YouTube is the world's most popular video streaming platform. There are roughly 114 million content creators posting videos on YouTube, which means that competition is fierce. Whether you are promoting your own business, selling your content, or your client's, you have to publish YouTube videos strategically to stand out from the crowd.
Bear in mind that YouTube has a diverse, global audience. The ideal posting time for one content creator might not be right for another. While there are plenty of market recommendations you can take into account when you post on YouTube, you'll need to do independent research to find the best time to post based on your location and audience.
Does It Really Matter What Time You Upload YouTube Videos?
If you have a great YouTube channel with awesome followers and good content, does it really matter what time you post your YouTube videos? Yes, it does!
Creating unique content for your YouTube channel takes real time and effort, but without a solid strategy, it's not going to give you the desired results, especially if your videos remain unseen. That's where a consistent YouTube upload schedule comes into play.
An organized schedule that works around the ideal times to post on YouTube has a number of benefits, including:
Posting your YouTube videos during peak times can significantly boost engagement with your content. Peak times are when more users are active and online on the platform, which means there is a larger audience available to watch, interact with, and share your videos. When more people are watching your videos simultaneously, it increases the chances of getting more views, likes, comments, and shares in a shorter period.
Additionally, higher engagement signals to YouTube's algorithm that your content is relevant and valuable to viewers. As a result, the algorithm may prioritize your videos in recommendations and search results, leading to further exposure and engagement. This positive feedback loop can enhance your video's overall performance, attracting even more viewers and interactions.
Understanding the best time to release your YouTube videos can significantly improve their visibility on the platform. YouTube's algorithm considers various factors when recommending content to users, and posting at the right times can play a crucial role in increasing the likelihood of your videos being suggested to potential viewers.
When you upload your videos at strategic times, you align with the times when your target audience is most active on YouTube. This means your videos are more likely to be seen by a larger number of viewers when they are actively looking for content to watch.
The increased visibility can lead to a higher click-through rate (CTR) on your video thumbnails, further reinforcing the algorithm's perception of your content's relevance and driving more organic traffic to your channel.
Driving channel growth
Strategic posting can have a direct impact on the growth of your YouTube channel. When you consistently post your videos at the right times, and your content resonates with the audience, it can lead to increased viewership and a higher number of subscribers.
As your channel gains more views and subscribers, it becomes more appealing to potential advertisers and brands. This opens up opportunities for sponsorships, collaborations, and brand deals, which can generate additional revenue for your channel. Moreover, a growing subscriber base indicates to YouTube that your channel is valuable to viewers, which may lead to increased visibility and support from the platform.
Outshining the competition
Posting your videos at optimal times gives you a competitive edge over other creators in your niche. When you publish content during peak periods, there is less competition for viewers' attention compared to times when fewer creators are uploading videos. This increased the chances of your video appearing at the top of your subscribers' feeds and recommended video sections.
Being one of the first videos seen by your subscribers can lead to higher initial engagement, as viewers are more likely to click on and watch recent content. Higher engagement in the early hours after upload can signal to YouTube that your video is worth recommending to a wider audience, further increasing your visibility and attracting new viewers and subscribers.
When you take the benefits into account, it's clear that you should be more strategic about when you publish YouTube videos.
Want to get more clients?
Boost your visibility and attract more clients when you create a free profile with Indy.
Factors That Determine the Best Time to Post on YouTube (and Other Social Media Platforms)
We'll dig into some market research about the best time frames for posting YouTube content, but before we do, you have to take all of the factors that influence your YouTube campaign into account. You can find all the data you need in your channel dashboard or by doing a few surveys.
Understanding your target audience's demographics is crucial in determining the best posting times for your YouTube channel, so make sure to study your audience report for clues. Consider factors such as their location, time zone, age, gender, and interests that might influence the audience's behavior. Different demographics may have varying viewing habits and preferences, so aligning your posting schedule with their peak viewing times can lead to higher engagement.
If your YouTube subscribers are located in a specific country, time zone, or region, you should schedule your uploads to coincide with their local peak hours. This ensures that your videos are more likely to be seen when your audience is most active and receptive to consuming content.
Open YouTube Studio, go to the audience tab, and analyze your audience's viewing habits. YouTube Analytics provides valuable insights into when your viewers are most active on the platform. You can identify trends in daily and weekly activity, peak hours, and days when engagement is highest. For example, you might find that most people watch YouTube videos in the first few hours when they get back from work or during their lunch break, so take that into account when planning your video uploads.
Based on this data, you can adjust your posting schedule to match the best time to post, i.e., when your audience is most likely to be online and watching videos. For instance, if your viewers tend to watch YouTube during their lunch breaks or after work, consider posting during those time frames to maximize reach.
Conducting competitor analysis will help you identify when your competitors are most active on YouTube. By understanding the posting patterns on their YouTube account, you can avoid posting your videos at the same time, which reduces the competition for viewers' attention across YouTube channels.
Observing your competitors' successful posting times will also provide valuable insights into audience behavior within your niche. Don't mimic their schedule entirely, but take the time to learn from their strategies to fine-tune your own posting times for better engagement and visibility.
YouTube's algorithm is constantly evolving, and its changes can impact video recommendations and visibility. Staying updated on algorithm updates is crucial for optimizing your posting schedule.
YouTube often announces significant algorithm changes and updates through its Creator Insider channel and other official sources. Keeping track of these updates can help you understand how the algorithm prioritizes content and adjust your posting times accordingly.
The type of content you create also influences the best posting times. Educational or instructional content might perform better on weekdays when people are seeking information related to work or studies. On the other hand, entertainment or lifestyle content may do well on weekends or during evenings when viewers have more leisure time.
The Ideal YouTube Post Time According to Market Research
If you conduct a simple Google search, you'll find lots of (contradictory) research about when the best time to post videos on YouTube is. We've rounded up a few of the most recent surveys and summarized their findings. While these time frames might not work for everyone, it's a good place to start! Upload videos according to their findings and make adjustments until you find the perfect time based on your content.
- Best Days: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
- Worst Days: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays
- Best Time: 5 pm (with success likely before 9 pm)
Hubspot conducted a survey of over 300 marketers and analyzed their 2022 marketing strategies. According to their social media marketing report, YouTube plays a significant role in purchase decisions for 54% of users. They found that Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are the best days to post on YouTube, while Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are the worst. The recommended posting time for success is around 5 pm.
YouTube Creator Academy's recommendations
- Best Time to Post: Between 2 pm and 4 pm
- Best Days to Post: Weekdays
- Worst Time to Post: During working hours and weekends
Sometimes it's best to listen directly to the source. According to YouTube's Creator Academy, the best time to post is between 2 pm and 4 pm on weekdays. Most viewers are on their breaks and want to pass the time in the office. However, this could vary depending on your audience's location and time zone.
- Highest Engagement Days: Fridays, Saturdays, and Wednesdays
- Ultimate Best Times: Sundays at 11 am or 5 pm
- Additional Option for Americans: Weekday mornings around 8 am EST
Boosted focused on engagement patterns, recognizing that YouTube users are primarily from the US but also with significant markets across the globe. They observed that the best engagement occurs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Wednesdays. Surprisingly, the ideal times to post are on Sundays, at 11 am or at 5 pm. They emphasized the importance of posting a few hours early to ensure video indexing and visibility in search results.
Social Pilot's recommendations
- Best Times: Weekdays between 2 pm and 4 pm CST/EST
- Best Weekend Posting Times: 9 am to 11 am EST/CST
Social Pilot advises uploading videos on YouTube between 2 pm and 4 pm CST/EST, which corresponds to the most internet-active time zones. They emphasized the need to allow search engines time to index videos by posting a few hours earlier. For weekends, they suggested posting videos from 9 am to 11 am EST/CST to align with users' afternoon activity patterns.
- Post intelligently for 2 to 5 times more views
- Determine your channel's prime time using YouTube Studio Analytics
- Post videos two hours before your prime time
LYFE emphasized the importance of intelligent video posting on YouTube. They recommended using channel analytics to determine the best time to post, targeting two hours before the channel's prime time, as indicated in the "When your viewers are on YouTube" report. Posting videos strategically at these times can result in 2 to 5 times more views for content creators.
Social Video Plaza's recommendations
- Ideal posting time varies based on your audience
- Avoid publishing at night when there's less traction
- Consider posting 15 minutes past the hour to avoid getting lost in notifications
Social Video Plaza stressed that the ideal posting time depends on individual channel audiences and demographics. They advised against publishing at night when the algorithm may have fewer users to test videos. To take advantage of peak hours while avoiding mass notifications, they recommended posting 15 minutes past the hour, such as 6:15 instead of 6:00.
Don't Forget About Seasonality
Seasonality can significantly impact the performance of YouTube channels, with certain seasons being busier than others. Some channels are inherently seasonal, like those focused on skiing during winter or camping in the summer. The last quarter of the year, from October to December, is generally considered good in terms of viewership and engagement, so concentrating on publishing content during the last quarter can be particularly advantageous.
The CPM (Cost Per Mille) of advertisement also varies significantly based on the season. During the holiday season in the last quarter of the year, CPMs tend to skyrocket. Advertisers aim to capitalize on the most profitable time of the year and are willing to pay more for ad placements, so take that into account if you are a full-time content creator with a monetization strategy.
Doing Your Own Research
As we've already said, what works for one content creator doesn't always work for the next. Always start by looking at your own YouTube channel. YouTube has powerful analytical features where you can find out more information about your audience by following a few simple steps:
- Access YouTube Studio and go to your YouTube Analytics.
- In the Dashboard, click on "Analytics."
- You will see a real-time graph; click on "See More" on the same card to enlarge it.
- On the top of the screen, the enlarged graph will be displayed.
- Hover over the bars in the graph to identify the times when your videos performed best.
Over the course of a week (or two or three), note down the top-performing hours to determine your peak hours, as shown in the table above. That will help you find your ideal publishing schedule and ensure that you enjoy the maximum reach.
How Can Indy Help?
Need help posting at the right time? Head over to Indy! Keeping track of all of your audience data and ideal posting times can be challenging, but Indy makes it easy thanks to scheduling, calendar, and task management tools. Thanks to Indy (and a host of exciting integrations with Zapier), you can send yourself Slack/email/calendar reminders to post at the optimal time. You can also find collaborators and supporters in our community to help you make the most of every post. Get started today for free!
Based on the recommendations from all of these different sources, the best time to post on YouTube is somewhere around 2 pm and 4 pm EST/CST on weekdays. YouTube Creator Academy, Boosted, and Social Pilot all emphasize posting during weekday afternoons when viewers are likely to be on breaks or have free time to watch videos. It also takes into account the densely populated, internet-active time zones (EST/CST) suggested by Social Pilot.
But it's important to remember that the best posting time can still vary depending on your specific audience and content. Use YouTube Analytics to find out more about your channel's unique peak viewing hours and engagement patterns and make adjustments accordingly. By analyzing your audience data and experimenting with different posting times, you can discover the most effective time to reach and engage your viewers on YouTube.
Need more help? Head to Indy. Indy provides tools to help you manage your freelance business as a content creator, such as proposals, contracts, invoices, and payments. This can save you time and hassle and help you keep track of your finances. You can also create a portfolio of your best content and make it easy for clients to find and hire you or connect with a community of freelance content creators. Get started today for free. Happy posting!