TikTok's meteoric rise has left marketers scrambling to figure out how to harness the platform's power to their advantage. With unprecedented speed, we’ve seen TikTok secure an influence on the world — surpassing even Google and YouTube in reach.
As your brand determines what content to post to TikTok, you're also asking when to post it. The truth is, there’s no one answer, depending on your content, target audience, and when they’re awake. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to determine the best time to post on TikTok according to your situation.
Does it actually matter when you post?
TikTok’s algorithm works a little differently than most – meeting users where they are, rather than where you are. While fresher content gets preferential treatment by the algorithm, your content can continue to appear in users' feeds over days, weeks, or even months. This differs from more linear-based feeds on platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
That said, the first few hours of your content’s life are critical – this is when TikTok tests your content against a target audience. If your content performs well, it will be sent to more and more users until it finally runs out of steam – whether that’s at 10,000 views or 10 million.
To reiterate, the first ~100 people who see your content will decide its fate. This means that you need to post whenever the audience you think is most likely to love your content is actually online, making post time a very significant factor in your success. Keep in mind that there’s generally a buffer in between the time that you post and the time that TikTok pushes it out to users, so you may need to plan accordingly. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours for your content to get its first views.
So when’s the best time to post on TikTok?
As mentioned above, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this question. After all, your exact audience will be different from most everyone else, and those audiences have different schedules. If your audience isn’t on TikTok when you’re posting, they’re not seeing it.
Before getting into those nitty-gritty details, we’ll look at a baseline metric. Based on an analysis of over 10,000 posts, Influencer Marketing Hub compiled the following global average for best posting times:
Monday: 6:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 10:00 PM
Tuesday: 2:00 AM, 4:00 AM, 9:00 AM
Wednesday: 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 11:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM, 12:00 AM, 7:00 PM
Friday: 5:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM
Saturday: 11:00 AM, 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM
Sunday: 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 4:00 PM
Their study also found that Tuesday at 9 AM, Thursday at midnight, and Friday at 5 AM enjoyed exceptionally high engagement rates.
These global statistics can serve as a helpful starting point, but they do not tell the whole story. The best time for you to schedule posts depends on your target audience, their region, and their habits.
Finding the best time for your profile
So far, we have a baseline to think about when considering when to post our content. That’s a great starting point, but now it’s time to research your target demographic to optimize posting times fully.
Fortunately, TikTok makes this easy thanks to their excellent native analytics tools. Here’s how to access them:
1. Make a Creator account
TikTok’s in-depth analytics tools are only available to users with Creator or Business accounts. Fortunately for you, it’s super simple to switch over. First, navigate to Settings and Privacy, then Manage Account, and select Switch to Business Account. From here, you will have access to analytics, among other features necessary for anyone serious about TikTok.
2. Open the Analytics dashboard
The next step is to locate your account's analytics page. To do so, find the menu (top right of the profile screen), click Business Suite or Creator Tools, then select Analytics.
Pro Tip: Open TikTok Analytics on your computer for a better experience overall.
3. Determine top territories
Your followers’ time zones will relate directly to their most active times, so it’s crucial to determine where your followers live. To see the territory data, swipe to the Followers tab. Your top territories will be right below gender statistics.
Territory data is insightful, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle when time zones are in play. For example, users with large followings in countries with multiple time zones will have to balance the spectrum of activity.
Some users may be surprised to learn that a large portion of their audience exists outside their local time zone. Various factors can explain this, such as language spoken or regional interest in a given topic.
If that describes your channel, you may have to start posting when those users are awake and online – even if your time zone is completely different. For example, let’s say you’re an East Coast American posting content with a large Japanese audience. Let’s also assume that your time zone is 12 hours apart, and your Japanese followers are most active around 8 PM.
In that scenario, you would need to schedule your content to publish around 8 AM your time. TikTok’s native post-scheduling feature is a good solution for these situations, but brands and creators managing a large volume of video content may need to take a more automated approach. Pixlee (now Emplifi) allows brands to schedule content to TikTok and manage content within the platform, giving their social media marketing teams more flexibility when it comes to content publication.
4. Track your followers’ activity
Understanding our audience territory data gives context for TikTok Analytics' most valuable insight: Follower Activity. To find your followers’ activity data, scroll down from the top of the Followers tab and look right below the territories data.
In our above example, we can see that our followers' activity peaks around 4 PM EST (my local time converted from UTC). So we know that they’re most active around 4 PM with this data – that’s probably our best time to post! Once you have a large enough following, your followers will typically be the first people to see your new posts. TikTok’s algorithm will be more likely to send it to a broader audience and net you further exposure if it performs well with them. That’s why you must post when your followers are most active!
5. Assess content performance
The data we’ve collected so far will allow us to make an excellent estimate of our best time to post on TikTok. However, we'll have to run field tests to determine that magic time slot with certainty.
Enter the Content tab, which you can find to the left of Followers in TikTok Analytics.
Once you start posting based on your follower’s peak activity, you can use these tools to measure how effective the adjustment is. From here, you’ll want to do A/B tests of slightly different times to determine more precisely what your optimal posting time is.
Again, if you’re looking for a more streamlined approach to your TikTok content management and performance, Pixlee provides in-platform analytics of your account and videos. You can also capitalize on successful posts by creating a gallery or carousel of embedded TikTok content on your eCommerce website with Pixlee, tagging products to create a clear path to purchase.
Textiles brand DMC uses Pixlee to power a “Shop The DMC TikTok” page on the brand’s site, driving sales as well as engagement to their TikTok profile.
While likes and follows will be important metrics to consider, watch time and view counts will be the most critical indicators of engagement based on how TikTok’s algorithm works. Just keep in mind that there will be a lot of variables that contribute to going viral on TikTok, most of all the content of the video itself.
Bonus: Think about special occasions
When thinking about the best time to post on TikTok, it’s worth mentioning we’re not necessarily talking about a time of day, but also the time of year. Holidays are an excellent time to leverage hype for your brand.
For example, Chipotle has enjoyed fantastic success with its annual #Boorito Halloween TikTok campaign. Unfortunately, it was so successful that I couldn’t get my free burrito because of the long line outside the store, and the app crashed from overload.
Getting more out of TikTok
While global data can be interesting, determining the best time to post on TikTok for your profile will be almost entirely contextual. For example, particular times may be great for someone posting cooking content in the United Kingdom, but those same times might not work out as great for a Canadian cat channel.
Finding that sweet spot will require work, as we taught you above. Keep in mind that as your channel grows, your audience’s demographics may shift and require you to reconsider your prime posting time. That’s okay because we're always working and always learning when it comes to social media outreach.
Speaking of work, you’ve got a lot to do! So get out there, study your audience, and leverage that data to bring your TikTok game to the next level. Good luck!
Samuel Szuchan is the founder of SamSzu.com, where entrepreneurs are learning to scale their businesses like never before. His experience in the eCommerce industry derives from his previous ventures and his current entrepreneurial pursuits. When he’s not teaching online business to others, he can be found entranced by a new book.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.