When’s the best time to post on social to reach the most people? When are people most likely to respond on social? At Klout, we thought we’d take a deep dive into this and find some answers. Now granted, numerous studies look at the best times to post on social, but the study we just completed takes that one step further and looks at the importance of personalized posting schedules to maximize engagement. We also worked with a huge sample size, analyzing 144 million posts and more than 1.1 billion reactions (a reaction being likes/comments/retweets, etc. on posts).
Here’s what we found: User schedules need to be personalized for maximum engagement, and using a generalized schedule based on regional averages is limited in effectiveness. Why? Because any user’s audience is typically spread across various locations. So, when you tweet from Dallas, Texas it reaches your audience that is in the same city/time zone as you, but it doesn’t arrive at the prime time for reactions for any of your followers who are in different locations around the country or globe. Thus, the likelihood of them reacting is much lower. By doing so, your sharing times will be personalized for each user, resulting in maximum engagement. In fact, when those we studied followed the recommended personalized posting schedules, they saw an increase in reactions of 17% on Facebook and 4% on Twitter.
Other interesting facts the study revealed:
Twitter sees more peaks and valleys in engagement throughout the day than Facebook – which remains relatively steady throughout. Both networks see secondary, post-work day peaks from 7-8 pm.
With respect to weekly trends, Twitter activity falls to almost half of its weekday amplitude on Saturday and Sunday, whereas Facebook activity seems to be less affected by weekends. Also of note is that Facebook is most consistently used throughout the day on Sundays.
Of US cities, San Francisco and New York exhibit similar patterns, where reactions peak at the beginning of work hours. For Paris the reactions peak in the second half of the work day, while for London most reactions are limited to the very end of the work day. Finally, the pattern for Tokyo is quite different from the rest with two peaks, both occurring outside of working hours.
Overall, we find that a majority of reactions occur within the first two hours of the original posting time on most networks. Audience behavior differs significantly on different networks though, with Twitter having larger reaction volumes in shorter time windows immediately after the post (50% of reactions within the first 30 minutes), and as compared to Facebook which reaches 50% of reactions after two hours.
If your user accounts are connected to Klout you can create your own personalized schedule by sharing content from the “Explore” tab. Clicking on the “Schedule” tab on the pop-up shows you the personalized top 3 times to post for the user.
Further clicking on “see the full timeline” shows the optimal times to post for the entire week. Clicking on the Twitter and Facebook icons in the pop-up shows the respective schedules for that network.
This study analyzed 144 million posts, over 1.1 billion reactions, and includes in-depth analysis of post-to-reaction times, cross-city dynamics and cross-network dynamics.
For those interested in the data, it is publicly available on GitHub. Making this large, anonymized data publicly available will hopefully enable other researchers to perform studies in this area. This study has been accepted for publication at the 21 st ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, taking place in Sydney, Australia, this August.
To download the full study, click here.
Study authors are Nemanja Spasojevic, Zhisheng Li, Adithya Rao and Prantik Bhattacharyya.
Adithya Rao Development Lead Research Engineer
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