Instagram has an advertising audience of more than 1.16 billion people, which offers dramatic reach for brands. 90 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business account. Naturally, the competition on the platform is cut-throat and fierce. Hence, the businesses keep looking for something appealing that connects more with the audience and helps them outshine. More often than not, it’s the little details that make a difference, like the decision of posting regular posts and Instagram carousels.
Instagram carousels have the highest engagement rate among every other Instagram post type. According to research from SocialInsider, carousels account for an average engagement rate of 1.92 percent. On the other hand, the standalone video posts and single-image posts achieve an average engagement rate of 1.45 percent and 1.74 percent respectively.
What’s more interesting is that as the carousel slides increase, the average engagement rate increases as well. It could be surprising for some, as the general notion is users might not be interested in swiping multiple times to see the full content. Contradictorily, carousels with ten images have the highest engagement rate, as shown in the graph above.
However, Instagram carousels are underused. As of July 2020, only 19 percent of Instagram content consists of carousels. Although it has substantially increased from 3-4 percent in 2017, there is still more scope for brand owners and account managers.
So, in this article, we will help you understand more about Instagram carousels and how you can use them to your business’s advantage. Let’s go!
What are Instagram Carousels?
You must have encountered posts on your Instagram feed where the post has tiny dots at the bottom, and you have to swipe left to see the following image. These are what Instagram carousels are.
Instagram carousels are posts where you can include more than one image or video. There are a series of images or even videos that are grouped in a sequence to make a post. You can view them by swiping left on the Instagram app or clicking on the arrow on the website. It’s just like flipping through a book or a magazine, only virtually. You can include as many as ten images or videos in a carousel.
It feels unfair to choose just one photo or video of a particular product or event to post on Instagram. If you want to do more, you have to post them as separate posts. It may mess up with your Instagram grid or might not get the same engagement. This is where Instagram carousels come in handy.
Carousels allow you to display variations in one post and allow you to include the element of storytelling in your posts. It looks like a slideshow. Although all the photos and videos are considered as a single post, you can edit each of them separately or put a common filter for all of them. However, you have to use a single caption and location for all of them. If you wish to put different captions, you can make another carousel post.
Why Choose Instagram Carousels Over Other Post Formats?
Instagram began with its single-image format. Over time, we got the facility of posting our content in different formats – stories, ads, videos, etc. You must have also read that videos are the most engaging kind of content format. Amidst such talks, you might wonder, “why should I spend time creating Instagram carousels and not other post content formats?”
Here is why –
- According to the 2021 Mention-HubSpot engagement report for Instagram, carousels are the most popular content formats after videos.
- Carousels are easier to create than videos. They require less time and fewer resources. Also, the editing part is more simplified.
- You can churn out carousels quickly since they are easy to design. You have to pick one template, which is relevant to your brand image. Once you get the skeleton for the post ready, all you need to do is change the text on each slide. Maintaining continuity is not a problem, and hence, carousels do not fail at engagement.
- While videos are a popular medium of sharing content, they need to be short and engaging. Otherwise, you may put your content at risk of losing engagement. Hence, sharing in-depth information in video format is not a sure-shot. With carousels, you can easily share in-depth information over ten posts. If you invest in quality editing and good storytelling, you may get more engagement.
Another vital reason why you should prioritize Instagram carousels is that the Instagram algorithm has its back. If a user does not interact with your post in any form and keeps on with their scrolling, Instagram shows them the following photo or video in your carousel post. This way, it encourages engagement for carousel posts.
How to Create Instagram Carousels?
#1 Start With a Concept
Begin by creating a base idea for your Instagram carousel post which should either be helpful or entertaining or both for your audience. At this stage, you need to keep two things in mind –
- Your concept should not be too long. You do not want to fill your slides with long sentences. Pick up a topic that you can explain within a few slides while keeping the breathing spaces.
- Similarly, your concept should not be too concise too. If you can put out the same value in one single post rather than creating five slides, a carousel is not a good idea.
However, if the topic you choose seems to be too long, you can break it down into two separate parts. Two carousels are better than one. Similarly, if the topic is too small, you can add facts, statistics, or examples to it.
#2 Develop a Short Script
Your Instagram carousel script needs to have three parts –
i. The Title – Hook
We hate to break it down to you, but “Never judge a book by its cover” is a hoax, especially in this digital age. Your followers are mindlessly scrolling their timelines. They are not short on content by any means. If your first slide fails to seek their attention, they will keep on with their browsing and not pay any attention to your carousel. Ensure your first slide has a captivating title and a strong hook that persuades your audience to swipe to the next slide.
Your job has just begun. If you want your audience to go through the last slide of your carousel, your content needs to be compelling. The goals of every slide should be to provide value to your audience and persuade them to swipe through the consecutive slides. It helps when you bind your post through a story.
iii. The Final Slide – CTA
If you succeed at bringing your audience to the last slide of your Instagram carousel, you now need to tell them what to do next. Hence, your last slide should include a compelling CTA that induces your audience to take an action.
According to statistics, adding personalized CTAs are likely to convert 42% more visitors into leads than untargeted CTAs. Therefore, add relevant CTAs to your post. You can ask users to like, comment, share your carousel post, or request them to tag a friend, save the post, or hit the notification bell icon.
#3 Be Specific About Design
The design part should be easy if you already have an established Instagram presence. Be consistent with the same design guidelines as you were using in your previous posts. However, if you do not have a brand guideline, make one from scratch.
Ensure all the slides have your brand elements in the right position, such as brand logo, Instagram handle, website, and page number. Consider creating custom logo designs that fully represent your brand and its values. Keeping the design elements the same in your post is a win to create an aesthetic grid. Moreover, it helps users remember your brand. Your design defines the personality of your brand.
#4 Add Caption and Include Hashtags
This goes for every Instagram post – be it a carousel or single-image post. Captions help you explain your post better. They also allow you to deflect from your brand voice and be a little more personal with your audience. Use it to your advantage by describing the core idea of the carousel from your perspective.
Instagram hashtags are the final ingredient to your carousel post. They are vital because they help your carousel reach a new audience. While there is a school of thought that believes carousels generate very little engagement from hashtags, they do not harm your engagement too.
Carousel posts are the most versatile post format – you can share your brand story or post a throwback to an event or showcase your product with different angles. If done right, they can generate positive engagement and enhance your brand presence on Instagram.
To use Instagram more effectively and proactively, use Mentionlytics to equip your business marketing strategy with social media monitoring tools. Track mentions about your brand with us in real-time and prevents social media flaming and reputation crisis.
We hope this Instagram carousel guide was informative and helpful for you. If yes, we’d love to hear back from you!