The Best Times to Post on YouTube – The Definitive Guide

Jul 20, 2021


In addition to creating great content, knowing your audience, and optimizing for SEO, knowing the best time to post on YouTube can increase your viewership.

Then, subscribers have enough time to view your video on their feeds. This pushed the content higher up in the rankings, allowing it to gain traction by peak view times across all demographics – which is typically the evening.

Good Rule of Thumb on the Best Time to Post on YouTube: If you want your new video trending between 9:30-11:30pm over the weekend, we recommend an upload time of 4:00pm on Thursday.

While this is a good rule of thumb that probably won’t steer you wrong, there is a wealth of research and fine-tuning that goes into determining the best time to post YouTube videos for individual niches, time-zones, and audiences.

We have sifted through the research to help you determine the best posting strategy for your content.

Use Your Own Analytics

You can use your YouTube Studio account to determine when your audience spends the most time online. This lets you release your videos at times that perform the best for you. 

  1. Go to YouTube Studio
  2. Select “Analytics” from the left menu
  3. Click “Audience” in the top sub-menu
  4. Scroll down to “When your viewers are on YouTube”

YouTube Studio - Channel Analytics

This data is metrics gold for determining the best time of day to upload to YouTube.

Different audiences have different viewing habits. If you run a channel of humorous videos made by night-shift nurses, chances are they have a different viewing schedule than someone with a more traditional work schedule.

Determining when your most active viewers spend their time on YouTube will help you determine the best time to post to YouTube – just subtract about five hours from peak viewing time to give YouTube time to index your video.

Studies and Opinions: Experts Weight in on the Best Time to Post to YouTube

Marketers and YouTubers alike have invested enormous resources into studying the best times to publish on YouTube. We’ve considered some of the most prominent research and tips below. 

Case Study: CryptoWhat Channel

Most successful YouTubers experiment with their posting times to determine the best time to publish YouTube videos. Patrick shared the strategy he uses on his YouTube Channel, CryptoWhat:

“I have also experimented with posting videos at night, so that viewers can wake up to ready videos. Honestly, I’ve had varied success with this. However, Saturday mornings tend to come with higher engagement for videos posted the previous night.”

Understandably, most viewers had a bit more time on Saturday mornings to watch YouTube videos; availability they didn’t necessarily have during the workweek.

Additionally, tracking video posting with social media activity tended to result in higher engagement for CryptoWhat.

For example, social media engagement was high around 5pm, meaning it made sense to post content around 2pm or 3pm so the video was ready by peak viewing times.

Influencer Marketing Hub's Method

Based on exhaustive research across multiple studies, Influencer Marketing Hub has aggregated research findings delving into the best times to publish on YouTube which included a study from HowSociable:

Best time to post on YouTube

HowSociable found that:

"For most, the best time to upload a video is late afternoon. These hours are when the most users are online. More specifically, the best hours are between 2-4PM in the Central and Eastern US Time zones. These zones have the most internet users and the biggest market share."

Frederator Study

One famous study on the best time to publish YouTube videos was conducted by Frederator. This study compiled data across 1,300 channels and 120 million monthly views.

Frederator’s research resulted in the following chart of the best posting times (EST):

Best time to post on YouTube

Frederator noted that peak viewership times tend to coincide with primetime television schedules. It seems we are still conditioned to watch TV at these times, we have just shifted our attention to YouTube and away from network programs.

While the standard formula of weekday afternoons based on the Frederator study, keep in mind that weekends play by different rules.

Many people have more free time on weekend afternoons and spend time browsing content or watching videos. That means the best time to upload YouTube video is around 10-11am EST, so that it can be indexed by the afternoon, not the evening.

These posting times have been gospel since the study was published in 2015. But the study itself is aging as YouTube demographics shift and viewing patterns change, so it is worth exploring a little further.

Zygo Media – Consistency is Key

A manager of over 50 gaming channels, Zygo Media uses several of the methods we already discussed to figure out the best time to post to YouTube.

The manager of Zygo Media, Gareth Harry, remarks that utilizing YouTube Studio, tracking your audience’s peak view times, and experimenting with different times are all solid strategies.

Zygo Media

He adds another recommendation: once you’ve discovered what works, post at the same time each week:

“I think having a consistent release schedule is an important part of having your viewers build habits around the release of your content, much like your parents used to plan around watching specific shows that were aired at specific times… humans are still the same old habit-driven creatures by nature.”

In other words, once you’ve analyzed your data and figured out what works for your audience, stick with it.

AIClub- Leveraging a Multichannel Strategy

What happens when you produce YouTube content and promote it somewhere else?

Nisha Talagala of AIClub, an educational channel for kids, shares her business’s strategy for maximizing YouTube views:

“What we have done is socialize the videos on Facebook (parent, teacher groups) after publishing on YouTube: We usually do that in the late night so that people can see it in their feed in the morning.”

What Talagala and her team have done, then, is to make the most of both YouTube and Facebook algorithms to drive traffic to their content.

This works because, while the viewers may watch the videos, they discover them on Facebook first.

With this strategy, the best time to upload YouTube videos is several hours before the peak time to post on your promotional channel, be that Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Keep in mind YouTube needs a couple of hours to index your video before you can start sharing it.

Edgy Marketing – When to Live Stream YouTube videos

While live videos are still not the norm on YouTube, they are growing in popularity. Live streams of video games on YouTube alone accounted for over 10 billion hours in 2020.

The best time of day to upload to YouTube becomes the best time of day to stream on YouTube.

Edgy recommends tracking your YouTube live stream metrics to determine which videos had the most engagement. Then, try to stream your videos live around those times.

YouTube has a helpful tutorial explaining how to use its Live Control Room:

We recommend tracking metrics like:

  • Live subscriber count
  • Peak view time
  • Replay times 

YouTube Creators

Once you have a record of which live streams attracted the most attention, try to post at similar times. Tracking your live subscribers also lets you know who stayed and who left during specific events.

DJ Tech Reviews Method: Use Your Google Analytics Tools

As with all online content, it’s best not to leave too much up to chance. Jonathan of DJ Tech Reviews determines when is the best time to upload a YouTube video by using Google Analytics tools.

“The GA reporting system analyzes the core data that can promote success. It then delivers results and reports from the times which were monitored. So, you can understand your channel views and behavior just by looking at the numbers.”

This is not hard to do.

  1. Go to Google Analytics
  2. Click “New Custom Report”
  3. Click “Audience”
  4. Click “Audience View Times”
  5. Add any other demographic features you want to include in your custom report

If you’re already using YouTube Studio, like we recommended above, do you need Google Analytics to figure out the best time to upload a YouTube video?

The short answer is, yes.

This is because YouTube Studio just shows you when your audience is active on YouTube. While this is an important metric, you can boost it even more by using Google Analytics, which tracks when your audience is online across many websites.

Most people don’t intentionally logon to YouTube thinking we will spend forty minutes watching videos -it just happens. By posting when your viewers are already online you increase the chances of capturing their attention.

Boosted Calculations

Online marketing firm Boosted shares their calculations about the best time to upload on YouTube. Their research suggests that if you time it right, you can capture audiences in multiple time zones.

Most YouTube publishing timetables already take into account that viewers are spread across multiple time zones, which is why idea times are considered as a range of about three or four hours.

6pm and 9pm both fall within this range and are considered primetime viewing that catches the attention of viewers in California and New York, for example.

Boosted suggests that posting a YouTube video in time for it to be indexed by about 8am EST on weekdays gives it a chance to be seen both by those on the East Coast heading to work and then by those on the West Coast when they take their lunch break.

MightyTips Method – Remember Your Basics

The foundations of good online content also relate to the best time to post on YouTube – post quality content that interests your audience. Aleh is the video creator for the sports site MightyTips. Aleh builds the video publishing schedule around the audience’s needs – the golden rule of content creation.

“There is a direct need to publish tehe video when the audience shows the greatest interest in this event…if you publish earlier, the video will fall down, and on the day of the largest requests for it won’t be in the first position.”

Any YouTube channel that caters to time-sensitive events like sports should publish when interest for that topic is at its highest. If your channel reviews new products, be sure to have a video ready to go near a new product launch, because that is when your audience will want opinions and information.

These special timing considerations often override your regular publishing schedule. Even if Thursdays at 3pm have always worked for you, don’t get in the rut of scheduling only for your own convenience.

Bottom Line

While the Frederator research has been borne out by years of YouTube uploads and successful traffic, there are many variable to the best time to post on YouTube.

The best time to upload to YouTube depends upon learning when your audience spends the most time online. You then need to allow for enough time for YouTube to index your video – remember, YouTube is essentially a search engine.

Consider using one of the techniques above to boost your own results.

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