There seems to be an optimal time for everything – from eating and napping to working out and communicating with friends. Timing affects the way we all behave in day-to-day interactions, whether we are conscious of it or not. And the same proves to be true for social sharing.
After examining the social sharing data from 10,000+ publishers, data from RadiumOne’s Po.st show that not only are there peak times for social sharing in general, but there are also different peak times for click backs, for sharing to certain social platforms, for sharing on different devices and for sharing based on user geography.
Research highlights include:
- There are two peak sharing times during the day: First between 10 a.m. and noon and then again between 8 and 10 p.m.
- The worst time to share an article, if your goal is to maximize clickbacks, is between 9 and 11a.m.
- Sharing and clickbacks remain consistent from 1- 6 p.m.
- The hours between noon and 2pm see the most shares with the highest clickback rates.
During peak hours, not all content is shared equally. The top five verticals include:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Health & Fitness
Also, the Po.st team found that different social channels like: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and email, have a particular time when sharing is at its peak. Ranging from early in the morning to late at night, here is how the channels stack up:
Best Times for Sharing on Social Channels:
- Twitter: 1 p.m.
- Facebook: 5 p.m.
- Pinterest: 11 p.m.
- Google+: 10 a.m.
- Email: 7 a.m.
We found it fascinating that these times differed so dramatically from channel to channel, and deduced that peak sharing times may correlate with the amount of time needed to engage with a particular social channel. For example, Twitter is a social tool that requires very little time to use, it is much easier to send a quick 140-character tweet out during or after lunch than to carefully curate visually-driven boards on Pinterest. When people have more time to dedicate to the channel, like at the end of their workday, they tend to share and create more thoughtful content on social networks like Facebook and Pinterest.
Peak sharing times shift across the globe as well. Here are the peak times for sharing content, by country:
- United States: 9 a.m is Highest Share Count, 1 p.m. Most Clickbacks
- Great Britain: 6 p.m. is Highest Share Count, 4 a.m. Most Clickbacks
- France: 12 p.m. is Highest Share Count, 5 a.m. is Most Clickbacks
- India: 12 p.m. is Highest Share Count, 11:30am is Most Clickbacks
One thing to note is that these numbers vary dramatically across the globe and while there may be cultural factors at play, this data reflects the times when people are currently sharing the most. This does not necessarily mean it is the best time to share content. Since so many people may be sharing at these times, it may make it more difficult to cut through the noise and actually reach people during these times.
The fact that the highest times for clickbacks does not directly match the peak times that people are sharing content, means that people are dividing their days into times when they are sharing content and times when they are engaging with content. In the U.S. people are sharing content in the morning but actually engaging with content and clicking through during lunchtime.
The RadiumOne team also examined trends in peak sharing times and clickbacks across different devices like mobile phones, tablets and computers. Here is what they found (all times are PST):
- Highest Sharing at 10 p.m., lowest Sharing at 4 a.m.
- Highest Clickbacks at 9 p.m., Lowest Clickbacks at 4 a.m.
- Highest Sharing at 1 p.m., lowest Sharing at 4 a.m.
- Highest Clickbacks at 9 p.m., lowest Clickbacks at 4 a.m
Desktop & Laptop Computer:
- Highest Sharing at 9 p.m., lowest Sharing at 4 a.m.
- Highest Clickbacks at 4 a.m., lowest Sharing at 4 p.m.
As indicated by the research above, social sharing has distinct peaks and valleys throughout the day. During the mid-late morning, peak sharing may align with people finishing projects at work and having some lag time before lunch. In these hours, they are able to access their favorite content on the web and quickly pass it along to their social connections. Social sharing also ramps up from 8-10 p.m. This could be because people have gotten home from work, have eaten dinner and are beginning to settle in for the night. With the day behind them, social influencers can explore content published throughout the day and share it with friends.
The fact that 12 p.m.-2 p.m. sees the most shares with the highest clickbacks indicates that publishers should post and share their content when readers are on their lunch breaks. During this time, not only do users go back to review what has happened so far in the day and take a look at trending content, but also share content with others.
The ultimate take away from Po.st’s research is that timing is key. Publishers need to observe what is happening on their own sites and monitor when their audience is most actively involved in viewing and sharing content. The Po.st network as a whole paints a general picture of when content is most shared and most viral, but that is not to say that peak times will be the same for every site. Just as peak sharing time varies by social network, geography and device, it will also vary by publisher. It is important for publishers to check analytics dashboards to receive detailed insights about their audience and their online habits. Social data observance is necessary to construct a content marketing strategy that takes full advantage of social media.