TikTok has continued its meteoric growth until this point; not being content with being the fastest to 1 billion MAUs (Monthly Active Users) in 2021, TikTok added 672m new users to its ranks in 2022, and seems set to reach 2 billion MAUs in a matter of months!
If your business has a social media presence and uses it to market products or services, ignoring the potential of TikTok would be a huge missed opportunity in today’s age. But in order to make sure your posts are seen by the maximum number of people, you’ll need to know the best times to post on TikTok. It’s important to understand your audience’s usage habits and when they’re most likely to be browsing the app.
What’s in this article?
There are some general catch-all times that work best, and thanks to research undertaken by the Influencer Marketing Hub, we know that these general ‘best times’ are:
Monday: 6am, 10am, 10pm
Tuesday: 2am, 4am, 9am
Wednesday: 7am, 8am, 11pm
Thursday: 9am, 12pm, 7pm
Friday: 5am, 1pm, 3pm
Saturday: 11am, 7pm, 8pm
Sunday: 7am, 8am, 4pm
Data can often be confusing, and it doesn’t always line up with what we would expect, or want, it to tell us. However, in general, these times produce the best results in terms of viewership, watch time retention (how long or how many times an individual user watches before moving on) and meaningful interactions (things the user has control over whether or not they happen, such as liking, commenting or sharing the video).
However, this is for general content and singular users, who are posting the latest trends and syncing to the newest song that has gone viral to grow their own page. The rules for businesses can be different, and while it is advisable to use high-engagement times like the ones listed above, you will want to consider metrics such as age and activity peaks, as well as making the most of the tool suite on TikTok Pro accounts. This will help you access more personalised data, so you can find your personal best times and maximise engagement.
By taking these into account, you can ensure you’re making the most of these high-engagement times for your specific target audience and pushing high-quality, watchable content that they will engage and interact with.
Let’s have a look at these considerations.
When building out a TikTok strategy, understanding your audience, their demographics, and their interests, is arguably even more vital than on other networks. A successful audience persona audit can yield incredible insights and help shape the content you put out for years to come; whereas a poor audit, or none at all, will severely limit the potential of your content. This will make it very difficult for you to produce timely, engaging content that resonates with your target audience.
Age group is a massive part of this, and while TikTok’s ‘For You Page’ will assist in users discovering your content organically, a specific focus on particular age can expedite the discovery process.
Depending on your product or service, there will be groups that you will be specifically targeting, or specifically trying to avoid. For example, if your business is selling confectionery then it’s likely that you’ll want to target younger people, specifically under 18. However, if your company is focused on tax mitigation services for example, perhaps less so!
The appeal of TikTok is that it is used by all ages of people and from all walks of life – but the age of your users will factor into what times would be best to target them. For example, if you’re trying to target people under 18, the general consensus when setting up an initial persona would be that posting very early in the morning or very late at night would be a waste of resource, as they’d be asleep. The same can be said for posting in the evenings on a Friday – these are less likely to be seen by people over 18, as they are more likely to be going out for the evening or preparing to do so.
Time zone analysis is also important to understand in this context. If your company is based in the UK but has a large audience in the U.S., then while on paper it may not make much sense to post late in the evenings, this will be lunchtime or mid-afternoon for your audience, which could be a top engagement time. Pre-filming and pre-scheduling your content is vital if this applies to you, which can be done easily via a variety of social media tools, such as Later and Sprout Social.
Social listening can come in very handy with this research and help you gain a deeper understanding of who is watching and is interested in your service sector. By analysing conversations on multiple other networks, such as Twitter, Instagram and Reddit, it can help build out a good idea of your audience personas and what they want to hear about. It can be tempting to just focus on the positive posts, but there can be massive value in understanding customer negativity and pain points, to become a consumer champion rather than a business mouthpiece. Be sure to analyse all topics, positive or negative, and pull wide learnings from the past year that you can focus down into.
In short, consider your target audience’s age, location, and activity peaks and troughs when it comes to posting your high-quality content, and don’t be afraid to learn from industry mistakes to improve your output!
How can you keep track of personas over time? And what can I learn if I already have a TikTok presence?
Once you’ve understood your audience, their habits, and the best times to post to engage them, it can be tempting to sideline the research once implemented and never review it. But this would be a massive mistake, and opens the door to your content becoming stale, unengaging, and for your competitors to fill the void.
People change over time, which means their interests, activity peaks, and points of focus will change too. It’s important to continue to analyse your audience’s behaviours when engaging with your content, to ensure you continue to create captivating content that they will want to watch going forward.
TikTok has made significant improvements in terms of analytics and being able to measure your content’s performance, but you can only access these with a TikTok Pro account. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to switch your account to TikTok Pro.
And you’re all set up!
We recommend using TikTok Pro’s analytics to adapt and adjust your optimum posting times. While social listening and initial audience analysis is good for the setup stage, these stats will be actively updated and consist of those who are actually watching your content. This can vary significantly compared to the findings from your initial audience personas.
The best way to re-discover your best time to post with existing TikTok data is to cross-reference the multiple tabs of data that are provided in the Analytics section. It can take some work to fully understand the data and make it relevant for your time zone, but once set up, it’s incredibly easy to reference back to.
We recommend that you start by analysing your top territories/countries to find the best times to post. TikTok’s territories analytics are not perfect, as they only give a nation as a whole, rather than by top cities – unlike you will have found in your social listening during the initial research stages. This can present a problem if your business is active in a country that spans multiple time zones, such as the U.S. or China.
If you post a video at 8am EST, it will reach a huge amount of viewers in New York, but the reach in states such as California and Arizona will be limited, as it’s likely that they’re still in bed. However, there is a decent workaround for this that can help you understand what your account’s ‘happy medium’ is, where you will have a good amount of engagement from as many time zones as possible.
This is where ‘Follower Activity’ comes into play – this tab lets you see the top days and times in terms of follower activity from the last 28 days. This is invaluable for discovering the ‘happy medium’ we discussed above.
In these screenshots shared by social media tool SocialPilot, we can see that when accessing the top days, the level of follower activity throughout the week is more or less constant, save for a slight increase on Sunday. With this data, we can learn that we don’t need to worry about choosing specific days for posting content, but this may not be the case for you – it’s important to access the ‘Hours’ tab as well to see when during that day they were most active.
We can see that SocialPilot experience a peak in the late afternoon to early evening when it comes to user activity, which will correlate to the level of possible engagement we can expect to see. There is a marked drop-off after 7pm, which is indicative of people wanting to ‘switch off’ for the day – it’s advisable for those times to be avoided in that case.
Here, we can see the top time for us to post is at 5pm every day, with a slight emphasis to pushing the highest-quality content on Fridays. This has gone against our initial plan of avoiding high-quality content on Fridays due to a fear of less user engagement. Yet through analysis of our ongoing stats and measuring performance, we have been able to successfully tweak our posting strategy to maximise our opportunities for reach.
It’s important to note that TikTok’s analytics platform measures all times in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) – the UK’s normal time zone. If your business is based overseas rather than in the UK, it’s vital you ‘translate’ these times to your local zone, or the time zone of the country you’re trying to target, so you can understand these stats better.
Now you should have a solid understanding of how to build a TikTok audience persona to begin posting in your most active time frames, as well as how to measure ongoing success and adapt your strategy. You’re set up for success on the fastest-growing social media platform out there!
Ensure you constantly refer back to your learnings, and don’t be afraid to change your strategy. Social media’s volatile nature means things are constantly changing online, and what may have worked for you three months ago may be hopelessly out of date now! Trial and error is the key.
Interested in what we can offer your business in growing their presence on TikTok, and the learnings we can provide? Check out our social media services or get in touch with us today and see how we can help.
9 Steps to Building an Irresistible Business Case for Content MarketingSophie Mizrachi ● March 10, 2023