YouTube attracts viewers from around the world. This global audience presents many opportunities, but it can also make it hard to pick the best time to upload a video. Your goal is to reach as many eyeballs as possible, but viewers in Los Angeles might be searching for new content while YouTube users in Mozambique are fast asleep.
Although no single moment guarantees access to everyone in the world, there may still be an optimal time for your specific audience. Whether you’ve been running your channel for decades or are launching a brand-new YouTube campaign, publishing at the right time can boost your visibility and search performance. Here’s what you need to know.
Why does upload time matter on YouTube?
YouTube is sometimes considered the world’s second-largest search engine. In addition to following individual channels, viewers use the search function to discover new content. Appearing high in YouTube search results is one of the best ways to attract more viewers. Optimizing your video content with relevant keywords and a well-written description is critical, but finding the best upload time can also boost your engagement and increase your search ranking.
YouTube’s algorithm is designed to serve viewers relevant video content. YouTube evaluates audience engagement metrics like views, viewing duration, likes, and number of comments to determine relevance. Upload time matters because the platform starts making these calculations immediately after a video is indexed—receiving a positive audience response during the first few hours after publication can significantly improve a video’s chance of success. By uploading videos during peak viewing times, your content might attract viewers during this crucial initial engagement period.
What are the best times to upload videos on YouTube?
The best time to upload YouTube videos depends on your target audience, your location, and the type of content you produce.
Evenings and weekends are often high-traffic hours, but depending on where the bulk of your audience is located, their evening may not align with yours. Many social media publications offer guidelines about the best days of the week or times to publish videos, but these aren’t necessarily universal truths.
Instead of following broad rules, consider using YouTube analytics to understand your audience’s behavior and develop a strong YouTube strategy unique to your channel. To do this, review the audience information in YouTube Studio and tailor your publishing schedule to suit their general viewing habits.
Experiment with different times to see what works for your channel. After you’ve published several videos, you can use data provided by YouTube to identify your audience’s most popular viewing times. Aim to publish content slightly before your channel’s peak activity period—this gives YouTube time to index your video content before your audience logs on.
Factors for choosing the best time to publish YouTube videos
YouTube Studio offers analytics that can help identify the best posting time for your YouTube channel. To access YouTube analytics, open YouTube Studio and select Analytics from the dropdown menu on the left. Click on the Audience tab to find information about your YouTube subscribers.
The following considerations can all help you determine an effective publishing time:
1. Viewer age
YouTube’s audience demographics include an average age range. You can use age to make generalized assumptions about a viewer’s daily schedule. If, for example, your average viewer is under the age of 18 and located in the US, you can assume that they’re in school between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Publishing after school hours, therefore, increases the likelihood they’ll have time to watch YouTube videos.
2. Geographic location
YouTube channels reach an international audience. If data reveals your viewers are concentrated in a specific country or region, adjust your publishing times to align with this time zone.
3. Peak activity times
The audience tab also displays a calendar with dark purple bars that indicate your channel's most active times. Posting videos at or slightly before peak activity ensures they have been processed and indexed before your audience is online. If your most active period is inconvenient, you can upload content in advance and schedule videos to premiere later. Scheduling videos helps you maintain a consistent posting schedule. Consistent publishing boosts your channel's search authority, as loyal viewers come to expect new content regularly.
4. Past performance
Analyzing the success of your previous YouTube videos can help you identify patterns and develop a unique posting strategy. Review your top and bottom-performing video posts and identify common themes related to publishing time. Consider choosing a single time and day and publish at the same time every week.
5. Current events
Keep current events in mind while creating your schedule. Avoid publishing during holidays or breaking news periods, when viewers are less likely to watch videos. Major news events divert attention from your content, and the social obligations surrounding holidays often keeps viewers offline.
Best time to upload to YouTube FAQ
Does rewatching a video count as a view?
In most cases, rewatching a YouTube video counts as an additional view. However, YouTube limits the number of views from a single user within 24 hours—if a viewer plays the same video on a loop all day, YouTube will stop counting after a certain number of views to prevent gaming the viewership metrics.
What time of day is YouTube most active?
With so many viewers across multiple time zones, there’s no single most active time on YouTube. In general, the greatest activity on YouTube occurs in the evenings and on weekends.
Can uploading during off-peak hours have any advantages or disadvantages?
YouTube’s algorithm views initial engagement as a positive indicator of video quality. Although competition may be lower during off-peak hours, publishing YouTube videos at peak times may attract more viewers and increase your initial engagement score.
Does the type of content I create on YouTube influence the best time for uploading, or is it generally the same for all genres?
Different audiences may have different viewing habits—the type of content you create can affect the best time to upload your videos. For example, YouTube Shorts viewers may watch videos on their phones during lunch, while fans of long-form content might prefer viewing content on a desktop computer after work.
How long should I wait after uploading a video to promote it to maximize its reach?
It’s a good idea to start sharing your content once your video upload has finished processing. In addition to increasing brand awareness, promoting your YouTube content on other social media platforms right away can help attract initial engagement and show YouTube’s algorithm that viewers are interested in your content.
Does time zone affect the ideal upload time on YouTube?
Yes. If your audience is primarily based in a different time zone, choose when to post based on their schedule. Publishers can review their channel’s analytics to discover where their audience lives and when they are most active on the platform.