Instagram Carousel Ads & How They Work

Instagram Carousel Ads & How They Work in 2024

Published on: August 4, 2022
Last Updated: August 4, 2022

Instagram Carousel Ads & How They Work in 2024

Published on: August 4, 2022
Last Updated: August 4, 2022


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Do you know about Instagram carousel ads and their incredible reach?

With so many different features available on Instagram, it can be difficult to decide which types of posts are the best for your profile and which will drive the most new follower growth and engagement. 

There is no shortage of content on Instagram, that’s for sure— with millions of IG stories, posts, reels, and more, users of the platform have more choice than ever in what type of content they view. 

Instagram is always creating new features for the platform and doing tests to see which ones are most effective with users, and this is where some of the most usable captivating types of media have emerged. 

For instance, do you remember the days of Instagram where you could only post one photo at a time, and you really wanted to share all of the awesome new products or services that you were launching? Or go behind the scenes at an incredible event, but couldn’t choose between your images? 

Enter: Instagram carousel posts. Instagram carousel posts were first introduced on IG in 2017 and since then have been a huge hit for brands, creators, and everyday users alike.

Instagram drastically improved the user experience by introducing carousel posts and even carousel ads. 

You don’t have to worry about posting hundreds of times to get your series of photos out— you can simply display a number of images in one complete post, allowing the user to swipe to see more.

There are huge implications for businesses and brands here, opening many doors. 

You can use Instagram carousel post, also known as an Instagram gallery post, to share content to your feed without having to choose just one photo or video to share. Thanks, Instagram! 

Let’s take a look at the power of Instagram Carousel Ads and what they can do for you. In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • IG carousel ad stats
  • How to create IG carousel ads
  • Instagram carousel guidelines for use
  • Advantages of Instagram carousel and gallery posts
  • 15 ideas to boost your Instagram carousel content 

If you haven’t been using Instagram carousel ads and gallery posts, it’s never too late to start! Expanding your content strategy always brings in results. Let’s do it! 

Stats about Instagram Carousel Ads and Gallery Posts 

Here are some interesting data points that can help you understand the benefit of using Instagram carousel ads and gallery posts. 

  • In July 2020, 19% of all ads on IG were carousel ads compared to 2017’s 3-4%. 
  • Carousel ads have the highest engagement rate per post at 1.92%, higher than normal photos and videos 
  • If all 10 carousel slides are used, engagement typically exceeds 2%. 
  • A combination of videos and photos generate the highest engagement, with an average of 2.33%
  • Video carousels generate more contents, averaging about 26 comments per post 
  • Only 1 week after the feature was introduced, roughly 46% of brands had already published their first carousel post. 
  • Out of 22 million Instagram posts examined, almost 3 million were carousel posts. 

As you can see, gallery posts have gained a lot of traction over the years since its release and offers you the opportunity to boost your engagement levels, as they are the best-performing type of content on the platform in that sense. 

Does that mean you should cut all of your other content types? Of course not. Keep a happy balance but definitely don’t ignore the Instagram gallery post and carousel ads! 

How to Create Instagram Carousel Ads  

Instagram Carousel Ads

Using Instagram carousels in ads can be done for business profiles; you must switch your profile to business if you haven’t done so already. 

Second, you must have a connected Facebook business page to be able to implement Instagram carousel ads. You can then create the Instagram carousel ads via your Facebook page, and even through Facebook’s Power Editor. 

It’s a simple process when creating Instagram carousel ads, just make sure that your chosen photos are connected— think about what story you’re going to tell and what type of user experience you’re going to provide. 

Also consider using mixed media, as this type of carousel showed the most engagement and seems to be a lesser-known strategy. 

Instagram Carousel and Gallery Posts: Guidelines for Use 

Instagram Carousel

In an Instagram carousel ad or gallery post, you can add up to 10 photos and/or videos for your carousel. It’s been shown that 3 is the standard amount; after that, engagement drops off until you get back up to photo 8. 

That means you should either shoot for 3 photos, or go for the full 10. You can edit these photos individually or using a single filter for all included photos/videos. 

You can adjust the order in which they appear in your post, as well as tag users individually in each photo. 

You can’t add multiple location tags, and you can’t separate comments or likes by photo— they apply for the post as a whole. 

Carousel posts are identified with a small icon in the top right corner of the post; this is to let users know that it’s a gallery post and that they should swipe to view additional content. Dots will also appear under the post that indicate there are additional photos. 

Advantages of Instagram Carousel and Gallery Posts 

As we’ve already seen, there are quite a few benefits to implementing carousel ads and gallery posts to your content strategy. It creates a world of possibilities for content creation and also allows you to be more creative and innovative in what you share with your followers. 

Instead of having to narrow it down to one single photo, you can post a variety of images that complement each other and even tell a story or portray a feeling. You no longer have to post 10 times in a row to get all of your content out to users, helping to reduce spamming. 

What’s more, users won’t always necessarily see the first photo first— due to Instagram’s algorithm, Instagram shows users the photo that they feel the user would be most drawn to, and they can then scroll back and forth accordingly to see the content that is included in the gallery post. 

For that reason, a chronological story may not always be displayed from the first image in the gallery, so you may want to consider how you can tell stories as a whole but also how each image can shine independently as well. 

At the very least, Instagram carousel posts allow users to have all of the photos in a story or event in one place; it’s much better than having to go back and forth searching for the next logical post in a sequence. They’re all right there at the swipe of your finger! 

15 Ideas on How to Use Instagram Carousel Posts for Your Company

We’ve studied and reviewed many different gallery posts out there, and we’ve come to the conclusion that the following 15 purposes define the most effective and unique ways that brands and businesses are using carousel ads and posts. Let’s take a look and get some inspiration! 

1. Self-Promotion

This should be a no-brainer— brands and businesses want to promote themselves, and that’s one of the reasons they’re on Instagram in the first place. The great news is that using carousel posts can allow you to do this all at one time, offering expansive self promotion. 

It will keep users looking at your content longer when you use a carousel post for self-promotion because they will be engaged with the content and want to check out what photos are included in the set. 

Using self-promotion is especially useful for promoting new things, showcasing awards or experiences, positive reviews, and more. You can also hype up promotions or discounts with captivating images. 

If you take a look at @Cristiano, the most followed person on Instagram, you’ll notice that almost all of his posts are carousel posts or video posts and they receive upwards of 4 million likes or more per post. 

Of course, he’s a global soccer superstar, but you can see that this feature allows you to promote yourself at new levels! 

2. New Product Launches

If you sell a physical product or different services, you want to take advantage of the carousel post when you have new things coming out. Collect any related photos to the product(s)/service(s) and include them all in a carousel post. 

This gives users a base to check out and also have a few different perspectives of what your new offering is like. This is especially great if you’re launching a new set of items or have a collection or a collaboration coming out. 

Check out @HM— they’re experts at using gallery posts to feature their launches and collections. 

3. Shoppable Posts

Shoppable posts are the lifeblood of many businesses that sell a wide range of products. You can feature more of your products from a particular collection or related to a particular theme when you use gallery posts. 

You can see many different brands utilizing this feature; even if you don’t use a gallery post to do so, make sure you tag multiple products in one single photo. 

4. For Best Moments

When there’s a big event or something fun happening in relation to your brand or business, use a carousel post to feature the best moments. This is popular with fashion shows like New York Fashion Week, award shows, and much more. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by NYFW (@nyfw)

This draws on the days of magazines by creating a spread of content that can all be accessed in one place. You can also use it to feature your collaborators or even those people who work with your brands and show them off. 

5. Storytelling Tool 

When there is some big news, a political event, or anything else that requires a bit of a story behind it, carousel posts can be a game changer. With the implementation of the carousel feature, you can add much more depth to your posts and tell a greater story. 

@paulnicklen is an absolute expert when it comes to this. His photography is not only incredible, but the way he tells a story behind his images is incredible. 

You can also find all of the many news outlets around the globe using gallery posts to share stories about current events and notable things happening in and around many parts of the world. 

6. Tell Jokes

There are a wide range of accounts out there that use Instagram gallery posts to tell an array of jokes and create engaging and entertaining content that all works well together. 

Buzzfeed is a great example of this— they have used carousel posts to create a string of hilarious content about one particular topic. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by BuzzFeed (@buzzfeed)

You’ll want to keep your jokes or funny content in line with your brand image, but don’t forget that social media is about entertainment as well, so giving your followers something witty or enjoyable is always welcome. 

7. Behind the Scenes

People love to get the inside scoop and see what’s going on behind the scenes of brands and businesses.

You can use gallery posts to take your followers behind the scenes of your operation. 

You can post one great image and then show all of the steps that it took to get to that imatge, or even show off more images that give an inside look at what’s going on with your brand. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Marvel Entertainment (@marvel)

Marvel is a great example— they use their Instagram account to go behind the scenes of their films and show what’s happening with famous actors, like Chris Hemsworth, at different events and showcases. 

8. For Contests 

Everybody loves a good contest on Instagram, and using carousel posts for voting or more complex explanations of the contest rules can be valuable for brands and businesses wanting to drum up more engagement. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Teen Choice Awards (@teenchoicefox)

9. Share Memes 

Instagram users are huge fans of memes and love to share them amongst friends and see memes that are related to current events.

Remember that Bernie Sanders sitting on a chair meme? Brands took that and ran with it, creating a bunch of image carousels of the meme that related to their niche. 

You can implement this strategy to help add personality and humor to your account, just remember to keep it connected to your brand and overall image. 

10. To Inform 

With so much going on in the world today, using carousel posts to help inform people of news and events is ever-popular.

You can share information on how to help support different causes or also clarify any misinformation about there related to your brand or business. 

Show that your brand is active in your particular community by sharing information or events about what’s going on in connection to your market or industry. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Refinery29 (@refinery29)

11. Step-by-Step tutorials  

Another awesome way to use gallery posts is to include step-by-step tutorials that will engage your audience and get them checking out you more frequently. 

Buzzfeed Tasty are the pros at this— they offer the most enticing carousel posts with video to give users new ideas and inspiration about delicious recipes.

Their content is quick, well-made, and easy for users to follow. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Tasty (@buzzfeedtasty)

They frequently share step-by-step tutorials on their account, mainly using video but also including a mix of photos.

Take a look at their different tutorials and see just how effective Instagram carousel posts can be when you shoot your content the right way. 

Food tutorials aren’t the only ones to benefit from gallery posts— the beauty niche on Instagram is also a big creator of Instagram gallery posts for tutorials.

While beauty creators typically rely more on Instagram stories or IGTV, you may be able to break into a new content niche and take advantage of the carousel post. 

12. For User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is one of the best content types on Instagram, always gaining more engagement than other types of content. Use it in a carousel post to feature many users at once and boost your engagement. 

You can tag the users that provided you with the content and reach all of those users, making your followers feel special and appreciated as well as encouraging other users to engage with your brand.

The more you feature your users, the stronger your community will be and the more people will want to be a part of it. Consider doing a weekly feature. @hm also frequently does this to feature users who wear their clothes. 

13. Transformations

Popular in the fitness industry as well as the beauty industry, you can find creative ways to implement transformation using before and after photos and videos in gallery posts on Instagram.

Show your brand over the years, show how you’ve changed or updated your products, and more. People love to take a look at what was and what now is! 

14. Taking a Stand

Social media is no longer just about sharing your vacation photos— it’s a widely used platform to give a voice to many different issues going on around the globe.

With the emergence of hashtags like #metoo and #blm, you can use Instagram carousel posts to show your support of different issues and groups, keeping your account relevant to current events and also connecting with your audience and standing up for your brand’s core values. 

15. To Show How Your Product is Made 

Want to focus on how great your products are and how you get to the final result?

Give your followers some insight into how your products are made and what types of ingredients or materials are used. 

This helps users to identify with your brand and support things that align with their wants and/or needs. Carousel posts are a great way to feature how you create your products. 

Even if you’re an artist or content creator, you can easily show off how you made your final image or creation throughout the process of creation. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Teen Vogue (@teenvogue)

Pro Tips for Instagram Carousel Posts 

Instagram Carousel

Here are some final practical tips for creating top-performing Instagram carousel posts: 

  • You must create not just one great visual, but multiple. It doesn’t work if one of your photos is incredible but the rest are lackluster. You need consistency in your carousel photos. 
  • In addition to captivating visuals, you need to focus on the same types of strategies you would with other posts— hashtags and captioning. In captions, always use a call to action and try to drive engagement. 
  • In terms of hashtags, use a hashtag generator tool to find the best-performing hashtags for your niche and organize them into sets so that you can have a quick, go-to resource for posting the perfect hashtags for your carousel posts. 
  • Stay true to your brand and post content that you normally would; observe others in your industry and see what’s working for them, but don’t try to post something that’s out of brand identity just because it’s going well in another niche. 
  • Keep your content coming consistently so that users will see it more frequently and it will gain more traction against the Instagram algorithm, appearing often at the top of your followers’ feeds. 

Final Thoughts: How Companies Use Instagram Carousel Posts to Increase Engagement 

All in all, Instagram carousel ads and gallery posts have completely transformed the way we share photos and videos on Instagram.

You should most definitely take advantage of them to create more substantial content, connect with your followers, and boost engagement. 

You can use them via paid ad content and even on your own business profile in normal, everyday content.

Don’t forget about the above tips and try out some new things when you’re posting your gallery content. Aim for a specific theme or purpose in your Instagram Carousel ads for the best results! 

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Written by Eddie Hurst

I’m a full-time social media research specialist. Actually you could say I’m a bit obsessed. I seek out the latest information and hacks for our How-to Guides. As well as that, I put companies under the microscope for reviews.