Tell a deeper story with Carousel ads on Facebook and Instagram

With social media advertising becoming increasingly important, it’s vital to look at how you can deliver the most effective proposition for your business. With nearly 80% of social media time being spent on mobile devices[1], it’s important for small businesses to think about how their ads are positioned to compete in the current social media landscape. Their ads have to achieve more on a smaller screen and make their brand stand out from the crowd – Carousel ads allow you to do just that.  This style of ads look great on the desktop platform, but where they really excel is within the world of mobile, allowing brands to build a deeper story with users swiping, connecting and interacting with your brand on multiple levels.


What is a Carousel ad?

The carousel ad format, currently available on Facebook and Instagram platforms, allows the advertiser to showcase up to ten images or videos within a single ad, each with its own link. So Carousel ads provide advertisers with more space, interactivity and flexibility – and with more creative space within the advert. Advertisers can highlight different products, showcase specific details about one product, service or promotion, or even tell a story about a brand that develops across each carousel card[2]. Below are some examples.


Show multiple products

It’s a great idea to give customers more options and encourage them to purchase by showing a different product on each carousel card, with links to different landing pages.  This type of Carousel ad is widely used by clothes retailers showcasing their new collections. A really good example is an ad showing 9 different outfits, each linking to their own landing page, with the 10th carousel card underlining the brand message with a call to action to visit their site for more products.


Highlight different features of a single product

You can use each carousel card to show the same product from different angles or include more details to better inform customers.  This is used widely within the travel industry, where one can take a ‘virtual tour’ around the latest holiday cottage or hotel added to their collection.


Tell a story

Using images or videos in succession can illustrate a compelling narrative and Carousel ads deliver an outstanding opportunity to sell a story.  Many charities are adopting this approach, giving them the opportunity to tell the story of the people they help and the benefits they bring along with a call to action to ‘donate now’.


Explain a process

For businesses with complex products or services, Carousel ads are a great opportunity to give people a step-by-step tour of how your business works. It’s possible to walk users through either the detail or the highlights and give them a strong call to action to capture their data. New-to-market technology, where awareness of what or how a product performs is not widely understood, is a really good example of the utility of a Carousel ad.


Carousel ads for Instagram stories

Due to the success of carousel ads on the Facebook and Instagram platforms, Instagram are currently conducting beta testing which will bring carousel ads to Instagram stories.

Carousel ads for Instagram Stories behave the same way as other Stories content, meaning you can tap through, swipe back and forth, and pause the content whenever you like. However, selected global advertisers can now have up to three pieces of media per Stories ad, whereas before, it was just one[3]. By adding the two additional pieces of media, advertisers can add depth to their storytelling in the same way the rest of the community does today.  With 100% of all content consumed on mobile it’s an easy fit into the Instagram portfolio.

Gap (@gap) is one brand already taking advantage of the beta, tapping into carousel ads for Instagram Stories to incorporate native elements – such as pinning and drawing tools – and using the additional space to highlight more of their campaign.

‘The captivating nature of Instagram Stories provides another platform for our consumers to experience the logo remix campaign. The campaign is all about paying homage to Gap logos of the past, while featuring some of today’s global culture remixers. We love using Instagram’s creative tools to add fun details to our creative, and the full-screen format of Instagram Stories makes it feel like you’re part of the remix.’[4]

Craig Brommers, Chief Marketing Officer, Gap


For now it’s only available to a select number of brands operating globally, but you can expect to see this rolled out to the wider community sometime in the near future.


Make Carousel the standard

Carousel ads bring fun, engaging and creative content with multiple places for users to click. They’re the perfect showcase for promoting your business’ story, products, and services and should be a strong contender of ad format for any business wanting to promote themselves online.  Regardless of which platform you are looking to advertise on, bet on Carousel ads and deliver a greater story for your business.