Consumer engagement with CPG brands varies widely by the time of day and day of the week. And engagement is not consistent from one social network to another. There are reasons why.

Rachael Samuels, social media manager, Sprout Social

Rachael Samuels, manager, social media, Sprout Social

Fish where the fish are biting.

When you’re responsible for social media publishing, this adage really hits home. But what time your audience is most active on social (when your fish are biting) isn’t one cookie-cutter number across each social channel. It’s a little more complex than that.

Your audience can change a lot by platform and—on an even deeper level–within each unique industry. When it comes to retail and consumer goods brands, delivering content exactly when customers need it is imperative to creating an engaging community, and it takes more understanding than a few good guesses.

Sprout Social gathered data to determine the best times for companies to engage with users by breaking down verticals and looking specifically at the best times for brands of consumer goods to post across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Ideal posting times can and will vary by brand.

The data tells us a story about the consumer goods customers engage with on social. Instagram and Twitter see the highest engagement on Saturdays, as opposed to platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, which see the lowest engagement on weekends.

This shouldn’t be too surprising for CPG brands as Instagram and Twitter have strong e-commerce capabilities, likely prompting a boost in engagement when many consumers have more time to dedicate to leisure activities such as shopping. However, let’s dig deeper into the specific platforms below.

Best social timing for Facebook

Facebook takes the lead in social, with more than 1.4 billion daily active users, and 93% of marketers using the platform regularly.

While that makes Facebook seem like an ideal platform to promote your brand, those numbers really mean that reaching customers is more competitive. Brands still see organic engagement from Facebook, but it’s been a guessing game on what works best.

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Data found that the absolute best times retail brands can post are on Thursday at 2 p.m. and Friday at 11 a.m.

Other notable times that yield high engagement are Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday at 4 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Weekends tend to have the lowest engagement rates for retail brands.

Best social timing for Instagram

Unlike Facebook, Instagram’s optimal publishing time for retail brands is Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Another day of the week that performs well is Wednesday, where we see the most consistent engagement throughout the day instead of at a specific time. Mondays are the least engaged day of the week for consumer goods on Instagram. This makes sense because consumers are likely catching up on work and spending less leisure time shopping online.

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Best social timing for Twitter

Driving Twitter engagement can feel fruitless sometimes. However, there’s still plenty of opportunity for brands on the platform. Particularly for organic posts, Twitter presents one of the best chances to answer a question, comment or concern in real time—providing a much better brand experience.

Similarly to Instagram, the data shows that the best day and time for retail brands to publish content on Twitter for is Saturday at 1 p.m.

Don’t let data take the place of analysis

Using this data, a CPG brand can craft a stronger social strategy with a focus on Facebook and LinkedIn content during the week, and greater emphasis on Twitter and Instagram during the weekends.

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Keeping that in mind, this data can serve as a helpful guide, but businesses should still do their due diligence when strategizing their publishing cadence. Spending time analyzing social data by platform will gives you greater insight into audience behavior, as well as what content performs the best.

All that said, it’s important to understand that no magical time of day is going to fix all your publishing woes. Ideal posting times can and will vary by brand, so keeping a close eye on your analytics will better equip you as a marketer to cut through the noise and capitalize the impact of your message across social.

Sprout Social is a social media management, advocacy and analytics software company.

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