July 25, 2023
The Best Time to Post on YouTube
When it comes to YouTube, timing is key. If you approach it strategically, you can help ensure your videos reach the widest possible audience.
With the time and energy you spend crafting your videos, you don’t want them to get lost in the shuffle. After all, there are over 2 billion monthly active users on YouTube. Every day, those users watch over 1 billion hours of videos.
The platform is an ocean of content, with over 500 hours of video being uploaded every minute. However, don’t let these figures discourage you. By posting at the right time, you can maximize your video's reach and engagement.
The thing is - it’s not as simple as knowing the best time to post. There’s a bit more to it. So, let’s explore the ins and outs of timing your YouTube posts.
How does YouTube timing differ from other platforms?
To start, it’s helpful to know how YouTube approaches timing compared to other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The most important difference lies in the amount of time YouTube takes to index your content.
When you post to these other platforms, they show up right away in people’s feeds. That means your content has a short window of time to engage with your audience.
YouTube works differently. The platform’s algorithm takes its sweet time to analyze your videos. It looks at your video's performance and engagement once your upload it before showing it to a larger audience.
So, to time your upload well, you need to factor in the amount of time it takes for YouTube to index your content. Though there’s no hard and fast rule on this, it’s common practice for people to post 2-3 hours before your optimal posting time.
Meaning that if your best time to post is between 8 and 11 pm, you should be ready to upload your video by 5-6 pm. This way, your video will be well-placed in your audience’s search results when they come online.
When should you post your YouTube video?
Ah, the golden question. Before we get into it, it’s important to preface it by saying that there is no perfect time that works for everyone. There are different factors to take into account. But we’ll get into those a bit later.
However, there is data that tells us generally when the best time to post is. According to it, the best time to post on YouTube is between 2 to 4 pm (EST) on weekdays and 9-11 am (EST) on weekends, with the best day being Sunday.
What else should I keep in mind?
As I mentioned earlier, there isn’t the best time to post on YouTube across the board. Though it is a good idea to keep the general timing in mind, it’s also important to look at your channel to figure out what works best for you.
Consider your audience
To start, look at your audience. Where in the world are they located? Maybe 2-4 pm EST doesn’t align well with their time zone. Also, what are their habits? Say, for example, you’re targeting a nice of night owls who hop onto YouTube at 2 am. Then you may want to shift to a nighttime posting schedule.
Make use of analytics
If you’re not sure where to start, use the best times noted above as a guideline. Then, keep a close eye on the data. You can access it by going into your Channel analytics, via YouTube Studio.
If your videos have gained enough viewers in the last 28 days, you’ll be able to see a graph that tells you when your viewers are on YouTube. Keep in mind that this data is based on your time zone.
The graph is pretty easy to read - the dark purple bars show you when your audience is watching your videos the most, and the light purple bars the least.
If you have multiple dark bars throughout the week, choose a day with a slightly lighter shade of purple bar that's close to your main day. Videos usually get most of their views in the first 2 days, so it's best to post on the two peak days.
By studying your audience graph over time, you can get a really clear idea of when your audience is online. Once you do, just make sure to post 2-3 hours ahead to give your videos time to be indexed. This way, they’ll land in your audience’s feed when they’re online.
You can also see where in the world they’re watching from, among other helpful stats.
Keep track of your audience in real-time
If you’re new to the platform and don’t have a flushed-out audience graph of when your viewers are live, there’s another way you can go about it.
In YouTube analytics, check out the 'Real time' section under the 'Overview' tab on the right side. It displays the number of views your videos got within the last 48 hours, broken down by each hour.
To see when your audience is most active, track this data for a month or so. Look for patterns of views throughout the week to find the best posting days and times.
And don't forget, you can start with the average best time to post data. Test if it works for your niche and make tweaks based on your audience's habits.
Finally, make sure to stay consistent - YouTube is all about it. And, now that you know the best time to post, you can carve out a posting schedule.
With a schedule, you’ll be better able to keep your audience's attention. The more they watch, the more your videos will show up in their feeds.
You can also put your efforts towards creating quality content. If you're really serious about it, invest in some equipment. There are some quality cameras and great microphones for YouTube out there.
Also, try to put out videos your audience actually wants to watch. Listen to their feedback, engage with them, and keep an eye on how they behave. This is the best way to grow an online community. YouTube pays close attention to viewers, so do your best to keep them happy and engaged. You got this.