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Scheduling Content on Social Media: Theory, Evidence, and Application

Vamsi K. Kanuri, Yixing Chen and Shrihari (Hari) Sridhar

JM Insights in the Classroom

Full Citation: ​
Kanuri, Yixing Chen, and Shrihari Sridhar (2018), “Scheduling Content on Social Media: Theory, Evidence, and Application,” Journal of Marketing, 82 (6), 89-108.

Abstract Article
Content platforms (e.g., newspapers, magazines) post several stories every day on their dedicated social media pages and promote some of them using targeted content advertising (TCA). Posting stories allows content platforms to grow their social media audiences and generate digital advertising revenue from the impressions channeled through social media posts’ link clicks. However, optimal scheduling of social media posts and TCA is formidable, requiring content platforms to determine what to post, when to post, and whether, when and how much to spend on TCA to maximize profits. Social media managers lament this complexity, while academic literature offers little guidance. Consequently, the authors draw from literature on circadian rhythms in information processing capabilities to build a novel theoretical framework on social media content scheduling and explain how scheduling attributes (i.e., time of day, content type, and TCA) affect the link clicks metric. They test their hypotheses using a model estimated on 366 days of Facebook post data from a top-50 U.S. newspaper. Subsequently, they build an algorithm that allows social media managers to optimally plan social media content schedules and maximize gross profits. Applying the algorithm to a holdout sample, the authors demonstrate a potential increase in gross profits by at least 8%.

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Topic Areas: ​
Consumer Cognitive Psychology; Content Marketing; Digital Marketing – Customer; Marketing Analytics; Marketing Strategy; Social Media ​​​​

Special thanks to Kelley Gullo, Ph.D. candidate at Duke University, for her support in working with authors on submissions to this program.


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Vamsi K. Kanuri is Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business.

Yixing Chen is Doctoral Student in Marketing, Texas A&M University, Mays School of Business.

Shrihari (Hari) Sridhar Associate Professor of Marketing, Center for Executive Development Professor, Texas A&M University, Mays School of Business.