Lifespan of Social Media Posts in 2021

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How long do your social media posts last after you post them? If you want to find out the average lifespan of social media posts in 2021, as well as how you can extend that lifespan, then keep reading.

We all have those posts that we publish on social media and then simply flop. They don’t get much engagement within the first few minutes, hours or days, and then they just get forgotten.

Lifespan of social media posts

I remember when I saw one of my YouTube videos that I had posted over a month ago and it got just its average views at the time. But then suddenly started picking up massive view counts after a while.

I was so surprised to see that, as I had already classed it in my head as a “dead” video.

Or when I had one of my Pinterest pins that was nearly a year old suddenly get picked up and go viral. I was stunned. And this process has happened to me multiple times over the last few years that I’ve been on social media.

So how does this happen?

What can you expect from the posts you publish on social media?

Let’s dive into the lifespan of each social media platform.

What does lifespan of a post mean?

The lifespan of a post refers to the time in which you can expect that post to get engagement before it goes flat.

By engagement we mean likes, comments, saves, views, repins etc, depending on the platform.

Each social media platform has an average lifespan for your posts, which means after that time it is unlikely for the post to get picked up again.

How long do social media posts last?

Each social media platform is different. We know some platforms have a main search purpose, others have sharing purposes, others focus on image content etc.

The amount of time that your post is likely to last differs as well, from platform to platform.

Lifespan of Social Media Posts in 2021

Let’s see what you can expect for each social media platform in 2021.

Lifespan of Social Media Posts on Instagram

Instagram Feed post: 48 hours

Instagram Stories: 24 hours

Instagram Reels: 14 days +

On Instagram, your general feed post has an average lifespan of 48 hours. This means that during those first 48 hours after publishing, your post will get the most of its likes, comments, saves or shares.

After those 48 hours have expired, the post is less unlikely to get much engagement.

As you know, Instagram stories expire after 24 hours, so obviously their lifespan is just that. You can get reactions or responses to your stories within that time frame, but after that your stories disappear.

For Instagram reels, however, there’s a bit of a special situation.

Since Instagram is pushing reels massively at the moment, some reels can get picked up even after 14 days have passed since you published a reel.

Depending on trending audio and how much Instagram is pushing out your content to other people, your reels have the chance to go viral even after that much time has passed.

Video content on Instagram is becoming increasingly popular, so it is definitely something you might want to incorporate into your strategy for this year.

I’m sharing more Instagram reels tips over on this account.

Lifespan of Social Media Posts on Facebook

Facebook Post: 5 hours

On Facebook, you can expect your post to get its maximum engagement within the first 5 hours after posting on your feed.

After that, the post is unlikely to get more comments or likes, especially with the new algorithm.

Lifespan of Social Media Posts on YouTube

YouTube Video: 30 days +

The lifespan of a video on YouTube is 30 days or more. While you will get a boost of views within the first few days of posting, your video can pick up speed even after 30 days or more have passed.

On my YouTube channel, I have noticed this happening multiple times.

I will post a new video. It will get its usual average 1k-2k views within those first few days or week and then it will taper off a bit.

However, if the video is searchable and gets good engagement (comments, good average view duration, good CTR etc), then that video is highly likely of getting picked up in the YouTube Suggested feature.

I’ve had many videos suddenly start getting tons of views after 30 days of posting.

That’s exactly what happened to this video, for example:

YouTube video average lifespan of social media posts

As you can see, within the first 30 days it got its usual 2k views, without much happening. And then all of a sudden it started quickly picking up traction.

That’s because it was a highly searchable topic and it also got picked up in YouTube Suggested.

Lifespan of Social Media Posts on TikTok

TikTok: minutes, unless viral

TikTok videos have a very short lifespan, probably shorter than most other social media platforms.

Your video gets most of its engagement within the first few minutes of posting. After that, unless your video goes viral, it is pretty much dead.

Lifespan of Social Media Posts on Twitter

Twitter Post: 15-20 minutes

On Twitter, your tweet has a shelf life of about 15 to 20 minutes. After that, there’ not much of a chance to get more engagement. Again, unless it’s a post that goes viral and gets tons of retweets and likes.

Lifespan of Social Media Posts on Pinterest

Pinterest Pin: 6 months – 1 year

Pinterest is a bit more special. For one, it’s not just a social media platform. It is, in fact, a search engine. This means people use it just like Google, to search topics that interest them.

The lifespan of a pin you publish on Pinterest is 6 months to a year, but it can go beyond that too.

I’ve had pins that were nearly a year old and performed decently in the beginning days, but nothing crazy. And then all of a sudden, months and months later they get picked up and start generating tons of saves, likes and views.

Lifespan of a Blog Post

Blog Post: 1 year +

Your blog is always one of the best assets you can have for your business. For one, you own your website, unlike social media platforms that you have no control over.

For two, it has the highest lifespan out of anything out there. You could publish a blog post today and it can generate you traffic and money for years to come.

In fact, a lot of blog posts start ranking in Google search months after they were first published.

And as long as the post is evergreen, relevant or you keep it updated throughout the years, it can be a constant source of traffic and money.

This is one reason why I always go back to update old blog posts to keep the content relevant.

Ready to start your own blog? I use and recommend Bluehost for your blog. If you have no idea where to begin, use my free ultimate guide on how to start a blog and make money blogging.

Let’s Recap!

The average lifespan of a social media post is as follows:

Instagram Feed post: 48 hours

Instagram Stories: 24 hours

Instagram Reels: 14 days +

Facebook Post: 5 hours

YouTube Video: 30 days +

TikTok: minutes, unless viral

Twitter Post: 15-20 minutes

Pinterest Pin: 6 months – 1 year

Blog Post: 1 year +

Lifespan of social media posts

How to Extend the Life of Your Posts

Here are a few things you can do to extend the life of your posts on social media or on your own platforms.

  1. Post at the best times. You can use your analytics on most platforms to figure out what time your audience is most active. Try your best to post within that time frame to give your posts a chance for maximum engagement. Here is how to find your best time to post on Instagram.
  2. Post consistently, but don’t overwhelm your audience. Consistency is key – such a cliche phrase, but one that is deeply true. Being consistent is so important. You don’t have to post daily, just figure out a schedule that works for you and try to stick to it. Posting too much can overwhelm your audience anyway, so it’s best to find the balance where your audience engages the most.
  3. Ask questions to your audience. Whether it’s a blog post, an Instagram reel, Facebook post or YouTube video, try to incorporate questions in your post. This encourages your audience to respond and to engage more. In turn, this will extend the lifespan of your post.

I hope you found this post on the lifespan of social media posts in 2021 helpful!

Comment below what social media platforms you are on! Is there one in particular you are struggling with? I’d love to hear from you!

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