⌚️Updated May 17, 2020
Publishing a video on YouTube at the best time can get you as much as 2 to 5 times more views!
But you don’t have to guess when is the best day or hour anymore.
YouTube makes finding this information easier than ever before.
The best time to post on YouTube is on the day most of your viewers are on YouTube, 2 hours before your channel’s prime time. You can find it with the “When your viewers are on YouTube” report in YouTube Studio.
Here is how to post a video on the best day and time for your channel:
- Go to YouTube Studio > Analytics > Audience and look for the “When your viewers are on YouTube” report
- Find the day with the most darkest purple bars
- Post your video 2 hours before prime time
- Upload your video a few hours before and publish it at the right time
- If you publish more than once a week, find the best day to get even more views
Now, let’s find the perfect day and hour to publish a video on your YouTube channel.
1. Go to YouTube Studio
You’re looking for the brand new “When your viewers are on YouTube” report.
It’s located in YouTube Studio > Analytics > Audience:
If you don’t see it yet, that’s because it’s still an experimental feature as of May 2020.
Or your channel might not have enough views yet to give you relevant data about when your viewers are on YouTube.
If your report doesn’t show any data, don’t worry: you can still follow our general guidelines for the best time to upload to YouTube.
2. Find the day with the most darkest purple bars
Light purple bars represent the time when “Few of your viewers are on YouTube”:
On the contrary, dark purple bars represent the time when “Very many of your viewers are on YouTube”:
Now, read carefully: this report tells you when your viewers are on YouTube.
So it’s even more valuable than knowing when your viewers watch your videos.
Because the best time to publish your video is when most of your viewers are on YouTube.
The more viewers online, the more people YouTube can suggest your video to.
To find the best day, find the one with the most darkest purple bars.
If you have multiple days with the same amount of darkest purple bars, pick the day with the most purple bars just a shade lighter.
(And so on).
In the example above, the best day to post on that YouTube channel is Sunday.
This is pretty typical for most entertainment channels, but it might be different for your channel.
For example, here is the “When your viewers are on YouTube” report for the Misfit Hustler channel:
The busiest days are Wednesday through Friday, which makes sense for a business-related channel.
Now, videos tend to get more views on the first 2 days:
That’s why sometimes, it’s a good idea to post 1 day before the day that has the most viewers on YouTube.
For example, this channel busiest day is Sunday, but Saturday is the second best:
If this creator publishes:
- on Sunday: videos will also get views from Monday, which is clearly not as busy as Saturday or Sunday
- on Saturday: videos will also get views from Sunday, which will likely boost the view count of the first 2 days
So when your channel’s busiest day has its second busiest day just 1 day before, try posting on that day instead and see how your video performs.
3. Post your video 2 hours before prime time
You don’t want to publish your video at your channel’s prime time – aka “the best hour of the best day”.
Here is the problem with publishing videos exactly at prime time:
- you’re missing out on views you could have gotten by publishing your video a bit earlier in the day
- you’re not letting YouTube time to index and analyze your video, and potentially suggest it to even more people
This is why you want to publish your video before your channel’s prime time.
But when exactly?
Under the “When your viewers are on YouTube” report, YouTube says:
Publish time is not known to directly affect the long-term performance of a video
But it can definitely affect short-term performance!
In fact, unless they go viral, YouTube videos tend to get the most views per hour during the first 2 hours.
That’s why publishing 2 hours before prime time is the sweet spot.
The initial views from the first 2 hours will continue to grow with your channel’s prime time just after, giving you even more views.
For this channel, it would be best to publish videos at 1 PM (on Sundays), just 2 hours before prime time:
4. Upload your video a few hours before and publish it at the right time
By now, you should now know the best day and time to publish your videos on YouTube.
And obviously, this is when you should publish your video.
But you want to upload your videos (in private) a few hours before it goes live to make sure you have the time to:
- upload your video in time
- let YouTube process it in SD and HD – it takes even more time if you upload 4k videos
- write a good title
- fill your description with all relevant information
- upload a good thumbnail
- let YouTube check your video for ad-suitability (read below)
And then schedule your video to go live at the right time.
If your channel is monetized, YouTube need time to check your video for ad-suitability (after self-certification), so you can actually make money when your video finally goes live:
Our system usually takes less than 20 minutes and at most 1 hour. You’ll see the monetization status shown when the check is complete. During that time, no ads are shown. To make sure that you maximize revenue potential, we recommend you upload as unlisted or private for 1 hour before going public.Source
So obviously, uploading 2 hours before going public is perfect.
5. If you publish more than once a week, find the best day and time to get even more views
If you publish more than once a week, you should publish your most important video on the best day and time (as we’ve seen above).
And by “most important video”, I mean the video you think will get the most views.
But when should you publish your other videos?
If you post videos 2 or 3 times a week, don’t post on consecutive days.
Post on the second (and third) best day that is not next to your best day instead.
For example on this channel, Saturday is the second-best day:
But it’s just before the best day (Sunday).
Remember: videos perform great for the first 2 days.
So if you post a video on Saturday and Sunday, the Sunday video will most likely “steal” the spotlight from the “Saturday” video (while it could have gotten more views).
In this case, the second-best days to publish a video and still get all the views you can from the first 2 days would be:
- Wednesday (at 12 PM) and
- Friday (at 12 PM)
Both make a great time to publish a second (or third) video.
When is the best time to upload to YouTube if you don’t have the new report?
The best day to post on YouTube
If your channel is not getting at least 100 views per day, you won’t have enough data to show you any relevant trend.
So just use these broad trends:
- For business channels, weekdays seem to work better, with the sweet spot between Tuesday to Thursday
- For almost all other channels, Friday through Monday tend to be the best days to post on YouTube
The best time to post on YouTube
According to How Sociable, the best time to post on YouTube is:
- Monday through Wednesday: 2 – 4 PM EST
- Thursday and Friday: 12 – 3 PM EST
- Saturday and Sunday: 9 – 11 AM EST
But this will depend on your channel – especially if your main audience is not the United States.
Always make sure to check your Realtime Activity card in YouTube Studio to know at what time people tend to watch your videos.
Go to Youtube Studio > Analytics > Overview tab > Realtime Activity card
And check when the “views wave” is at its highest:
In the example above, it’s at 3 PM (for this channel’s local reporting time).
So the best time to publish videos on this channel is 2 hours before the peak – at 1 PM.
Posting at the best time on YouTube: what’s important (and what’s not)
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.
Usually, viewers need to watch multiple videos to get a good feel for your topic and style before subscribing.
So obviously boosting your views (by posting your video at the right time) should boost your subscriber count, too.
Why a consistent publishing schedule doesn’t influence your viewership habits
You’ve probably seen this all over the Internet and on YouTube:
“Post on the same day of the week and at the same time consistently to create a habit with your viewership.”Every other YouTube guru
YouTube doesn’t work like traditional television – people don’t kindly wait in front of their television set for the show to begin.
YouTube is on-demand.
And even if people like what you do and watch every video you make, life and work get in their way.
They will show up when they want (or can).
Most people won’t magically log in on YouTube when you decide they should.
And the brand new “When your viewers are online” report should bring this point home.
Even if your subscribers:
- are huge fans
- have turned the notifications for your channel
- watch your videos as soon as they are published
… you should follow their viewing habits and preferences.
In fact, YouTube says it in the Creator Academy:
If you want to grow a channel on YouTube, getting an audience to watch your videos is critical. When you can hone in on what your viewers love and hook them in so they want to come back and watch more, you may see increases in watch time.
And watch time is the most important thing for YouTube.
So rather than trust your intuition or trying to create a ritual, publish your videos when your viewers are online.
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 100 views per day), it really doesn’t matter when you post.
Here is why.
1. You don’t have enough data to know the best time to publish your videos.
When you only have a few views a day, you can’t draw significant (and useful) insights from your Realtime Activity data.
2. The YouTube algorithm doesn’t know how your content performs in general, so it won’t recommend it much (or at all).
And you will most likely have to wait weeks (sometimes months) before ranking for your target keyword in the YouTube search.
- you upload daily as part of your content strategy (like a gaming channel, for example), or
- you absolutely want to publish to synchronize with an even or the news
… it’s best to space your videos 1 day apart (at least).
And most importantly: focus on creating more epic videos.
Over time, the YouTube algorithm will get a better sense of how your videos perform and recommend to more and more people.
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