Don’t Misread the Handy New “When Your Fans Are Online” Facebook Insight Graph

Are you making good use of the “When Your Fans Are Online” graph in your Insights? I sure hope so, but I also hope you’re reading it correctly.


Someone recently told me they didn’t think the “When Your Fans Are Online” Facebook Insight graph was of much use. I strongly disagreed and said that mine clearly shows the best times of day for me to post on my Page and that the graph now provides a valuable way for people to answer one of the most asked questions, “What’s the best time of day for me to post on my Facebook Page?” But the person said they’ve looked at lots of Page Insights and the graph looked pretty much the same for all of those Pages. Well, that’s quite possible since the data is based on the time zone of the person viewing the graph and their computer’s location.

If you’re a social media manager and you’re advising your clients based on the way you see the graph on their Insights page and aren’t clearly explaining that the results you’re seeing are based on your time zone and not theirs, you may be doing them a big disservice. For example, let’s say you live in Florida and have a client who lives in England. That means they are 5 hours ahead of you. If most of their fans live in the U.S. and the graph shows you that most of those fans are online between 10:00am and 6:00pm and the worst times to post are between midnight and 8am and you share that information with them and they think you’re telling them those are the best and worst times for them to post, they will actually be posting during the worst times and missing the best times. Why? Because they really should be posting between 3:00pm and 11:00pm and avoid posting between 5:00 am and 1:00pm.

If you don’t live in the same time zone as a client, or anyone you’re advising, you need to do the time zone calculations when you tell them the best times to post. It’s also very important to understand where most of a Page’s fans are from. If you look at a graph and see that most fans are online at the wee hours of the morning and can’t figure out why, maybe it’s because most of that Page’s fans live in Australia.