When Is The Best Time To Publish Online?

Larry Weber thinks he knows.

In his latest book Sticks & Stones: How Digital Business Reputations Are Created Over Time and Lost in a Click, the co-founder of PR giant Weber Shandwick says that if you are posting a video to YouTube, do it at 9pm EST.

That’s a rather anti-social 2am in London, and 3am across much of continental Europe.

Weber explains:

Your video will be up for European viewers to watch before they go off to work or school and you’ll catch the eye of US viewers winding up their weekend web activities.

So there you go. Simple.

I can’t vouch for the success of Weber’s magic hour but it does point to a shifting pattern in internet consumption habits.

In the (not too distant) past, successful pick-up meant posting in office hours. The logic was simple – most of us were online most of the time Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.

Indeed, at Channel 4 News the race is still on to get the nightly Snowmail out before 5pm.

Miss the slot (and we often did) and not only would you get complaints the following day from people picking up an out-of-date ‘what’s coming up on the show’ newsletter, you’d also see a significant reduction in click-throughs.

Even across the working week, some days are better than others. When we launched silicon.com in the late 1990s we discovered that an email newsletter sent out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday would generate more traffic than one sent on a Monday or Friday.

And then there are the daily spikes. Lunchtime and towards the end of the working day still register – the latter enjoys the double-whammy of not only being the end of the European work-day but lunchtime on the east coast of the US.

Much of the above still holds true, but now we’re online across more hours of the day, seven days a week the old assumptions are being tested. 

Nevertheless, 9pm EST? I’d like some proof.

Related:
Which Is The Second Largest Search Site After Google? (Clue: It’s Not Yahoo!)

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