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Great content gets shared. Right?
But does the time and day that you publish that great content affect how much it gets shared or how many times it gets viewed?
We have some awesome data from Shareaholic on top days and times for getting your content seen and shared online. Sharaholic is the leading global social share widget, installed on over 200,000 websites. They took a look at all their data for 2011 and found the 100 top days and times for sharing and views from all of the websites. Let’s see what we can learn from this data dive.
As always, test to see what works best for you. All data included below is based on Eastern Standard Time.
Publish And Be Ready
All of this data tells us when the most views or most shares are happening. But it does not tell us WHEN that content is being published. The goal for content publishers is to be ready.
If everyone is viewing content the most at 9am EST (they actually are), make sure your content is published and ready to be viewed shortly before then.
Josh Hallett of Voce Communications helps some pretty big brands like Playstation and eBay build and manage their popular blogs. He suggests publishing just before your optimal sharing or traffic times. And as an added tip he suggests letting your audience know when content is coming. “We’re also teasing content via the the social channels. It’s as simple as saying, check the blog tomorrow at noon for X.”
Social Shares vs Traffic
We wanted to take a look at two main metrics, social shares and traffic. If you want to mainly grow your social presence, getting more shares might be your goal. And for many, traffic is their biggest driving force. The optimal day and time for these two goals is surprisingly different.
Best Day To Blog For Social Shares
Thursdays win out for the day with the most sharing. Social sharing in general is somewhat unpredictable pattern wise. But Thursday wins 10% more shares than all other days. In fact, 31% of the top 100 social share days in 2011 fell on Thursday.
Wednesdays were second most popular, then Fridays and Mondays. The top 4 are all weekdays, confirming that we are all still using Facebook and Twitter all day at work.
In general, content later in the week looks to do better with sharing.
Best Day To Blog for Pageviews
The same four days are the best for pageviews, Monday through Thursday. But the winners are a little more mixed up.
Monday wins out in a big way with 43% of the top 100 pageview days in 2011 falling on the first day of the work week. In fact, of all of the top 100 days for pageviews in 2011, there were no Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. So while we share throughout the week, we are viewing content websites more on Monday through Thursday.
Pageviews also progress in a predictable order. Monday was top, then Tuesday is second, then Wednesday, then Thursday. We simply view more content on Monday and less as the week goes on.
“If you don’t publish daily, I’ve found that publishing on sequential days produces a signal multiplier effect on Twitter and via RSS. I try to publish Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday for that reason” said Jay Baer, CEO of Convince & Convert, reflecting a similar progression to the top pageview days.
Best Time Of Day To Blog For Social Shares
Evidently when we start chattering about good content, we chatter early.
27% of all content shares occur between 8am and 12pm EST.
There is a spike at 9am and 10am and then a decline the rest of the day. There are also smaller but significant spikes in sharing at 2pm and 9pm EST. We like to share content in the morning as we catch up with news. We circle back and do the same after lunch as well as after dinner in the late evening.
I talked to Chris Brogan, CEO of Human Business Works and learned that he publishes content at 4:30am to so that his content is ready for the US audience but his UK readers are still awake and able to share it as well. Publishing this early might mean he gets lost in the shuffle for the rest of the US. To make up for that, Chris promotes his content in 4 other time zones after publishing.
This same multi timezone promotion strategy works for big brands too. “The natural content decay factor of Twitter and Facebook requires a reminder as the PST audience comes online. You need to be careful though not to just repeat yourself over and over. An effective way to do that is curating reactions to the content from external sources as the day progresses.” said Josh Hallett of Voce Communications.
Best Time Of Day To Blog For Pageviews
The best time to blog for pageviews and social shares shares a lot of common ground, unlike the best day of the week.
Blog posts get the most views between 7am and 1pm EST on weekdays. The drop off of traffic is significant after that segment.
Pageviews peak at 9am to 10am.
Sharaholic’s suggests that if your targeting pageviews, publishing on weekday mornings is key. Starting to see a pattern here?
Gini Dietrich is the CEO at Arment Dietrich and author of Social Fresh Top 10 Corporate Blog in 2011, Spin Sucks. She shared some of their personal research. “We did A LOT of testing to see what made most sense for our readers. Our official publish time is 8am Central Time [9am EST].”
These stats and insights from top bloggers gives us all some nice targets to start with. These days and times are a great place to begin your testing. Dive into your own sharing metrics and traffic numbers to find out when you are seeing the most traction and adjust from there.
Also, use your analytics software to see what time zones read your content when. Many US companies will want to focus on the east coast, where the majority of the county lives. But as Gina and Chris mentioned, the west coast or even Europe could be a large target audience for your content. Adjust accordingly.
Lastly consider how you want your audience to find your content or how they are most comfortable finding your content. Do most of them click from Facebook. Do they subscribe via email? These answers will affect how this data applies to you.
Thanks again to Sharaholic for such useful data. If you want to find your own optimal times and days for traffic, do a custom report in Google Analytics for hour of day and day of week. Social share numbers are available depending on the share buttons you use on your site and what you use to track it. If you are using Sharaholic, or want to see an example of this sharing breakdown from their own blog, they provide free publisher analytics here.
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