Bitly data shows the best times to post links to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr

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)

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  • http://likehack.com/ LikeHack

    it’s Interesting, maybe they have stats about what it’s the best time to find an interesting content in Twitter?

  • http://likehack.com/ LikeHack

    It’s interesting. May be they have statistics about when it’s a best time to find interesting content in Twitter?

  • Anonymous

    Ah, good point, Jeff. So maybe fewer clickthoughs, but more valuable engagement outside of peak times.

  • Anonymous

    I still think nights and weekends are valuable Nick. Just from anecdotal experience, I think you catch different audiences — those that can’t be online during the day — and people with more free time to click and read.

  • http://www.susannaspeier.com Susanna Speier

    So basically the message here is: if you want to succeed in digital journalism & social media, sleep late.

  • http://twitter.com/lizahoran liza horan

    this is a MASSIVE GENERALIZATION. best to watch your own post/tweet performance and adjust to maximize visibility and engagement.

  • bmednick

    Very interesting data on the best times to use Twitter and Facebook so that I can maximize my efforts and that of my clients and minimize the time spent. 

  • Anonymous

    Excellent data. I’ve long thought night time and weekends were best, since that’s when fewest people are tweeting, and the “stream” moves a little slower. Get ready for a link blast from 1-3pm!

  • http://www.behance.net/chrisrogers Chris Rogers

    This is great. I would love to see this data taken further. What are the best times internationally?

  • Jaik Dean

    Rhursday.

    Interesting stuff.