How To Find The Best Time To Tweet [Lab]

best time to Tweet

Any Twitter users out there? Join me today, as I go about finding the best time to Tweet.

**This is a 2020 update to a previous post.**

This turned into a MUCH bigger post than I had first envisaged, so here’s how I’m going to manage this:

So what is the best time to Tweet?

That question is not as straightforward as it seems. I’d love to be able to say to you ‘Tweet at 8.15am for best results’, but it’s not that simple, I’m afraid. Depending on where you are in the world, there are different ‘best’ times. There are also best times to Tweet for likes, best times for Retweets, best times for clicks.

Just tell me the answer

I am not sure there is a definitive answer, as what works on one day may not work on another. My advice at this point would be to experiment. Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you there.

Experimenting

There are a surprisingly large number of analysis tools available on the internet. In keeping with my theme of FREE resources, here are three that you can use for free:

Followerwonk  The tag line is ‘Find, analyse and optimize.’ For any of you out there that dream about stats, graphs and charts, this is for you. Visit the site and sign up with Twitter for your free account. Click on ‘ANALYZE’, enter your username and select ‘ANALYZE THEIR FOLLOWERS’. Click ‘Do it’ and watch the results roll in (oh how I love graphs!).

One of the good things about this free service, is just a short scroll down the first page, you will see a chart showing the times that all your followers are active. Here’s my followers:

Best times to Tweet

You can take a note of these times and plug them into your Tweet-scheduling tool of choice (more on that next).

Best times to Tweet - Tweriod

Tweriod ‘Start Tweeting when others listen.’ Another FREE tool, Tweriod can analyse your Twitter account and your followers and provide you with the times when your followers are online, but it will also tell you when best to post for maximum exposure. More graphs:

The graph above is for my Twitter followers. You can clearly see the peak time to catch the maximum amount of my followers. Yours may be different. You can even drill down further to look by the hour throughout the day, although that level of detail may take up too much of your time.

To use Tweriod, just log in with your Twitter account, then click ‘My Analysis’, and you’ll get a breakdown like the one above.

Audiense  This is not a tool for everyone, just people that like numbers. The link I have given you will take you to the FREE signup.

Okay. So you’ve identified some times that you’d like to try. Now what?

Fire off some Tweets at the suggested times and see the results of your research! That presents you with two problems: Firstly, how do you see the results of your efforts?

Nip over to Twitter. On the the menu down the left hand side, choose ‘More’ and in that new menu, you will see ‘Analytics’. That should give you a breakdown of your Twitter activity by month. At the bottom of each month, you will see ‘View all Tweet activity.’ That gives you something that looks like this (taken from my last year’s stats – I’ve been out of action for a while, cut me some slack!):

find the best times to Tweet

As you can see, There is an awful lot of information, but d you will see a breakdown of all your Tweets, along with all audience engagement numbers. Click a Tweet to break it down further. There are enough stats here to keep everyone happy (but be aware of procrastination!). The right hand part of the page will breakdown how your clicks, likes and retweets etc are doing.

The second problem is do you need to stay awake all night if want to post at midnight? No. That’s where scheduling comes in.

Scheduling your Tweets

Other than making your children get up at night to Tweet (not recommended), your best option is to use one of the free scheduling tools available to you. There are several, but I will focus on the two that I use:

Buffer  – Easy to use, Buffer links up nicely with some of the above analysis tools. In Followerwonk, once the analysis has discovered the most productive times to be Tweeting, you can ask Buffer to create a custom Tweet schedule for you, including auto link-shortening (found in the settings):

Buffer social media scheduling

The free version will only allow ten Tweets to be scheduled at a time, and will allow up to link up to 3 social media accounts.

Hootsuite  – The free Hootsuite account will allow you to schedule many Tweets, days, even weeks into the future. Track all your mentions, Retweets, and followers all in one place (from multiple social media accounts):

Hootsuite1

Hootsuite’s auto schedule function is now trapped behind a paywall. It will analyse your account and pick the best times to schedule your Tweets. But you have to pay for that.

Other Social media management tools with FREE plans include:
Later
Tweetdeck
Socialoomph

Results from Buffer and Hootsuite

My 1800 (approx) followers is a drop in the ocean compared to these heavy-hitters. Buffer, for example, analysed 4.8 million Tweets over 10k profiles. This is what they discovered:

  • Early morning Tweets receive the most clicks
  • Evenings and late nights receive the most Retweets and clicks
  • The most popular time to Tweet and get engagement differs across timezones, so I would recommend doing your own research to find these times
Twitter best times results

General observations from their findings:

  • 12pm to 1pm (local time) is the most popular time to Tweet
  • 3am – 4am The fewest Tweets are sent
  • 11am – 1pm The highest volume of Tweets
  • 2am – 3am Earn the most clicks per Tweet
  • 9am – 1pm Fewest clicks per Tweet

I think some of these numbers are counter-intuitive; Tweeting at the time when the fewest Tweets are sent improves your click-rate, perhaps because your Tweets have less competition for eyeballs. By far, most of my Tweets are made early morning, UK time, and as a result, I get most of my traffic coming from the West Coast of the US. Following this research I will be changing my Tweet-times to become a bit more Euro-friendly.

Optimising for highest engagement, the graph is very clear in its findings:

Best Time to Tweet for clicks

It is almost the reverse of the most popular time to Tweet, giving credence to the idea that more Tweets makes it harder to find your Tweet among the thousands of other.

Hootsuite offers similar results but also notes that the average half-life of a Tweet is 24 minutes (compared to 90 for Facebook). This stat shows how important it is to optimise the times you are Tweeting.

Their data suggests that the best time to Tweet is 3pm Monday to Friday. Hootsuite also argues that the best time for engagement (clicks, Retweets) is 12pm – 3pm, going against Buffer’s findings.

Hootsuite also suggest creating a different Twitter handle for each of your most important timezones, but I would suggest that unless Twitter is driving most of your traffic, that could be a bit excessive.

Observations

Using the tools mentioned above, I was able to find the following:

  • For me, the early evening, 5-9pm was best for Retweets
  • The most likes occurred early afternoon, 2pm, and late at night, 11pm
  • The best time to Tweet for clicks is during the 4 – 9pm slot

Although some of these results fly in the face of what I’ve discussed earlier, they can somewhat be explained when you look at the average reach for each of my Tweets over the same time-period:

Twitter reach

What should you take away from all this?

Although the data suggests trends in finding the best time to Tweet, the various times I have mentioned here should be the jumping off point for your own research; you should not expect to plug in the times I mentioned and see your engagement rate go through the roof. The suggested times are just that: suggested times. If my results have shown anything, it’s that you should test what works for you and your followers. Start with  Followerwonk to suggest the best times to schedule your Buffer/Hootsuite Tweets, then look at the results and alter accordingly.

I wrote a post somewhere on How To Write An Effective Tweet. When I have some more current Twitter data (I’ve been inactive for over a year!) I’ll fish that post out, update it and post the results.

person thinking

My Question to you:

Do you pay much attention to when you send tweets?

One thought on “How To Find The Best Time To Tweet [Lab]

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