Untested Theories: Increase Engagement by Scheduling Facebook Posts for Off-Peak Times

There’s a little theory we’ve been working on, which you can feel free to either test out, or disregard completely. I’m just going to come out and say it:

Consider scheduling your Facebook posts for off-peak times.

I know, I know. This runs counter to every bit of common sense you have, which tells you to obviously schedule your posts for the times where most of your readers are online.

Facebook Insights Chart Displaying Peak Page Activity Times
Facebook Insights Chart Displaying Peak Page Activity Times

Using the chart above, we can see that our blog’s fan page gets hit with the most people between three and six in the afternoon. That makes it seem like the ideal time to post, right?

But here’s the idea. It’s possible, just possible, that more people will eventually see your post if you schedule it for off-peak times. The reasons for this are twofold.

By now, it’s pretty widely acknowledged that Facebook is only showing your page posts to between 4-7% of your total number of followers. This is a depressing set of numbers, for sure, but it also makes a bit of sense; with hundreds of millions of pieces of content that could be displayed to you at any time, it makes sense that Facebook would need to establish a means to pick and choose which info to show you, in an effort to either show you the posts that it deems most relevant, or perhaps more accurately, posts which have been paid for.

By this logic, if the overall “pool” of posts and content that Facebook has to sift through in order to show you the bits and pieces it thinks are most relevant to you is smaller, as it would be in the middle of the night, it would seem to make sense that your posts would have a greater chance of being seen by more people.

Again, this is just a theory. We’re just talkin’, here.

But there’s another advantage to posting during times when there is less overall content being published to Facebook. We also know that Facebook’s algorithm decides what to show users based in part on how each piece of content has been interacted with. Posts that are liked and shared among users, are generally shown to more people.

This brings us to the second part of the theory: If your post is displayed more frequently in the overnight hours, bored insomniac users will probably also interact with your posts more than they would during the day, when they are distracted by work and home. This means your post gets liked, shared, and commented on more overnight, and presto! Your post is the first thing regular daytime users see when they fire up Facebook in the morning, having been boosted to the top of the newsfeed thanks to all of that overnight activity. From there, liking and sharing continues as normal, but off-peak posts are given a “head start” in Facebook’s popularity algorithm.

What do you think? Does the theory have merit, or are we way off-base? Have you tested an overnight or off-peak posting strategy for your Facebook page? Did you see a change in results or post engagement? We want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments.

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  1. I think Facebook and Twitter both are really difficult to figure out, in a way, at least to the extent that you get a lot out of them. I’m definitely intrigued by this theory, and it does have some logic, but I’m curious to see how it would test out. If you guys test this out I’d be so interested to hear results!

  2. Gage 5 years ago

    Ill test this out over the next few weeks and see what happens.

    • Malcolm Bedell 5 years ago

      Thanks! Be sure to circle back and let us know your results!

  3. We have tried it out as well without a clear result so we will try it once again 🙂