TikTok can be a fickle beast, constantly changing on a whim. The overnight rise and fall of countless users might make it seem like predicting the response to any content is nearly impossible, but there are some factors that can be helpful in making these predictions.
Time, in particular, is critical - from the time of day, to the day of the week, to other special occasions. Determining the best time to post on TikTok can be complicated, but the right tools and attitude can make a world of difference.
Here we’ll discuss some things to consider when posting on TikTok, helping you determine when the best time to post on this expanding channel might be.
As it does across all social media platforms, time plays a critical role in post success on TikTok. It might not be the be all end all factor, but you’ll certainly get less traction if everyone in your target audience is asleep. Or maybe there’s a huge event overshadowing your post that you worked so hard to curate.
Marketing agencies like ourselves are always interested in how posting time affects engagement, as shown by the multitude of studies on the topic. Some of the studies looked at dozens of millions of posts, capturing a clear picture of the engagement post time relationship.
There’s just one problem. Most of these studies are for other social media platforms – not TikTok. While you can find at least half a dozen studies for Instagram or Facebook with a quick Google search, very few focus on TikTok. The primary one available for TikTok is from the Influencer Marketing Hub covering just over 100,000 posts.
Although this is a relatively small number when compared against the 35 million Instagram posts that Later examined, it’s still a decent sample size. Interestingly, the TikTok study indicates that the best times to post on TikTok vary quite a bit from those on Instagram.
Below, we detail things to consider when trying to determine when is the best time to post on TikTok – and when is the worst time.
When deciding when to post on TikTok, the most critical factor to consider is your target audience. If you want to reach a certain group of people, you’ll need to know all about their behaviours and preferences.
Their behaviours regarding work, hobbies, chores, and sleep all affect when they typically go online and what type of content they will engage with.
Based on that information, your video should slide seamlessly into their routine.
Another important consideration? Location, location, location.
Your audience is the most influenced when they’re awake, eating, working, taking breaks, and overall procrastinating. Of course, not everyone in the same area has the same schedule. Night owls might be more active on TikTok at 2am, while early birds might have already started their daily scroll at 6am. Luckily for us, the population on average does follow a pattern.
When determining when to post on TikTok, consider your audience’s timezone. For example, if you are in the U.S. but want to reach people in India, you’ll have to be prepared to upload content based on the appropriate hours.
You’ll also need to consider that area’s local culture. While working 9-5 and eating lunch around noon might be the norm in many western cultures, many places might have very different customs for daily routines. For example, many people in Latin America eat lunch a bit later in the day, often around 2 or 3pm rather than noon. Similarly, this results in a later dinner hour.
If you don’t live in your target audience’s area, we recommend doing some research to find out what daily and work routines are like there.
Many new changes come with age - Some of them within our control and others, not so much.
If your content targets a specific age group, consider if they might have specific or unusual schedules. University students, for example, wouldn’t typically have a 9-5 job, and their school schedule influences the times that they get online and engage with content.
But if you aren’t looking to target people of a particular age, you should consider TikTok’s userbase. According to Wallaroo Media:
With these statistics in mind, you’ll want your post to gain traction during the hours of highest engagement. However, due to the way the algorithm works, taking advantage of the highest-traffic hours does not necessarily mean uploading during those hours. Instead, you’ll want to post an hour or two before - helping you enjoy less competition, better engagement, and a front of the line spot for your content during peak hours.
But more on that in the sections below.
Like targeting a specific audience, focusing on a specific topic influences how much engagement a post receives. For instance, a Christmas post in May will not nearly be as popular as it would be in November or December.
The same holds true for most posts related to holidays.
Considering time and the relevance of challenges or other viral trends is also vital. Making a post about a trend from last year will almost certainly fall under the radar because one of the live-or-die rules of TikTok is keeping up with the constantly evolving trends.
A big part of TikTok is the interaction among users.
Some trends depend on response or building off the posts of others. For example, “musical jenga” posts start off with a video of a relatively simple sound that other users then add to one-by-one, eventually forming a full music medley.
This trend uses the Duet feature on TikTok in which users can post their video side-by-side with videos from other creators.
Apart from holidays affecting appropriate post content, they also affect people’s schedules.
Many holidays result in users having more spare time and money – the perfect recipe for browsing TikTok and making purchases based on content they see. So, a holiday season can make for one of the best times to post on TikTok.
According to a study from Sprout Social, the average retailer can expect a 30% increase in holiday messaging to retailers compared to last year. Take advantage by preparing posts and getting ready to respond to the flood of customers.
Much online activity continues uninterrupted by larger-scale events, but sometimes those events take centre stage for a bit.
For instance, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic changed the online scene significantly. In particular, serious topics like these can lead to generally more serious tones internationally and less tolerance for lighthearted material.
Be sure to constantly gauge your audience’s response and interest in your content, which they might consider more average and day-to-day when compared to such intense news from other sources. To prepare as much as possible for expected holidays and events, prepare a business content calendar and internal marketing plans well in advance.
Although any post will be influenced by all above factors, there is something to be said about generally good times to post. Assuming that there are no events or holidays, the most important factors to consider are audience demographics and daily engagement levels across TikTok.
On a week-on-week basis, average engagement levels are consistently highest on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
This surge in interaction might correlate with the young demographic that constitutes the majority of the app’s userbase.
We suspect it might have to do with Thursdays and Fridays being typical party days for high school or college students (or at least they were for us not too long ago), and the Tuesday surge might represent a mid-week break from regular activities. Whatever the case, posting on these days is just likely to increase your chances of engagement.
Surprisingly, the best time to post on TikTok might come off as counterintuitive.
The factors listed in previous sections suggest that uploading when everyone is awake, active, and engaging with TikTok is the best option.
But as previously mentioned, you don’t necessarily want to share a post during the highest engagement hours. At that point, you’re just competing with all other posts being thrown into the TikTok-verse.
Instead, the secret is to upload before those hours of highest engagement, allowing your post to first garner the attention of an initial group of people.
As those early users engage with the post, they push it forward in the eyes of the algorithm. Then, by the time peak hours arrive, your post would already have a high ranking - and will outperform new posts just popping up.
With that in mind, uploading at a very early hour such as 6 or 7am can increase your chances of high engagement. But the hours of highest engagement vary by day, with later days in the week having later hours of high engagement.
For example, the best time to post on TikTok on Saturday is at night, whilst videos perform best on a Tuesday before 9am.
The following table shows the best times to post each day, according to the results of the Influencer Marketing Hub study:
Specifically, 10am to 3pm on Sunday through Wednesday is a no-go. And so is 12am to 4am on Friday through Monday. And although Tuesday is one of the best days to post on TikTok, make sure to do it before 9am.
Similarly to the best time of day, the worst time to post on TikTok is not necessarily during slow hours. Rather, it's the hours of highest competition.
Again considering TikTok’s young userbase, it’s easy to see how these hours probably correspond to youth finishing up classes for the day and then getting ready for bed. Those times are ideal for taking a little social media break, and so uploads (and competition) skyrocket.
The above times are only based on general trends from a widespread study.
If you want a more personalised option, it requires some manual analysis of your TikTok account and engagement overtime. TikTok Business Accounts have data analysis tools available, so you’ll need to make that upgrade if you haven’t. Once the account is set-up, you can access the analytics information via the settings.
There are four main categories of analytics:
Overview, content, followers, and LIVE.
“Overview” gives a general look at views, likes, comments, shares, posts, and followers for a chosen time frame. “Content” highlights the most popular posts, providing metrics such as views, likes, comments, and shares. “Followers” breaks down information about followers - including gender, geography, growth rate, and more. Finally, the “LIVE” section gives insights on posts from the last week or month, including follower count, time spent LIVE, and Diamonds earned.
Those categories might feel overwhelming. If you feel you aren’t sure how to make use of all the analytics information available, consider using one of the many tools available for analysing data and creating reports.
Alternatively, DataSauce provides an analytics dashboard and can pull further metrics to give clearer, in-depth data.
It’s not a perfect science, but it is possible to find patterns in TikTok usage, to work with the natural flow of the app when creating posts.
Hopefully the years to come will see more studies on when the best time to post on TikTok is, allowing further educated optimisation of engagement.
But for now, always remember that your target audience has its own unique set of characteristics. Constantly staying vigilant about your engagement and content will help you tailor your TikTok marketing strategy to your unique audience’s style.