At some point when you want to grow a YouTube channel, you’ll wonder when is the best time post videos on your YouTube channel.
And you should be: depending on the time you post, you can have as much as 2 to 5 times more views!
As I couldn’t find an answer that was both useful for me and backed by data, I decided to find out by myself, based on 3,033,988 views from 2 channels over a 14-month period.
When is the best time to post on YouTube? The best time to post on YouTube is around 2 PM in the country that generates the most views. For international channels, it’s best to post 2 to 4 hours before peak time. Peak time can be found in the YouTube Analytics Realtime report. The actual time varies depending on the channel niche and target geography.
Now, here is the punchline: the only way to know for sure what is the peak time of your channel is to track your hourly YouTube views over a few months.
How in the world are you going to find that metric? YouTube analytics doesn’t show the views per day of the week or per hour of day, right?
But there is a way to find this data! I’ll talk about it a bit later in this post. But first, let’s talk some broad important concepts.
Which DAY people watch YouTube the most
Most of the time, Sunday through Wednesday are the best days to post on YouTube.
Thursday to Saturday tend to be filled more with family time and hobbies. But that will obviously depend on your channel.
If your channel is still small, it won’t have enough data to show you any relevant trend.
In that case, your best bet is to post from Sunday through Wednesday.
Which TIME people watch YouTube the most
People Watch YouTube Most From 4 PM to 12 AM (weekdays) or 9 AM to 5 PM (weekends)
Since most people study or work during weekdays, they tend to watch YouTube when they’re back home and want to relax. That happens most of the time between 4 PM and 12 AM on weekdays.
On weekends, you’ll see that your viewership tends to watch videos earlier in the day.
Since most people don’t have professional obligations during weekends, they can watch videos in the morning no problem.
Obviously, those times depend on the country of your viewership.
I’m based in Belgium but most of my viewers are based in the USA. So for weekdays for example, it would be 4 PM to 12 AM in the USA (I’m using New York time as a reference). In Belgium, that would be 10 PM to 6 AM!
Overall, this is the best time to post on YouTube for your channel
Even if YouTube is way faster than Google at indexing and recommending your videos, you want to make sure your new video ends up in the home screen of your subscribers and viewers.
As a matter of fact, YouTube might not recommend your video to your subscribers directly, or at all.
YouTube’s home page is run by their recommendation algorithm, and it doesn’t always show videos from channels viewers are subscribed to.
So it’s best to stack all the odds in your favor.
Since the chances are big that your channel has a global audience with views coming from multiple continents, it’s best to get the most of your channel’s peak time.
You can do that by posting your videos 2 to 3 hours before peak time.This will give YouTube time to not only properly process your video. But also index it and recommend it to your audience as soon as they log in.
Why the time you publish a video influences your revenue and subscriptions
When you post at the right time, you get more views, which in turn lead to:
- more ad revenue (if your channel is already monetized), and
- more subscribers
Who doesn’t want that?
If you already reached 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time and are approved for the YouTube Partner Program, posting at the right time will ensure that you maximize your revenue.
Also, more people watching your videos (AKA getting more views) will inevitably lead to more subscribers.
Viewers need to watch more than 1 video to get a good feel of your topic, tone and added value, and ultimately subscribe.
So obviously boosting your views by posting your video at the right time should boost your subscriber count, too.
I don’t know who doesn’t want to maximize revenue and subscribers; there are only benefits to getting more views. So the quickest you find at what time and day your channel gets the more views, the better.
Why a consistent publishing schedule doesn’t influence your viewership habits
You’ve probably seen this all over the Internet and on YouTube: digital marketers and YouTube gurus tell you to post on the same day of the week and the same time of the day consistently to create a habit with your viewership.
I beg to differ. My personal experience is different.
YouTube doesn’t work like traditional television where people kindly wait in front of their television set for the show to begin.
YouTube is on-demand.
Even if people like what you do and watch every video, life and work get in their way, and they will show up when they want (or can).
Most people won’t magically log in on YouTube when you decide they should.
Unless they are huge fans and have turned the notifications for your channel, it’s the other way around: you should comply with their viewing habits and publish when they happen to be online watching videos.
Now, like with everything, there is some nuance to this.
- if you have a huge channel (100K+ subs), you have a huge audience too. Posting at regular times will create anticipation for your content, that’s true.
- if you have an engaged audience, almost every time is a good one. As soon as raving fans see your videos pop out, they click and they watch it.
How does the viewing habit of a global YouTube channel looks like
I checked the hourly views for 2 completely different channels – one is about luxury goods, the other about music reactions.
Both have a global audience. And both have the same typical curve.
That curve creates an ebb and flow – you can find it in Youtube Studio > Analytics > Overview tab > Realtime Activity card
It really looks like a wave – here is the one form the luxury goods channel:
Views go up and down over a 24 hours period. You can see 2 waves here, as the YouTube Analytics Realtime Activity data shows 48 hours at once.
Most channels feature the same kind of wave.
For this channel, the views begin to increase from 10 AM and peak around 6 PM (for the reporting time zone – where I am based, not where my viewers are). And the same pattern is repeated every 24 hours.
Fail to acknowledge that pattern, and you will lose valuable views over the long term if you don’t post at the right time.
On the music reaction channel, the pattern is way more dramatic:
Between the peak and the valley, there’s a 4x factor!
Now here is the deal: this pattern is specific to your channel.
Of course, your millage will vary, based on your channel’s topic, audience demographics and geography.
But this pattern will emerge whether you publish videos the same day of the week consistently or not.
In fact, the data on both graphs above clearly shows a trend for the time of day with the most views (even though no video was posted for months on the music reaction channel).
So when is the best time to post on these channels?
And what about the day?
How can you possibly know, as YouTube doesn’t give you this information?
Why (and how) you need to track your hourly views history
The only way to know for sure what are the best days and the best time to post your videos is to track your YouTube hourly views.
And if that sounds like a tedious task: that’s because it is.
To me, logging on the YouTube Creator Studio every hour to get that data is just not an option.
Or not: introducing the YouTube Data API!
Using the YouTube Data API, you can automatically retrieve the views every hour and log them in a Google Sheet.
From there, and after having collected data for several weeks (I would say at least 6 weeks), you can start analyzing and you should see a pattern emerge.
Again, this is the data for the luxury goods channel.
The hourly views for that channel have been logged every hour from October 28, 2018 to August 16, 2019 with 9,125 data points.
And we can clearly see some trends here:
- With 407,097 views for almost 10 months, Sunday (day 1) is the day with the most views
- “Prime time” (averaged for the week) happens at 5 PM (of the reporting time zone) with a total of 139,148 views
- This channel gets the more views on Sunday at 4 PM
So, on this channel, it makes sense to post on Sunday around 2 PM – 2 hours before the channel gets the most views for the week, don’t you think?
Obviously, this is data is valid only for this channel.
What if I had to post a second video for the week?
As you can see on this channel, Thursday and Friday perform the worst.
Since you want to get views the most views possible for 48 hours, on this channel it would be best to post on Tuesday (around 1 PM).
Again, and I will not say it enough: this is only true for this particular channel. Make this decision based on your data!
Why the posting time doesn’t matter much if you’re just starting out on YouTube
If you have a small channel (that generates less than 1000 views per day), it really doesn’t matter when you post.
- You don’t have enough data to know the best time to publish your videos. When you only have a few views a day (or don’t have views every day for that matter), you can’t draw significant and useful insights from your data. Your graph will look completely scattered, with no real useful information.
- The YouTube algorithm doesn’t trust your small channel and won’t recommend your content when you publish it. And you will most likely will have to wait weeks (sometimes months) before ranking for your target keyword in the YouTube search.
Because of that, just don’t sweat it and post your videos when they’re ready.
- you upload daily as part of your strategy (like a gaming channel, for example), or
- you absolutely want to publish to synchronise with an even or news
… it’s best to space your videos 48 hours apart.
(Under 24 hours apart is a no-no for most channels.)
Let YouTube feature your brand new video for the maximum amount of time. Give your videos at least 48 hours to shine!
Now, if you really want to “optimize” your posting time, make an educated guess.
- What is your target audience like?
- What is the primary demographic and where are they from (you can find this information in the YouTube Studio).
But most of the time, it’s best just to post around 2 PM on weekdays (in the country that generates the most views) or 8 AM on weekends.
Small creators: don’t spend time looking at your YouTube realtime data, as they don’t have enough data to be relevant.
Focus on creating the next video instead. Trust me: that’s a way better use of your time.