Instagram carousels are not a new feature, and were first introduced to Instagram in 2017. So why bring them up now? They’ve regained relevance in 2022 because of engagement trends, signaling a change in how users on Instagram are behaving and consuming content.
While the rule of social media marketing is often that content is king, we have to remember that a king cannot rule without his advisors, chief among them being data. And data shows that Instagram carousels are currently netting greater engagement in terms of clicks, comments, likes, and saves alike.
If you have been diligently using social media to market your business online, then leveraging the potential for growth through carousel ads and carousel posts should definitely be on your to-do list for early 2022. Here are a few important tips and pointers.
What are Instagram Carousels?
Instagram carousels are album posts that contain as many as ten different slides or cards, either one of which can be an image or a video.
Instagram has been letting people upload video and image posts in album form for years now, and it seems the data is showing that carousel posts are becoming one of the best ways to drive up engagement around your brand on the app.
Some key statistics account managers and marketers should know: profiles with less than 10,000 followers have the best engagement when posting more carousels, while the best performing medium for accounts between 10,000 and 100,000 followers was video.
But for accounts larger than that, at 100,000 and more, things switched back over to favoring carousel engagement – with an average engagement of 1.40 percent, versus about 1.1 percent on image and video posts.
In other words: carousel posts benefit the smallest and largest accounts the most.
When posting an Instagram carousel of your own, here are a couple important limitations to keep in mind for feeds:
- Video cards can be up to 120 seconds in duration.
- Each card has a maximum file size limit of 30 MB.
- The uploaded image should be JPG or PNG.
- Carousel posts can be anywhere from 2 to 10 cards.
- The aspect ratio for each card should be 1:1.
- Ideal resolution for image cards is 1080 x 1080 or higher.
- Text density matters. More than 20 percent text may lead to reduced ad delivery to customers.
- Maximum text length is 2200 characters.
On the other hand, here are important considerations when setting up your carousel posts for stories:
- The aspect ratio of your post should be 9:16 (vertical), 16:9 (horizontal), or 4:5.
- Image and video resolution should be at least 1080 x 1920.
- Video cards can be up to 15 seconds in duration.
Why You Should Bother with Instagram Carousels
The main reason carousel posts are more interesting for Instagram profiles moving into 2022 is that they bring in more impressions, more likes, more comments, and are more likely to be saved than other posts, especially if you use all ten cards or slides.
Even for accounts with anywhere between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, carousel posts were still more competitive than normal image posts at an average of 2.01 percent impressions versus 1.76 percent.
And even more importantly, carousel posts average the highest engagement per impression regardless of profile size. This means that no matter how large or small your profile is, you have the best chance of generating a conversation with your followers through a carousel post.
But Instagram is gearing up to become much more than just a place for people to share pictures and videos from their family vacations. Instagram is gearing up to enable platform-wide ecommerce through small and large online retailers alike, and further empower advertisers to promote and sell their products on the app.
Building your profile in 2022 means laying the foundation for a stronger customer base as Instagram grows into a marketplace of its own.
Get the Basics Right
At the end of the day, creating a good Instagram post to promote your brand is still a matter of understanding and mastering the fundamentals – even if they’re spread across ten cards.
That means writing good copy, making sure it’s clean and proofread, finding a readable font and size to work with, following the ad specs, and keeping things short and sweet. This is before we get to the actual design and content of the post itself – which, of course, is just as crucial.
A good carousel post is one that not only stays true to the fundamentals of good design and readability but introduces flow while maintaining uniqueness per slide.
One update Instagram made to their carousel feature was that if a user scrolled past one slide on your carousel post or ad without engaging with it, the next time it would show up on their feed they would see another slide.
This would increase your chance of making an impact on users – and helps explain why carousel posts have a much higher engagement average than other types of posts. Unlike single images and video, a carousel posts nets you as many as ten different opportunities to make a new first impression on the same user, with the same post.
But that means you can’t have any given post looking completely nonsensical out of context. The art in creating a good carousel post is that you need a flow of posts that make sense individually, but still encourage readers or viewers to slide through the cards and get to the call of action. Here are a few great examples.
Let Your Content Breathe
It’s important not to try and see this as an opportunity to cram more information into a brand-new format – instead, see the expanded format as an opportunity for the same amount of information to be presented in a better, more entertaining, more interesting way.
It’s very easy to lose your readers if you cram too much into your carousel post.
Carousel posts have been around for a while, but Instagram’s changes to the way they’re presented, as well as increased potential for long-term growth and results means that you should be leveraging them this year to make the most of your profile.
Let us help you spruce up your Instagram account, and get your brand the kind of online representation it deserves.