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Exclusive Data on Instagram Carousels: How Well Do They Work?

Among the 500 largest Instagram Brand, Media, and Celebrity profiles in our analysis, 40% of Media, 24% of Celebrities, and 42% of Brand profiles published their first carousel post within the first week of the content format becoming available! (Marketers should always be testing new formats to see how they perform.)

In the following weeks, the vast majority of these profiles incorporated carousel posts into their Instagram content strategies. This was especially true for Media profiles, of which 88% have already published at least one carousel by the end of May. And the share would increase if we narrowed our sample to the 100 largest media profiles.

While there are few profiles among the sets of top 500 that have not adopted this format yet, carousel posts won’t outpace the volume of published images and videos anytime soon. The volume of video posts remains more or less the same, and the share of carousel posts for Media and Brand profiles is just around 4.3%; Celebrities publish carousel posts even less often. 

On average, Celebrity profiles publish only 0.38 carousels per week, Brands publish 0.76 carousel posts, and Media - despite being the traditionally most active on social - publish only 1.7 carousels per week.

Carousel Integration into Content Strategy

Most commonly, brands use carousels to reveal additional details about what is pictured in the first image of the carousel post (a product or a service, say). But we have seen a few very creative examples that go beyond that.

Gulf Bank uses the carousel to address a wider audience, publishing in both English and Arabic. Retailers often list special offers and make carousels the equivalent to printed leaflets. And the most engaging carousel so far shows off the new soccer jerseys of French club AS Monaco (published by Nike Football).

Carousel Adoption by VerticalThe carousel format has been the most popular among Finance brands, who deliver 9% of their Instagram posts using the new format. Surprisingly, Beauty brands have adopted carousels the least, with just over 2% of their posts in the carousel format - even though 76% of Beauty brands have already created at least one carousel post.

Carousel Content Performance

Looking at performance in terms of total interactions (Comments and Likes), carousel posts perform better than single video posts but surprisingly worse than single images. This is a positive for marketers as it is less resource intensive to create a carousel (string of images) than to create a video.

And no matter the post type, users tend to interact the most with Fashion brands on Instagram. When it comes to carousels, Fashion carousels receive an average of more than 48,000 interactions.

The Takeaway

Instagram carousel posts offer marketers an alternative way to show users the bigger picture. Instagram has been an image-based platform for the majority of its lifespan and users have become used to interacting with image content.

Our data shows that this behavior hasn’t changed. Although videos allow you to show your audiences more, they haven’t had the effect on Instagram that they had on other platforms. With this data in mind, marketers need to reconsider their content strategy and start building platform-specific content.

Aside from understanding the data, marketers need to employ tools that will help them measure their performance in real-time to understand what content types work best for their audience at any given moment. Especially considering that, at this moment, Instagram hasn’t offered the key metrics for carousels and videos yet; metrics such as completion rate, average view rate or metrics related to the length of carousels that are key performance indicators.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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