Bitly, the URL shortener of choice for most people, has analyzed its click-tracking data to find the optimal days and times for posting links to social media. The results show interesting, distinct patterns among Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

On Twitter, the best window is 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Facebook was hot at 1 to 4 p.m. And Tumblr is a night owl, with posts doing best after 7 p.m. See the charts below for the full breakdown from Bitly.

A quick note on how to read these charts: Links posted during the darker blue periods received more average clicks over their following 24-hour lifespan. So this is showing when it's best to post a link, not necessarily when the clicks will occur.

Also keep in mind this is nationwide data, all recorded as Eastern Time. Mid-afternoon and early evening look busiest because they capture both the New York and the California crowds at the same time. But if your audience is strictly local, its peaks probably occur an hour or two earlier or later than these. Adjust accordingly.

For the sake of easier comparison across networks, I made an animation that rotates through all three:

Dave Larson at Tweetsmarter has even more detailed analysis and links to other research and tools for social media timing. || Earlier: News orgs should post to Facebook at noon for peak engagement (Poynter) | 7 keys to maximum Facebook engagement for journalists (Poynter) || Related: Harvard researchers find that social media can be as satisfying as sex (kind of)