies with the content format and the reason it was formed.

According to the founders of YouTube, their main aim was to make it easier for people to share videos. Another claim exists that it was meant to be a dating site but with video sharing embedded into it.

So technically, the idea wasn’t for it to be a social media site. While there have been efforts to increase user-to-user interactions, the social component is relatively less than on other platforms.

Furthermore, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram support a wider variety of content, namely photos, text, and video. The primary content featured on YouTube is video, and while there might be a smaller amount of photo or text data, it’s relatively less than the others.

With relatively less user data and variety to evaluate the suitability of the content to individual users, the algorithm’s focus is more on the content uploaded to the platform.

Users can upload the video on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and it’ll appear immediately on their feed or timeline. In contrast, YouTube has to parse through the content and then sort of “A/B test it” with a few users to get an idea of who the content is most suitable for.

Here’s an alternative take to this. On other platforms, as much as users are there for the content, they also want to interact with others. YouTube’s case is different. People go to the platform with limited case uses in mind.

It’s either to find information, get entertainment, or both. So, YouTube has a greater burden to quickly prove to users why they should remain on the platform.

What is the Best Day and Time to Post a Video on YouTube?

The three days leading up to the weekend are the best to post a video on YouTube. Usually, people have less work and are more active on YouTube during these days. Out of these, Sunday is the best.

There are different optimal posting times for these days too. On Fridays, the ideal window is between 12 and 9 PM, which makes sense since most people are off their jobs, school, or some other activity.

The best time is between 9 AM and 9 PM on Saturday, while 12 to 6 PM is the best for Sunday. This holds for audiences living in countries with the standard Monday-to-Friday work culture. As such, the ideal time may deviate from other disparate systems.

Best Time to Post a Video on YouTube Every Day

Generally, any time between 2 PM and 6 PM is the best time to post a video on YouTube. However, this only applies to weekdays. During weekends, the 9 AM to 6 PM window is ideal.

Here is a summary of the best time to post a video on YouTube for each day:

Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Ideal Time Range 12-9 PM 12-9 PM 12-9 PM 12-9 PM 6 AM-9 PM 9 AM-9 PM 6 AM-9 PM
Best Time 3-6 PM 3-6 PM 3-6 PM 3-6 PM 12-9 PM 9 AM-9 PM 12-6 PM


When It’s Better Not to Post Your Videos

Monday comes top of the list, followed closely by Tuesday and Wednesday. The idea is that these three are the most work or school-intensive in a week. This may always be the case for B2B brands on YouTube since most of their content is likely work-related, and they may have more views on these days.

Early morning hours and late evening are also the worst times to post your YouTube videos. The thing is, YouTube processes content uploads every other second. Once a video is indexed and put out there, it must get some views to be recommended to other users.

Otherwise, the recency principle applies, and other new content posted at the right time will be prioritized.

How to Find Your Own Best Time to Post on YouTube

A correct answer to when is the best time for you to post on YouTube is in your channel’s performance data. All the stats mentioned above are also accurate and backed with factual data. But they’re also generalizations.

As a YouTube creator, you fulfil the needs of a particular niche. While some of the general data may apply to some extent, you’re better off with insights that apply specifically to your channel. Thankfully, YouTube has a feature to help you out with this.

Here’s how you can determine your own best time to post on YouTube:

Step One: Access audience reports

First, you’ll have to log into your Google account that’s associated with your YouTube channel.

Once you’re in, click on your profile icon on the top right corner of the homepage, then select YouTube studio from the drop-down menu.

Look for the analytics option to your left, just below your profile icon and the channel’s name, and click on it.
All the tabs are packed with useful information that you can use to refine your audience’s experience on the channel. However, our focus is on time people most interact with your content. Select the audience option.

Step Two: Analyze the reports and form a conclusion

If you followed the steps above, you should now see a graph. Scroll down slowly, and below the chart, there’s a “When your viewers are on YouTube.” It’s also worth mentioning that this feature may not be available on your channel for two main reasons:

  • If you haven’t had a sufficient number of views on your videos for the past 28 days due to infrequent posting, or
  • Your channel is new.

Still, there is a way to determine your own best time without the audience report, so keep reading.

If you’re unfamiliar with interpreting graphs, this quick rundown should have you drawing actionable inferences in no time.

What you need to look for are parts of the graph with denser colors. The more shade it has, the more people are watching your videos at a particular time. The reverse is true; lighter shades of color translate to fewer people watching your videos.

Here’s a hypothetical illustration of what you might observe. On Fridays, you might notice the graph has a relatively lighter shade in the morning hours that takes on a darker hue sometime before noon and tapers off in the late afternoon.

This means there’s less audience activity in the early hours, which rises and peaks in the afternoon, and activity slowly decreases late in the afternoon to evening hours.

In this hypothetical case, the best time to post would be just before the momentum builds up. That is morning hours but not too early. It shouldn’t also be too close to when views are at their highest since you need to give the algorithm some time to index your content, preferably two hours.


How to identify my ideal time to post on YouTube without the Audience Report?

Just because you’re new on the platform or your videos haven’t gotten many views doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimize your posting time.

Refer back to the instructions on how to get to YouTube Studio. Once you’re in, select the overview section and look for a metric labeled real-time.

This metric will show the number of views your videos got in each 48-hour interval.

Create a new spreadsheet document on your device; Libre office, Ms. Excel, or Google Sheets would do fine.

Create fields for each weekday and populate them with values from the real-time tab. You can optimize your posting time based on your first week’s observation, but monitoring activity for at least a month or two is best. Play around with goal-seek scenarios; who knows what you might find!

When is the best time to post YouTube shorts?

The algorithm YouTube uses to rank regular videos and shorts is ideally the same, so technically, the best time should be the same as regular videos. However, it would be best for you to analyze your YouTube shorts’ performance over time and determine the best time based on your specific circumstance and your audience.

How often should you post on YouTube?

The frequency at which you post on YouTube can vary greatly depending on your audience. If you have a small following, posting more often is a good idea because it will help build interest in your channel and drive more views.

However, posting less often may be better if you have a large following because viewers won’t feel overwhelmed by new content every day or two.

Should I schedule my YouTube videos?

Yes. Once you’ve identified the best days and times to post your videos on YouTube, it’s best to have a defined structure to support your efforts.

To keep things manageable while still making them consistent and easy to manage, you should schedule each video’s publication date into one of three categories: daily/weekly/monthly, or monthly with breaks between each installment during the month

Final Thoughts

YouTube is a lucrative platform, but you must be proactive and tactical with your strategy to benefit from it. One way to do this is to post videos on YouTube at the best time.

As stated before, the best time to post on YouTube isn’t written in stone. There might be similarities with the general observations noted above, but still, you have to figure out what that data means and analyze your unique metrics.

Another vital matter worth emphasizing is scheduling video posts on YouTube. Once you’ve established the best time to post videos on your channel, the next logical step is to cash in on the suitable time.

An excellent way to ensure you do this is to schedule the posts for upload when it’s most appropriate to post them on your channel.

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