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08 July 2022 • Resources

Best time to post on YouTube: How to maximize your performance in 2023

Best time to post on YouTube: How to maximize your performance in 2023

Thinking of creating a YouTube channel to promote your ecommerce business and increase awareness of your brand? 

Or perhaps you already have a presence there and are wondering what you can do to expand your reach and boost engagement.

You may not realize it, but the timing of your video uploads on YouTube can affect how many people actually see your content and have the opportunity to engage with it. Unfortunately, trying to determine the best time to post on YouTube can be a bit puzzling for any channel.

Don’t worry, though—help is on the way! 

In this article, we’ll review some helpful data on what are generally considered the best times to publish content on YouTube. In addition, we’ll supply you with some helpful hints to guide you in figuring your individual ideal posting schedule.

Let’s get to it!

How does the YouTube algorithm work?

If you’re looking to learn how to sell on YouTube, it’s a good idea to understand how the platform’s algorithm functions in the first place to help see why the timing of your posts is important for obtaining views for your channel’s content. 

The aim of the YouTube algorithm is simple: to offer users videos that will be of interest to them and that will persuade them to continue watching. 

To achieve these objectives, the social media network takes a number of factors into consideration when ranking videos. For instance, YouTube looks at how well a video’s title, description, and content line up with the user’s search query. It also examines which videos have received the greatest amount of engagement for a specific query and then facilitates users’ discovery of those videos.

YouTube places a lot of emphasis on engagement, as the longer that a user spends watching a video, the more ads they’ll view.

What does this tell us?

Well, while it’s important to ensure that your videos’ titles and descriptions contain the right keywords to match people’s search intent, aiming for high engagement is absolutely essential to gaining visibility on YouTube. The platform measures engagement via various metrics, such as likes/dislikes, comments, click-through rate, average watch time, and others.

It makes sense then that you’ll want to share content on YouTube when your audience is most likely to engage with your videos. More engagement will help to boost your credibility in the eyes of YouTube, further propelling the ranking of your videos and broadening your reach! 

When is the best time to post on YouTube?

YouTube statistics demonstrate that people’s desire for video content has increased considerably in recent years and that this trajectory is likely to continue in the future. With many businesses being aware of this, there’s a good chance that your brand will have some competition regarding views and engagement on YouTube.

For this reason, it’s imperative that you give your channel the best chance of success by publishing content at the optimal time.

As you may have discovered when researching the best days and times to post on other social media platforms, different sources have come to different conclusions. In fact, with so many variables present that can affect how well channels perform in terms of engagement at any given moment, it’s difficult to offer a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of post timing.

Nevertheless, a good notion to keep in mind is that most people tend to view videos on YouTube at times when they’d be likely to watch TV. This means that subscribers are generally more apt to be active on the platform outside of typical office hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) on weekdays and in the afternoon on the weekend. 

What makes the process of trying to determine the best times to post on YouTube different from other social networks is that it’s important to consider that YouTube requires time to index and analyze your video, as this allows it to suggest the content to more users. 

Although you might be tempted to share videos when your target audience is most likely to be active, be careful! 

It’s beneficial to actually upload your content a few hours before peak times to increase your chances of obtaining more views.

Taking all of this into consideration, several studies suggest that the best time to publish videos on YouTube in terms of engagement is Sunday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. It’s interesting that this is very different from other social media networks. For example, if you’re trying to find the best time to post on Instagram, you’ll find that Sunday is often considered the worst day to post!

To optimize your channel’s presence on YouTube, note that you don’t need to limit your uploads to the weekend, though. These are the prevailing trends for the best YouTube posting times (all in EST) for each day throughout the week:

  • Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday: Uploading videos in the window of 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. gives YouTube plenty of time to index and analyze your content before many viewers head home from school or work.
  • Thursday and Friday: The 12–3 p.m. time frame is ideal for these two days, perhaps owing to the fact that many users’ school or work days might end a little earlier just ahead of the weekend. 
  • Saturday and Sunday: Catch your audience when they’re ready to relax and spend their afternoons on the weekend watching YouTube videos by uploading your content between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Of course, you’ll also want to think about your niche as well as where your target audience is located. 

According to Statista, as of April 2022, India was the #1 country in terms of YouTube audience size, boasting 467 million active users on the social media network. The US came in second place with 247 million users, followed by Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia, with 139 million, 138 million, and 106 million users respectively.

If your social media marketing strategy aims to attract a global audience, you may want to take the time zones of the “Big 5” mentioned above into account when determining your best posting hours. However, it’s quite possible that your channel may be trying to mainly target viewers located elsewhere. In that case, aiming to find the right time to post to appease users worldwide will be less of a concern.

How to find the best time to post on YouTube for your business

Knowing the general ideal times to publish videos on YouTube is all well and good, but to really get the most out of your efforts on the platform, you’ll need to determine your channel’s unique best time to post!

Fortunately, you have a few tools at your disposal to help you discover when you’re likely to get the most engagement for your videos, allowing you to create a posting schedule that suits your needs.  

Use the real-time analytics report

In your YouTube real-time analytics report, you’ll find helpful data on the number of views you’ve received within the past 48 hours for your recently published videos. 

To access this info, simply sign in to your YouTube account. Next, find your profile icon on the left-hand side of the screen and click on “YouTube Studio.” You’ll then arrive on your channel dashboard, and from the left-hand menu, select the “Analytics” section. The “Overview” tab should open by default, and from here, you’ll choose the “Real-time” option.

By hovering over any point in the bar graph, you can see how many views your content had at a specific hour.

youtube studio real time analytics ahrefs

Source: Ahrefs

In addition, by opening up the expanded analytics report, you’ll also be able to determine when a video got the most views within the last 60 minutes. 

These insights can help you to learn if there are trends as to when your videos seem to get the highest number of views. If you find, for example, that the peak hour for your channel is 7 p.m., you’ll know that the best time for you to post is probably 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.

Consult the “When your viewers are on YouTube” report

While the real-time analytics data certainly offers some helpful insights, you may also want to take a more in-depth look at your YouTube channel’s traffic. 

Once your channel has gained some traction on the platform, you’ll be able to access the “When your viewers are on YouTube” report. It differs from the real-time analytics option in that rather than showing how many views your videos receive, it provides you with an overview of the times when your audience is watching your content.

To view this data, first go to YouTube Studio via the method mentioned previously when accessing your real-time analytics report. You’ll again select the “Analytics” section, but this time, click on the “Audience” tab.

In this chart, you’ll find the days of the week listed across the top, along with hours of the day on the left-hand side. The purple bars in the chart indicate the hours when your viewers are on YouTube and watching videos, with the bars darkest in color distinguishing the peak times when most of your audience is on the network. In contrast, as the bars become lighter shades of purple, those are the hours when fewer of your viewers are present.

when your viewers are on youtube ahrefs

Source: Ahrefs

With the insights offered by the “When your viewers are on YouTube” report, you’ll be able to better optimize your strategy for your publishing schedule to get the best results possible.

This chart informs you not only when your videos will be suggested to the maximum number of  viewers but also which days of the week may be especially advantageous for you to share content.

  • Learning what day of the week is best for you to post your videos

As described above, when it comes to increasing your chances of having your videos seen, the darker the purple bar, the better! 

If you notice that there’s one day that has a much larger number of darker bars compared to the other days of the week, say Thursday, for instance, you’ll likely want to begin by posting content then and seeing how your videos perform. 

However, it’s possible that your “When your viewers are on YouTube” report will show several days with similar numbers of viewers, not indicating a clear winner. In this case, you can count the number of lighter bars for each day, remembering that as the shade of purple becomes lighter, viewer size dwindles, and see if this helps to make your choice clearer.   

Finally, keep in mind that the type of content that you upload on your channel will have an effect on which day is best for your publishing schedule. What works well for you on Saturday, for example, may not bring the same level of results on Tuesday.

  • How to post multiple videos on YouTube throughout the week

Have lots of amazing YouTube video ideas that you wish to upload to connect with your target audience and help build your brand? That’s great! You’re definitely not limited to only publishing a single video per week. Nevertheless, be careful to plan your posting schedule strategically.

Using the data from this report, determine which day of the week is likely to be optimal in terms of views and post the video that you believe will garner the greatest number of views then. Then, say that you want to upload one or two additional videos during the week. If possible, aim to publish your videos on non-consecutive days.

Why? Well, imagine that your channel gets the best results on the weekend. If you post one video on Saturday and one on Sunday, there’s a very good chance that one of them will eclipse the other, leading to lower-than-expected performance. 

By spreading your content out a bit during the week, your videos are each more likely to receive more views and perform much better.

Begin optimizing your presence on YouTube today

There you have it!

I hope that this article has provided you with some valuable insights that you can implement for your brand’s unique YouTube strategy.

As with the timing of your posts on other social media networks, be it Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc., you’ll need to continue to test the performance of your content to determine your ideal posting times. Although your current publishing schedule may bring you excellent results now, this could easily change in mere months or even weeks.

In addition, although the data in this article is helpful and offers a good starting point for deciding when to upload YouTube videos, remember to always take your target audience into consideration. While the general consensus may be that the best time to post on YouTube is Sunday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. EST, the location and behavior of the people you’re trying to reach may not align with this schedule.

Finally, don’t forget about the significance of great content when it comes to social media marketing! Sharing poor-quality videos won’t get you fabulous results on YouTube, even if you’re publishing them at the right time.

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