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When it comes to posting content on social media, timing can be super important for getting your message noticed.  Even a great piece of content won’t do you much good if it’s posted at the time of the day or week when your target audience isn’t paying attention. By the time the person gets time, it will be buried under an ocean of notifications from other sources. Personally, I find with commercial email and social media, I only look at it when its convenient to me, and so I will only look at what is at the top of the queue, because decision fatigue will set in with everything else.

I was curious about whether my clients businesses had big spikes in traffic, or more sales at certain times of day or days of the week. I developed several graphs to answer this question.

when should you post to social media or email

Does it matter what day and time of day you share your content and marketing?

The answer is a resounding yes, businesses do have strong spikes in traffic at particular times of day and day of the week, and the variation becomes even more apparent when looking at converting users.

Here is an example of a business that has a significant peak of traffic in the afternoon, particularly between 2-4pm. The graph titled ‘All Users’ shows all the users who came to the website, whereas the second graph ‘Users who …’ showed all the users who converted. I left it as … because the original graph listed what the conversion actually was, but I wanted to leave it open rather than pigeonhole this into a particular type of business.

Depending on what type of business you have, converted could mean:

  • Users who purchased, or
  • Users who signed up, or
  • Users who booked, or
  • Users who completed a form, or
  • Users who used the custom application, or
  • Users who did the call to action, or
  • Users who called the tracked phone number, or
  • Whatever is most important to your business.

Also, depending on the type of business you run, your graph could well look entirely different from this one.

How to read the graphs

The first graph (the green one) shows you at what times of the day your website gets the most visitors. In this example, you can see that they really like to come between 2 PM and 6 PM. You can also see that there’s a dip between 12 and 1, and that possibly means that the target audience not looking at your website during their lunch time. Showing social media content between 12 and 1 in the hope that they’ll look at it during their lunch break probably isn’t going to be the best strategy for this business. Instead, they are more likely to attract people into their business of they post at 2, 3 or 4 pm.

Keep in mind this is the type of graph you would see if you have a local business. If you have an international business it will be much flatter.

Looking at the green graph, you can also see that many more users came to the website on a Thursday. So if you were trying to attract new users to your website, you might want to post to social media and email on Thursday afternoons. Saturday has a bit lower results than the weekdays but on Sunday people are just as likely to look at your website as on every other day of the week. This means that, in this example, there’s no reason for shying away from posting on Sunday. Now, keep in mind that these results will be different for each business. For some businesses, weekends are the best time to post content whereas for others it may be a terrible time. This is why you want to look at your own results and not someone else’s when devising your own strategy.

The yellow graph shows us when visitors who ultimately converted came to the website.In this example, we can see that the afternoon again is a peak time for people to come and convert on the website. Unlike the general traffic results which is a bit flat, the converting traffic results also show peak times of 9-11am and 9pm.

When you want to attract your audience to your website for the first time, you want to be focusing the content you are sending around the times when people are generally coming to your website. When you want them to convert you want to send them information at the times they are more likely to convert. You might be thinking “hey I want them to convert all the time!”, but in reality you are sending them a mixture of messages. Some messages are aimed more at getting first time users interested in what you have, whereas other messages are more along the lines of “OK, I have your trust, now would you like to take up this offer?” They are not going to convert on your schedule, but if you have an email or remarketing sequence following up a hot prospect, do try to send it out at times your prospects are more likely to convert, so that your offer doesn’t end up on the bottom of a pile of commercial email.

Can you predict how much revenue you will earn from marketing at different times of the day?

Recently I started producing another report which shows this same information in another format with bubbles that show you peak times. I created one for traffic in general and one specifically for revenue.

Here in the graph below, we have all users and when they are most engaged. In this case they are pretty much engaged a very similar amount at all times of day. Engagement is basically how much they move their mouse and spend time on the website. However, some times of day get a lot more pageviews than others. These are the peak traffic times.

what time should I post to social media and email?

Now if we look at this next graph below, we can see there are some big differences in revenue depending on the time of day the visitor comes to the website.

On average, this business has made $120,000, $112,000 and $103,000 respectively from users coming to the website on Mondays, Thursdays and Wednesdays between 12:00-4:00 in the afternoon. Compared to these times, users have spent much less at other times of the day and week. As such, it is imperative that this business is in full force with their marketing and remarketing programs during these key blocks of time. If they needed to cut their budget sharply, they would be better off scheduling their marketing to their top 10 time blocks rather than having it run all the time.

what time should I post to social media and email?

These examples have all shown you strategic ways you can use data from Google Analytics to show you when to engage with your audience. Obviously your own data will be completely different, so don’t go off these example graphs! My team and I create customised reports for you, and use them when optimising your Google Ads campaigns.

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