What's the Best Time to Upload to YouTube?

Selma Citakovic
Selma Citakovic

Updated · Feb 07, 2023


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Rule number one of social media: it’s all about the timing.

YouTube is no exception. 

All your effort will be for naught if you upload your video at the wrong moment. That’s because YouTube’s algorithm decides how many viewers it will be suggested to.
You’ll have to think strategically and plan your uploads.

I’ve provided all the info you’ll need to work out the best time to upload to Youtube.


How To Figure Out the Best Time To Upload on YouTube

Unlike other social media, YouTube is a bit harder to crack. Everyone has their own specific audience and niche, which significantly impacts their ideal moment to upload.

But, some methods will work regardless.

They are roughly divided into three groups. You can make use of:

  • General data
  • Specific real-time reports on your video performance
  • Specific reports on when your viewers are on YouTube.

Out of the three, relying on analytics reports on your viewer’s activity is the most straightforward tactic for uploading your content to Youtube

This feature, however, isn’t accessible for everyone. Smaller channels that don’t have the required traffic will have to do with the other two methods. 

Anyway, let’s take a look!

General Data

One of the studies on the best time to post on YouTube with the largest sample pool was conducted by Frederator Networks

Their sample is dominantly US-based (40%) and male, which means you should take the results with a grain of salt. But, their average viewer age of 13 to 34-year olds is properly representative. 

Taking all of that into account, here are the results:

  • Mondays 2—4 PM EST
  • Tuesdays  2—4 PM EST
  • Wednesdays  2—4 PM EST
  • Thursdays 12—3 PM EST
  • Fridays 12—3 PM EST
  • Saturdays 9—11 AM EST
  • Sundays  9—11 AM EST.

Overall, the most fruitful YouTube days of the week are Thursday and Friday

However, this isn’t a given. Your best days to share your content will also depend on your channel’s niche

For business channels, those days are usually between Tuesday and Thursday. Entertainment channels, on the other hand, will get a boost in views between Friday and Monday.

YouTube Real-time Analytics Report

You can also use data specifically tailored for your channel. You can access it via YouTube Studio in three simple steps:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio
  2. Click on Analytics
  3. Find the Overview tab and then the Real-time Analytics Report.

The real-time report can be of huge help in finding out the best times to post on YouTube. It shows when your uploads got the most views in the last 48 hours and 60 minutes.

The 60-minute option isn’t suitable for any long-term predictions. The 48-hour report, however, is definitely worth your attention. Mark the hours when your videos got the most views, and keep them in mind for your next uploads.

When Your Viewers Are on YouTube Report

This method is only available for channels that have gathered the required traffic during a selected period. Otherwise, you’ll receive a message in Analytics that says there’s not enough demographic data for a full report.

Still, this is perhaps the most helpful tool for gauging the best time to post YouTube videos. This report shows you when your audience has been online across all of YouTube during the last 28 days.

Here’s how to find it:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio
  2. Click on Analytics
  3. Click on Audience and find the When Your Viewers Are on YouTube Report.

A graph with purple bars depicts your viewers’ activity during each day. The darker the bars, the more your audience was scrolling through YouTube or watching videos in that specific time frame. 

So, you should focus on the darkest bars! They represent the time your content will most likely be suggested to the biggest number of viewers.

This lets you schedule your YouTube videos for the most opportune moments.

Oh, and one more thing:

Once you discern your prime time to post, don’t upload your content at that exact moment. Instead, it would be best if you did it 1-2 hours earlier.

Read on to find out why (don’t you just love cliffhangers?).

Why Is It Better To Post Your Video Before Prime Time

Believe it or not, your prime time to post isn’t precisely your YouTube prime time

That’s because YouTube needs an hour (at least) to process your video in SD, HD, and 4K resolution and check whether it’s suitable for ads. But, it’s all for a good reason. Your clips will be indexed and suggested to a broader audience that way.

So, upload your content up to two hours before you decide to finally publish it.

You’ll also let the views slowly build up in the first couple of hours before prime time. You don’t want to shoot your shot immediately!

Important Tips To Get More Views

So, now you know how to line up your uploads perfectly before the best time to post on YouTube.

But, what about other methods for more views? 

Fret not — I’ve got the latest tips on how to grow your audience and channel organically.

Let’s have a look!

Be consistent

Naturally, you’ll want to maintain a steady presence on your subscribers’ feeds and draw in new ones. So, consistency is the keyword here. 

Ideally, you should aim towards posting daily. This is a very demanding pace, however, that most creators can’t keep up with. 

A much more realistic and popular option is to post once a week, once you’ve worked out your best time to upload YouTube videos. That way, you’ll have time to pour all your creativity into your content and won’t work yourself into a burnout.

Quality precedes quantity. You’ll want your viewers to stay and watch your clips for as long as possible to increase your Watch Time.  

The higher your Watch Time, the more YouTube’s algorithm will favor your videos and channel. Studies show that users spend 70% of their time on YouTube watching content recommended by the algorithms. 

Optimize Your Keywords

YouTube’s search engine can also work in your favor — if you know how. It’s time to perform some SEO magic! 

Whenever you put up a video on YouTube, you can edit your title, description, and tags and thus make it searchable. But, the trick is to use smart keywords that will make your content rank higher and make it easier to find.

To do that, you’ll need to go keyword hunting.

Start from those that seem obvious for your video and channel. You should type them in the search bar and pay attention to the autocomplete.

Or, if you don’t feel like searching for them manually, you can use free tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner and Google Trends.

Either way, try to stick to those that are the most relevant to your content. Spamming unrelated keywords as you post your video on YouTube won’t bring you any good.

Most importantly:

Generously sprinkle the keywords into your title, description, and tags, while keeping it catchy and informative.

Spruce Up Your Thumbnail Images

As you know, thumbnail images offer a little preview of your video. 

You can always go for an auto-generated one, but you shouldn’t. Custom thumbnails are more effective.

A great one has the power to grab users’ attention mid-scroll and make them look. If you were wondering how to get your YouTube video seen by as many people as possible, this is one way to do it. 

The tried and proven recipe for a compelling thumbnail includes:

  • A close-up of a face
  • A bright background
  • Text in eye-catching fonts
  • A subtle logo or watermark.

Your thumbnail should be a JPG, PNG, BMP, or GIF file with a resolution of 1280x720, no bigger than 2 MB.

Provide Transcripts

YouTube also offers automatically generated captions, but they’re often full of mistakes. To get the best results, you should caption your videos yourself.

Providing transcripts for your uploads will make them more accessible — and that means more views! They are vital for educational videos.

You can insert your transcript after uploading your clip to YouTube. You’ll need to save your transcript as an SRT file first, though. You’ll also need to include timestamps next to the text so that the timing is right for every line said.

If done right, YouTube will save your transcript as closed captions. Your viewers can then toggle them on and off.

Enable Embedding

But how are you to get more views on YouTube?

Don’t forget to enable embedding! It lets your viewers share and embed links to your content on their blogs and websites.

To allow embedding: 

  1. Navigate to your video’s Advanced Settings
  2. Find the Distribution Options near the bottom of the page
  3. Tick the box next to Allow Embedding

You shouldn’t rely solely on your viewers to spread the word. Whenever you put up a new video on YouTube, try to share your work across platforms.

The best way to draw your followers’ attention, however, is with a short teaser clip. It should be engaging and representative. That way, your viewers will know what to expect. 

Pair that teaser with a YT link to your clip, and you’ve got yourself a fail-proof strategy!

Create Playlists

Playlists are a guaranteed way to keep your viewers glued to their screens. The Auto-play feature makes it hard to stop watching. If you were wondering how to get more YouTube views, that’s your ticket!

To add a video to an existing playlist or create a new one, click on the plus icon beneath the lower right corner. 

Make sure to create playlists of any ongoing series on your channel and compilations of your very best content.

Collaborate with Other Creators

Collaborating with other YouTubers, bloggers, and influencers can be a mutually beneficial experience. Teamwork is a valid strategy for accumulating views and exposing your content to a broader audience. 

But, if you want to post your collab video on YouTube, there’s a couple of conditions to be met.

Ideally, you’ll want to work together with creators coming from a similar niche with similar interests. That way, you’re more likely to get an influx of viewers that will continue to watch your videos. 

You should also try to contact creators with channels that are about your size. As tempting as it sounds, asking a much bigger channel for a collab probably won’t yield any results.

Wrap Up

Now you have all the tools you need to discover the best time to upload to YouTube for you. The combination of general data, personalized real-time analytics, and your report on when your viewers are online will aid you in your quest. 

And if you were wondering how to get even more YouTube views, there are extra tips included in this guide. 

So, get to know your audience, experiment, and make the algorithms work for you. Who knows — joining ranks with the most watched YouTube videos might not even be that far of a stretch!


Does it matter what time you upload to YouTube?

As always on social media, timing will influence your initial audience reach. The first two hours are essential for reaping views. If you mess up your timing, your video will miss out on a lot of the initial build-up.

And there’s one more thing:

YouTube upload time matters because videos usually take up to two hours to process and be checked for ads. That process will greatly impact your content’s spread.

How often should you post on YouTube 2021?

The perfect case scenario would be to post every day. But, that goal is often unrealistic for YouTube creators and marketers. The best compromise is to publish once a week and concentrate on the quality of your content.

Is it bad to upload YouTube videos at night?

Not necessarily! There’s no universal best time to upload to YouTube and no bad time. If most of your audience is active during the night, posting your clip then would be a great move!

Just make sure to upload the video 1-2 hours before publishing it to give YouTube time to process it.


Selma Citakovic

Selma Citakovic

Selma is a content writer with a love for all things nerdy by day and an internet archaeologist that likes to dig up obscurities by night. Mostly she's trying to balance between many obsessions. Right now, it's bass playing and reading hard sci-fi about vampires in outer space - next week, who knows.

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