Posting Times – The Experiment
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 10, 2012
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.
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?