The Best Time To Publish YouTube Videos In 2024

The Best Time To Publish YouTube VideoPin

Want to know the best time to publish YouTube videos? We’ve got you covered.

On YouTube, timing is everything. 

Even if you have a viral video on your hands, if you upload it at the wrong time, it could easily flop. 

But get the timing right, and your views and engagement could go through the roof.

In this post, we’ll start by showing you what the data says the best time to publish videos to YouTube is (and explain why you might want to ignore it).

Then, we’ll show you how you can dig into your own channel analytics and run experiments to find the real best time to publish YouTube videos for your audience.

Why does timing matter on YouTube?

The time you publish videos on YouTube matters more than you might think—and it’s all down to the algorithm.

You see, YouTube’s algorithm likes to recommend videos that it thinks viewers are likely to watch and enjoy, for obvious reasons. 

And to work that out, it looks at engagement signals. If lots of people are clicking on your video, engaging with it (by leaving likes and comments), and watching it until the end, YouTube will recommend it to more people.

But when you first publish your video, you only have a short window of time to send those positive engagement signals to YouTube.

If your video doesn’t perform as well as it should within the first few hours, you’ll miss out on that initial recommendation push, and you won’t get the ‘snowball effect’ that makes your videos go viral and get thousands of views.

And that’s why you need to make sure you’re publishing your videos at the time when your audience is most likely to watch and engage with them.

Is there really a ‘best’ time to post on YouTube?

There’s no one-size-fits-all best time to publish YouTube videos because everyone’s target audience is different.

If you share gaming content and your target audience is children and teens, for example, your peak times are probably going to be after-school hours (e.g. 4-9 PM)

But if you share educational content and your target audience is marketing professionals, you might have more luck publishing during traditional business hours (e.g. 9 AM – 5 PM).

However…

While there’s no definitive best time to upload YouTube videos that’ll work for everyone, there are some publishing times that tend to perform better than others, on average.

You can use these recommendations as a jumping-off point, and run your own experiments to refine and optimize your YouTube posting schedule.

With that in mind, let’s look at the data.

The best time to publish YouTube videos (according to the data)

  • The overall best time to publish YouTube videos is 2 PM – 4 PM
  • In contrast, the worst time to publish YouTube videos is before 8 AM or after 7 PM
01 YouTube videos best and worst timePin

Most of the studies we looked at found that views and engagement on YouTube were highest in the early evening (4 – 6 PM) when people finish work or school.

However, uploading them to your YouTube channel 2 hours earlier gives YouTube time to properly index the video so that by the time viewers are most active, they’re ready to watch.

Also, it’s worth noting that several studies have looked at the best time to publish YouTube videos, and they don’t all come to the same conclusions. See the table below for a comparison of the data.

StudyBest time to publish YouTube videos
Federator Networks2 – 4 PM
SocialPilot2 – 4 PM
TubeBuddy3 – 6 PM
Benlabs4 – 8 PM
HubSpot3 – 6 PM & 8 – 9 PM
GoogleDuring TV prime time (8 – 11 PM)

The best days to publish YouTube videos

  • The overall best day to publish YouTube videos seems to be Saturday.
  • In contrast, the overall worst day to publish YouTube videos seems to be Monday
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More generally, videos seem to perform much better towards the end of the week (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) compared to early on in the week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday).

This makes sense, as people have more leisure time over the weekend to spend on YouTube. 

But early on in the week, they may be too tired from work/school to sit down and watch YouTube videos.

Again, though, keep in mind that the best day to publish YouTube videos varies depending on which study you look at. Here’s a comparison of the data:

Study*Best days to publish YouTube videos
Federator NetworksSaturday, Friday, and Sunday
SocialPilotSunday
TubeBuddyThursday, Fridays, and Saturdays
HubSpotFriday, Saturday, and Thursday

*Where multiple days are listed, they’re in descending order (best > second best > third best).

The best time to publish YouTube videos by niche

We were only able to find one study that looked at the best time to publish YouTube videos by niche, by Benlabs. 

03 YouTube videos by nichePin

Here’s what they found:

  • The best days for Gaming channels to publish videos are Mondays and Tuesdays (3%+ increase in viewership)
  • The best time for Gaming channels to publish videos is 7 PM.
  • The best days for Recipe/Cooking channels to publish videos are Saturdays and Wednesdays (for views) or Sundays and Wednesdays (for likes)
  • The best time for Recipe/Cooking channels to publish videos is 9 AM – 6 PM (for views) or 6 AM – 7 AM (for likes)
  • The best days for Family channels to publish videos are Friday and Sundays (5%+ increase in viewership)
  • The best time for Family channels to publish videos is 5 – 6 AM (for views) or 2 – 3 PM (for likes)

The best time to publish YouTube videos by day

Studies have found that the best time to publish YouTube videos varies depending on the day of the week. 

Generally,

  • The best time to post during weekdays (Monday – Friday) is in the afternoon (2 – 4 PM)
  • The best time to post during weekends is in the morning (9 – 11 AM)

Again, this makes sense. During the week, people are more likely to watch YouTube when they finish school/work. But on the weekend, they might start watching much earlier as they have more free time.

Also note that one study found that on Thursdays and Fridays, YouTube users were more likely to watch and engage with videos slightly earlier, from around 12 PM instead of 2 PM.

How to find your best time to post

As I said earlier, it’s important not to put too much stock into the statistics.

2 to 4 PM might be the best time to publish videos to YouTube generally, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best time for you

Ultimately, the only way to figure out when your videos will perform best is to try different things and look at your own data to see what’s working.

Here are some tips to help you get started.

Use YouTube Analytics to find your audience’s peak times

One of the best ways to find your best time to publish on YouTube is to use YouTube Analytics.

First, open up YouTube and click your profile picture in the top right, then click YouTube Studio.

Find your audience’s peak times - YouTube StudioPin

In the sidebar on the left, click Analytics, then switch to the Audience tab.

Find your audience’s peak times - Audience tabPin

In the audience report, you should see a visualization of When your viewers are on YouTube.

Find your audience’s peak times - Viewers on YouTubePin

Try to publish videos around 2 hours before the time slots where your viewers are most active according to the table. This will allow time for YouTube to index the video so that it’s watchable during your audience’s peak times.

Note: If you don’t have enough data for the When your viewers are on YouTube table to show up, you can look at the Realtime Views chart to identify your peak times instead.

Experiment with different posting times and track results

You can use your audience’s most active times, or the best times to post that we outlined in this study, as a starting point.

But ultimately, you’re going to have to experiment with different publishing times if you want to optimize your posting schedule.

To do so, every week, try sharing a video at a slightly different time than the week before. Over time, you’ll gather a ton of data, and you can look back to see which videos got the most views and likes to see if you can spot any trends.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with publishing videos at off-peak times either. There’s likely to be less competition at off-peak times, so your videos might end up performing better than you’d expect.

Post when your competitors are posting

Ever notice how lots of similar creators on YouTube tend to publish videos at around the same time?

Well, there’s a reason for that.

If you post content at around the same time as other popular channels in your niche, it’s possible to tap into their audience and ‘leech’ off their views.

Part of the reason this works so well is because of YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. 

When one YouTube video finishes, viewers will often click through to another video on the suggested screen at the end, or to one of the recommended videos in the sidebar.

And when you publish videos at around the same time as your competitors, there’s a good chance your video will show up as a recommendation there, getting you a bunch of clicks.

Use a scheduling/analytics tool to find your best time to post

The tips above can help you to find your own best time to publish.

But if you want to save yourself from the hassle of working it out yourself, some social media schedulers and analytics tools can do it for you

Typically, these tools work out your best time to publish based on your historical data—by analyzing how your past videos performed and seeing which times generated the best results.

Remember that your ‘best time to publish’ can change

Let’s imagine for a second that you’ve experimented with lots of different publishing times over the past couple of months, and you’ve found that you tend to get the best results from 4 PM to 6 PM.

So, you resolve to always post new videos between those two times.

But suddenly, June rolls around, and your views and engagements take a nosedive. 

What happened?

Well, June is when summer break starts in the US. So if your target audience is children/teens, what probably happened is that their viewing habits changed when school finished for the summer.

Previously, they’d start watching YouTube videos when the school day ended at 4 PM or so. 

But now, they’re off school the whole day, so they start watching videos earlier, and by 4 PM, they’ve already moved on to something else.

Do you see what I’m getting at? 

The point is that the best time to publish can change throughout the year, so you must factor in things like national holidays and anything else that might cause changes to your audience’s viewing habits when planning your schedule.

Frequently asked questions

Before we wrap up, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the best time to post on YouTube.

We haven’t been able to find any studies that specifically looked at the best time to livestream on YouTube.

That said, logic says that 4 to 6 PM would be the best time to livestream.

This is because 2 to 4 PM is the best time to post regular videos, but we can add two hours to that as, with livestreams, you don’t need to account for the time it takes YouTube to index your videos properly (2-3 hours). As soon as you go live, people can start watching.

Again, we couldn’t find any large-scale studies on the best time to publish YouTube Shorts.

However, it’s likely to be different from regular YouTube videos, as they don’t require as much time to watch.

For example, people may be more likely to scroll through YouTube Shorts on their lunch break or during their commute, but they might not sit down for a longer YouTube video until they have plenty of free time in the evening.

You’d need to run your own experiments and check your video analytics to find your own best time to post Shorts, but early morning to late afternoon might be a good starting point.

There’s no definitive answer to this as it depends on your niche, target audience, and the types of videos you create.

For Shorts, it might be best to publish multiple videos a day. But for regular full-length YouTube videos, once a week might be more reasonable as they typically take much longer to produce.

The most important thing is to be consistent. Set a schedule and stick with it, so your audience knows exactly when to expect a new video to drop. That’ll help you to maximize views and engagements.

No, whether you schedule in advance or publish straight away, it won’t affect the video performance.

Aside from publishing videos at the right time, here are some other ways to get more views, likes, and subscribers on YouTube.

  • Improve your average view duration. This is one of the most important factors that YouTube’s algorithm looks at. The longer your viewers stick around before clicking off your video, on average, the more it’ll be recommended to new viewers. A good way to increase your view duration is to use a hook at the start of your videos in which you give viewers an incentive to watch until the end, such as by promising a ‘big reveal’.
  • Decrease your swipe rate (YouTube Shorts). This is another super important factor in the algorithm, but it only matters for YouTube Shorts. Ideally, you’ll want to make sure that less than 20% of the people who see your Shorts swipe past them. A good way to do that is to make sure your Shorts start strong.
  • Promote your videos elsewhere. You can get more views on your YouTube videos by promoting them off the platform. An easy way to do this is to share a link to any new videos you publish on all the social media platforms you’re active on. You can also try promoting them on places like Reddit, Quora, etc.

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Final thoughts

That concludes our guide to the best time to publish YouTube videos this year.

In summary, 2 to 4 PM may be the best time to post on YouTube overall, according to most statistics, but it varies depending on your audience.

It’s a better idea to find your own best posting time by experimenting with different schedules and looking at your channel analytics to see what’s working.

What’s next? Be sure to check out our posts covering the best times for TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

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