Posting Times – The Experiment

Back near the end of August I wrote a post titled Posting Times On Social Media. It was based on an article that I linked to on that post that highlighted the premium times to post blogs or articles based on patterns they had observed of how people interact on social media. I said I would experiment and show the results of that experiment; this is that post.

21-06-10 Cause I'd Rather Pretend I'll Still Be There At The End ~ Explored #1
Βethan via Compfight

I decided to compare the periods from August 1st through August 31st with September 4th through October 4th. There’s actually a one day difference, but I figured it wouldn’t make all that much difference overall if the numbers were drastically different. I was also using Twitter as the tool of choice in trying to see if more traffic came from there during the new times.

The results… well, certainly not what I was expecting, but still interesting in their own right. I used Google Analytics as my tool; who doesn’t?

The period from August 1st through August 31st had 2,799 visits, 8,819 page views, at an average of 2 minutes and 27 seconds per visit.

The period from September 4th through October 4th had 2,841 visits, 9,037 page views, at an average of 1 minute and 58 seconds per visit.

So, the shorter period did have more views and page views, but nothing extraordinary. During the second period, all posts went out between 11:30 and 4:45 EST in the afternoon, whereas all the posts in the earlier period went out between 9 and 10AM EST. So traffic did increase; did that prove anything?

Actually, not in the least. I then decided to check times that articles were viewed, and things took a strange turn. For the earlier period, most people looked at the blog posts around 10AM, 5PM, 9PM and 2AM; the latter is probably because I’m often up and will repost my articles then. For the later period, the views were noon, 8PM, 11PM and 3AM most of the time. There were some sporadic views earlier in the afternoon, but the peak times articles were viewed weren’t the times I expected.

As I said, that was strange. What did it mean though? Well, one more statistic to check, which is Twitter traffic itself. For the early period, Twitter was my 10th highest referrer. The the second period, Twitter was my 8th highest referrer. On the surface it looks like the second was better, but it wasn’t because the 1st brought 38 visitors while the second brought 31 visitors. Even with the extra day the math shows that the early period would have brought more visitors.

What does this tell me? It basically says that, at least for me, time meant nothing. Since search engines and email subscriptions brought the most traffic to the blog, time turns out not to be much of a factor for me. A better test might be Facebook if I posted most of my posts here on Facebook, but it’s rare that I do that.

Does time really mean anything in the long run? I have to truthfully say I don’t know. It doesn’t mean anything for me, but that doesn’t mean it might not mean something to everyone else. By the way, I also ran the same test on my finance blog during this period. The strange statistic on this one is that traffic did indeed go up almost 500 visitors in the second period, but page views dropped; what the hey?

I will be going back to my normal posting times pretty soon because I’d rather have an idea what time my posts are going live rather than having them going at random times and my trying to remember when something’s coming out on which blog. Way easier to plan it otherwise.

Has anyone else decided to try this, and if so, what were your results like?

29 thoughts on “Posting Times – The Experiment”

  1. What I have noticed is people spend more time reading content during happy hour aka beer-30.

    More views during the morning and day but more focused views in the evening.

    Maybe it’s based on niche who knows?

    1. Could be Jacko. Right now, the way I’m figuring things is that it’s more important to have the content out so that when people are ready to view it I’ll be in the mix. 🙂

  2. That’s really interesting Mitch that you aren’t really getting any consistent results from your experiment.

    I post on Twitter at the times that I’ve been told the majority of my traffic is on and it ranks right below Facebook. But I have people staying on my site for over 4 minutes now so I’m pretty happy about that.

    The funny thing is that with this last update that Google did I’m actually getting less traffic to my site then before their update but the time on my site has increased and I’m still getting just as many comments on each post.

    Heck, who knows right! Glad you ran this little test and perhaps I should run one just out of curiosity.


    1. It would be interesting to see Adrienne. Then again, you also are networking lots more through blogging than I do, and it’s possible that the ratio could be skewed by the number of people who respond to your comments and then pop over to your blog to see your new post, which I bet happens more often than not.

  3. Hi Mitch,

    Not unlike many bloggers I have an international reach so I don’t find one particular time to necessarily be superior to another.

    It has been a while since I checked on that. I probably ought to give it another poke to see what it shows.

    1. It would be an interesting experiment Josh. If you check the link to the original post there’s a link on that one that takes you to the infographic on which I decided to base my test on.

  4. Mitch, I have often wondered about this, but since I changed my domain name I will have to wait on testing.

    I do believe it does not matter that much, but some veteran bloggers swear by it.

    It may work for some niches, but others may not see much of a result.

    I post pretty much when I get the feeling and I have not seen any difference in my posting times.

    People will eventually come visit your blog at their own pace anyways.

    1. Michael, I test whenever I think I can get a post out of it and it seems pertinent to what I do. I assume you saw the original infographic; thing is you could be right, it could be niche, or it could be the prominence of the people they tested. Either way, I’m going back to what I used to do as well.

  5. I’ve played around with times in the past too and found no big differences except maybe late nights. When you have visits from other time zones it really blurs it out I believe. I think consistency is more important than the time that you post. Sometimes I noticed I get more followers on Twitter when I tweet less, am I that annoying I wonder? It’s at least very fascinating to try to figure it out.

    1. LOL! I bet you’re not annoying at all Lisa, and I appreciate when you share my links there. I think it’s important to put one’s links on Twitter but I think most people’s streams move so fast that you’re not always going to catch them. However, I am amazed when I see people sharing my link that I don’t know; that’s always kind of cool. But is it based on time… doesn’t seem to be.

  6. In my experience time doesn’t seem to play as big a role as consistency. Getting those fresh posts up seems to garner the best results overall, though there may be slight variations from day-to-day – some of which could have something to do with time of posting. Or not. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experiment. I’m now more curious as to whether the results would vary based on different niches, as well as other variables.

  7. thanks for posting your results Mitch – interesting that they didn’t produce significant results on times, the whole process of the audience picking up posts is huge – there are so many mediums we use: emails, facebook, twitter, blogs etc.
    Perhaps if someone is really using one method of communication, a serious survey over a few months could form some sort of blueprint for posting times, but I think the times you found seem to be what I would have expected – and, like Elena and Michael said, I feel consistency is more important and people will find you when the right post drops in front of them.
    Thanks again for sharing your experiment with us all Mitch, and creating a stream of interesting responses 🙂
    all the best, Jacs

    1. Thanks Jacs. I have to admit being somewhat disappointed because I think at some point we all start looking for that holy grail in blogging, and it just doesn’t exist.

  8. You got a point Mitch, I better post or promote my newly posted article during peak hours. I usually post my new written articles during midnight.

    1. That’s an interesting time to post Joven. I sent my newsletters out around that time so people have them in the morning, and maybe that will work for you.

  9. Afternoon Mitch,

    I use the insights to a certain degree but I don’t see a major difference. Like at all. Perhaps there are different more effective ways to go about it. For though, I share in the afternoon because my morning sharing wasn’t getting much traction. So the insights did tweak that for me : )

  10. That’s a pretty neat study you did. I always thought times mattered but never tracked it. I guess it boils down to having a great title for your post and having linkable content. Thanks for the write-up!

  11. I have tried many different options, certainly it makes a difference, but not a major one. For sure social media can bring decent traffic, but depending on the niche. For my main websites social media marketing is bringing nearly 20% of total traffic, but this traffic is not coming from major social networks, but from specific one, mostly Asia and USA, so definitely need to share at least 2 posts in 12 hours period. However, the picture looks completely different for travel, health and entertainment niche and most traffic is coming from social networks in different time zones.

      1. Honestly, I prefer small networks as usually this guarantee that certain post or link will be seen, by people that are interested in this topic. Getting away from the side of social media, forums have always bring decent amount of quality traffic.

    1. I think it depends Raj. For instance, your morning is my evening, and it’s also Google’s evening and Bing’s evening (not sure where Yahoo is headquartered). So for you, posting in the morning might have little effect; I don’t know that for sure however, since so many thing also happen at midnight their time, which would be great for you but not as much for me.

  12. Hi Mitch
    A very interesting study. It may quickly become counterproductive though if everybody starts sharin at certain hours using “rules of thumb”. It’s a bit like e-mail marketing and open rates. At some points it was widespread that mails should be sent tuesday afternoon but is everybody did that it would fail miserably.

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