The Best Time to Post on Hacker News
I’m starting a new blog and I have the ambition of attracting high quality traffic very quickly. Marketers recommend scheduling your posts to reach the largest audience possible, so what really are the best hours for Hacker News, a community of night owls?
Fortunately, there is no need to scrape anything, as Hacker News items (stories, posts, jobs and polls) are available as a BigQuery public dataset, so we can find a crude answer in an hour, without resorting to R or Python, using only BigQuery and Data Studio.
For the impatient:
What it shows is the total number of the top 10 daily posts, since 1/1/2017 for each hour (US/Central) and day of week. For example: the 123 top posts were submitted on Wednesday 1PM, and only 39 on Saturday at 4AM. It seems that the best time to post on Hacker News is between 7AM and 1PM, and the ideal time is Tuesday 11AM (why?).
It creates a new BigQuery table, named
create your own dataset and use
it instead of
maurycy_hn if you want to play), that contains the top 10
daily posts for each day since 1/1/2017. I then used Data Studio to connect to
the data and visualize it using a pivot table with heatmap. Voilà!
The query is not optimal (some mathematics would help!) but the main issue is that it’s possible to be on the front page, as seen on the /front, the Hacker News Wayback, without making it into the daily top 10. The dataset does not provide information directly, but it does not matter, though: the front page is not an end in itself, less busy times deliver fewer visitors (eg: when all night owls sleep).
Updating the report in real time would take removing a temporary table
maurycy_hn.top_10_since_2017) and importing the
SELECT directly in Data
Studio, but pricing makes
it risky. The query processes over ~500MB data, so it quickly adds up and
only the first 1TB of query data processed per month is free.
PS. Honestly, I believe that great content (copywriting?), like this one, always wins, so please take the analysis with a grain of salt.
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