Nights and Weekends Are a Huge Opportunity for Publishers on Social Media

By Tom Pitts
Jul 13, 2016

Here at True Anthem, we’re always diving into publishers’ social media strategies, and we’ve developed a number of tools to analyze their social media posts. One of my favorite analyses that we run breaks down when a publisher is posting their content to Facebook and Twitter.

When we generate this report, we see the same pattern emerge almost universally. Publishers are posting to social less frequently, and sometimes not at all, during nights and weekends.


Publisher Facebook Posts by Hour

Publishers post during weekdays for a number of reasons. Most of their new content hits their website during the weekdays, and they want to distribute this content in sync with their editorial schedule while timely content is breaking. Publishers also staff their teams, including social editors, during normal business hours. And aren’t most people asleep at night?

Night and weekend posts have less competition

While readers are less active on social media overnight and into the wee hours of the morning, another noteworthy activity drops as well: competitive posting. Brands, publishers, and individuals are all posting less frequently during nights and on weekends, and fewer posts mean less competition for readers’ attention. Publishers have an easier time getting insertions into Facebook users’ News Feeds, and their Tweets are more likely to be seen. Publishers can have equal or more social media success compared to their daytime and weekday posts, despite smaller active social audiences.

Posts on nights and weekends reach a different audience

Publishers can also reach a different segment of their social audience during nights and weekends. The audience that is active during these times may be geographically or demographically distinct from a publisher’s daytime audience. Publishers shouldn’t ignore this audience and should try to maintain the affinity this audience has to their brand by varying their posting times.

Posting on nights and weekends allows publishers to post more often

After working with a variety of publishers of all sizes, one strategy we have found to be almost universally effective is posting often in order to drive more social media success.

We’re not the only ones saying this either. Facebook conducted an experiment with 29 media partners, and found that increasing post volume by an average of 45% over a week resulted in a 76% increase in total outbound clicks, 10% increase in likes per post, and 47% increase in fans.

Because less time-sensitive stories may be overlooked during the day, posting them overnight gives them a chance to succeed during off-hours. There are often hidden gems in these leftover stories, and the overall increase in post volume tends to drive more social media success.

Posting on nights and weekends lets publishers recirculate their best-performing content

Breaking news should go out when it happens, but what about content that stays relevant for a longer period of time? We see time and time again that publishers can unlock tremendous value from their content by recirculating their best-performing and trending content on social media.

Since most publishers reserve their weekday social post schedule for new content, nights and weekends end up being the perfect time to mix in ICYMI (in case you missed it) posts and popular evergreen stories.

By reaching different audiences, posting more frequently, and varying posting strategies, social posts during nights and weekends represent a huge opportunity for publishers. After helping publishers change their posting strategies, we’ve seen dramatic increases in engagement and traffic from social.

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