Instagram carousel posts have greater reach and more engagement than regular Instagram posts. If you haven’t already, it’s time to make carousels part of your Instagram ad strategy.

Instagram Carousel Post

How to Create a Carousel Post on Instagram

If you give Instagram users an opportunity to swipe left, they will. This is what brands that have integrated carousels into their Instagram advertising campaigns are learning. And it’s giving them a competitive edge. A little background on the power of Instagram: The platform has more than 2 billion active monthly users. Every day, 500 million of these users sign in to follow businesses (90 per cent), discover new products or services (83 per cent),  research brands (81 per cent), and decide whether or not to make a purchase (80 per cent).

More importantly for marketers, Instagram users are liking, commenting, or connecting with brands in some way. The average engagement rate per post by followers on Instagram is 10 times that on Facebook.

The visual storytelling platform also outperforms Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn when it comes to engagement. For more information on how often you should post on social media click here. Carousels have the highest engagement rate of all post types – boosting Instagram’s impact for brands even further. Since Instagram launched the carousels feature in 2017, carousels have grown from about three per cent of Instagram content to nearly 20 per cent. The use of carousels will only continue to grow as brands reap the benefits. These benefits include:

  • Increased attention. The interactive nature of carousels means users spend more time looking at carousels than other posts.
  • Improved relevancy. Instagram’s algorithm interprets the extra time users spend on carousels as bringing value to users. As a result, it is more inclined to promote and share these posts.
  • The ability to easily share multiple images of a product, how-to guides, before and after transformations, and, user-generated content.

Varying your content types is an important way to make Instagram’s algorithm work for you. Carousels allow brands to share multiple types of visual content in a single ad. If you aren’t using carousels, it’s time to get started.

What is an Instagram carousel?

An Instagram carousel is a series of images and videos that are grouped together in a single post. They appear both in a brand’s feed and Stories to help deliver multipart messages. For example, you can highlight multiple products or share multiple perspectives on how you can solve a problem. They also help you tell stories, from showcasing the transformation of a DIY project to demonstrating the steps in a recipe. Up to 10 images and/or videos – each with its own link – can be added and shared as a single carousel ad on Instagram Stories. Up to five images/videos (aka cards) will automatically display and users have the option to tap “Expand Story” to see the remaining slides. Instagram personalizes the  number of cards that automatically display to each user. The number of cards that will display can also be set in Meta/Facebook Ads Manager.

As Meta points out: you can use carousel ads to:

  • Feature multiple products that link to different landing pages, which can help increase your click-through rate.
  • Highlight multiple features of a single product.
  • Tell a story.
  • Explain a process.
  • Share behind-the-scenes content.
  • Create an immersive experience by using the carousel cards to combine multiple images and videos in one continuous image.

You can create carousel ads from Ads Manager or from your Facebook Page. Carousel ads appear in multiple placements across Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger.

Once the ad starts to run, you can analyze results with metrics for carousel ads.

Getting started: How to create a carousel post on Instagram

Here are Meta’s eight steps to create a carousel ad from Ads Manager:

  1. Go to Ads Manager.
  2. Click + Create in the top-left corner.
  3. Choose an objective that supports the carousel format. Note: the carousel format is only available with the Video Views objective for the Instagram Stories placement. You can’t use the Engagement objective with the carousel format.
  4. Add your Campaign Details, A/B Test and Campaign Budget Optimization information if needed, then click Next.
  5. Complete your Budget and Schedule, Audience, Placements, and Optimization and Delivery information. Then click Next.
  6. In the Identity section, select the Facebook Page you want to use for your carousel ad and attach your Instagram account, if applicable.
  7. In the Ad Setup section, select Carousel.
  8. In the Ad Creative section, manually choose your media or fill your carousel cards dynamically from a product set. Note that you’ll need a product catalogue to fill your carousel cards dynamically, an option that isn’t available for all campaign objectives.
  9. For more details about how to choose media either manually or dynamically, click here.

Each carousel ad can support multiple images and videos, and each ad has its own headline, description, link, and call to action.

Best practices for carousel ads

Here are six of Meta’s best practices to help brands maximize the impact of Instagram carousel ads.

  1. Use all the tools available to capture and keep attention. Beyond images and videos, this includes compelling headlines and descriptions, and strong call-to-action buttons that encourage people to take the next step in the sales funnel.
  2. Be clear about the story you’re telling and choose visuals that are cohesive, aesthetically consistent, and engaging. If you’re using videos, Meta recommends the square (1:1) aspect ratio.
  3. Include links to each product/service featured in a carousel. You can also promote external links, such as to events or promotions you’re running.
  4. Tailor carousels to target existing customers as well as prospective customers. You can use product images to reach out to people who have visited your website’s product pages. Use lifestyle imagery to connect with prospective customers.
  5. Simultaneously test multiple pieces of content and use the best performers first. Replace cards that are low-performers. However, if you’re telling a story in sequence or as a canvas with one long image, opt out of testing when you create the ad.
  6. If you’re showcasing a product set in your carousel ad, make sure it’s a broad one. Any items you display in the ad should be in stock and not variants of your product. If there are less than two available items in the set, your carousel ad turns into a single image or stops running.

It’s time to get creative and boost the impact of your Instagram campaigns. Move beyond single-visual posts and build Instagram carousels into your marketing strategy. It’s a proven way to increase engagement – the first step to a sale. For additional learnings on how to promote your business on Instagram click here.