What Are Carousel Ads?
Carousel ads are a Facebook advertising format that combines multiple images or video to create one ad. You can showcase 3-5 images or video within a single ad unit. Viewers can swipe through the ads to view each one. Clicking these ads can take people to different pages.
Because it’s such a visual medium, carousel ads are particularly powerful on Instagram.
At the end of this post you’ll find the design and technical specs for Instagram carousel ads.
6 Best Practices For Carousel Ads
It’s best to think of carousel ads as you might a multi-panel print ad. With multiple panels and lots of room for copy, you have the flexibility to tell a story and make a sale directly in the ad (as opposed to trying to just get a click). Let’s explore some of the best practices for running carousel ads on Instagram.
Think differently about audience targeting
One mistake people make with carousel ads is to create one ad and use it for all their audiences.
Since carousel ads take more time to create than other ad types, this is understandable — but if possible, you should avoid this error and build ad units tailored to your different audiences.
Repeat customers might react better to specific products they’ve viewed but not purchased. First time viewers may be more interested in the benefits to purchasing your products, rather than the products themselves. Your historical data might show higher product purchases on mobile, meaning Instagram is a great new placement option.
All of these audiences should have different ads served to them, even if it’s just a distinct call to action. It may take more time up front to do this, but spending time reviewing your data and thinking about your audience will yield more long-term ROI.
Take advantage of the format to tell a story
Most digital ad formats don’t afford you the luxury of being able to tell a story — you constantly have to fight for a click, which can be limiting.
Carousel ads are different. You get multiple panels, images, video, copy, and buttons.
You can find good examples of advertisers using carousel ads effectively on the Instagram blog. Try to produce creative that’s built for the carousel format.
Showcase how your product works
Instagram carousel ads encourage ad engagement through image swiping. This can be an incredibly useful way to showcase how your product works.
For example, anything that involves a step-by-step demonstration would be perfect for carousel ads. Or you could get a little more abstract: show someone’s life before your product, then an image of them using your product, and then the outcome of them using your product. You can use the carousel format to show, rather than tell, the benefits of your product.
Create a larger canvas
Carousel ads give you a way to showcase a larger image than otherwise would be possible. This gives you much more flexibility for the 20% text rule, as well more engrossing images that wouldn’t work with the 1200×628 limit.
GMC used the images effectively to showcase the inside of their vehicle:
When appropriate, Select Optimization Carousel ads have an additional option unavailable for normal ad formats.
You can select whether you wish to “automatically select and order images and links”.
That means Facebook will select and order the best-performing images and links for each person who sees your ad. Leave the box unselected if your ads need to be in a certain order.
Understand carousel reporting
There are different reporting features for carousel ads. You’ll need to select the correct breakdown metric. To see only your carousel ads, follow these two steps.
First, select All Ads as your view.
Next, select Breakdown, By Action, and Carousel Card
Now you’ll get a clear view of your carousel ad performance.
Next up we’ll discuss 2 tactics you can use to grow your sales using Instagram advertising: retargeting and setting up an evergreen campaign.