“This device isn’t a spaceship. It’s a time machine… It’s not called the wheel. It’s called the carousel ad.”
Anyone who loves advertising and marketing knows all about Mad Men.
Remember when the show broke everyone’s heart, as Don Draper gave his best-ever pitch?
Carousel ads are Facebook trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to advertising.
It’s not too much of a stretch to say that they’ve actually gone and done just that. According to Facebook, they’ve seen figures of up to 20-30% lower cost-per-click, and 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion than with traditional single-image ads.
What’s more, Kinetic Social found that Carousel ads can drive up to 10 times more traffic to advertisers’ site than the traditional-style static sponsored posts in Facebook right-hand column.
The bottom line is that marketers absolutely HAVE to master Carousel if they want their business to be where it should be.
Where the Carousel ad format really pays off is when you tell a story… the kind of story the boys on Madison Avenue would be proud of.
So, we hope you’re paying attention.
We’re going to give you 7 smart uses for Facebook Carousel ads, so that you can get the most out of your marketing efforts when you use this diverse ad format.
These are clever ways of using Carousel, and not just because they let you show off a ton of different images or videos.
They’re clever because they get the audience involved, and more importantly, they’ve been proven to drive conversions.
What is Carousel?
Carousel ads are a Facebook-native ad format, that’s also available for Instagram.
They consist of 3 or more (up to a total of 10) images or videos, headlines, links or calls to action in a single ad unit.
Facebook’s investing a lot in mobile, and you can tell this through Carousel: the ad format works really well on mobile platforms, where users can swipe through the cards.
As for desktop, users go through the images by clicking on the left or right arrows.
Now you know what the format is, let’s move on to the 7 smart uses you can try today for Facebook Carousel Ads.
1. Show off a single product
A great place to start using Carousel is to show off a single product.
Now it doesn’t matter what that single product is… it could be something as small as a watch, or a pair of shoes, or even…
Something as big as a car.
Think about it: Carousel ads are the perfect place to take users on a journey through every aspect of a product. They can showcase it from every angle, show potential customization options, and highlight its best features, either through static images or video.
Take a look at how Mini leveraged Carousel to show off their Hardtop 4 Door:
For my money, they’ve nailed it here.
What makes this ad so good? Well…
- The images are on-point: high quality, with a really smart use of color.
- It takes the user on a journey through the car, from steering wheel to trunk.
- Close-up shots of particular features demonstrate the car’s quality.
- Each card takes the user to a landing page.
This is a great example of an ad doing the basics well: they’ve let their product do the talking, and have the user enough to look at without overloading them with too much information.
The best thing about this Carousel style is that you can apply it to any product, in any industry.
So that’s the first smart use of Facebook Carousel ads: display a centerpiece product, loud and proud, making it visually stunning.
2. Show off multiple products or styles
Multiple images for one product is great.
One image for multiple products is just as good.
That’s the second smart use (read: insider tactic) I want to talk about.
If you’re a retailer, or you’ve got an Ecommerce site, or a travel business, or basically anything that sells multiple products, Carousel should be your go-to.
Why? Well, like you already know, you’ve got 10 slots, for either images or videos. That means you can show off anywhere up to 10 products.
These can be items in the same category, or different items across your catalog.
It’s an ingenious way to create a multi-product ad.
Take a look how MVMT Watches used Carousel to show off their three most popular styles for users to choose from:
Pretty slick, right?
We really like these. We like the artistic camera focus, the consistent wood background, and the way the different watches are placed in exactly the same position.
It’s a really good way to show off individual styles and maintaining a brand tone at the same time.
Now take a look at how Foodpanda show their menu off:
They went for something slightly different – and it worked – to show off the variety of what they offer. Each background suits the particular dish that’s being shown off.
Something to think about here is setting the cards up to be arranged automatically.
When you use Carousel, you can give Facebook the freedom to place the best-performing image or video at the start of the ad. That way, you can know for sure that viewers will see the most successful creative first.
What’s more, you can use the data of what performs best as the basis for market research.
You can have that last tactic on the house.
3. Create a panoramic photo
Remember what we said about how you can use Carousel to tell a story?
Well, the next smart use of Facebook Carousel ads is all about that.
Now this one’s a particular favorite of ours. You can split one larger, longer image into sections, one section for each card, to create a beautiful panoramic Carousel ad.
Treat this as storytelling – the first card has to be interesting and they have to learn something interesting by the end.
Tieks have used this principle, and then innovated on top of that. Can you see what’s special about their take on the Carousel?
For our money, they’ve nailed it.
Here you’ve got one panoramic image of their ballet flat.
They’ve used the same, main background image, but each card highlights a particular feature as the user travels down the shoe. Now how good is that?
The first card hooks the user in, and kicks off the product story. By the time they’ve gotten to the end, the user’s learnt about the shoe’s best features. The final card then seals the deal by taking them to the Tieks site.
How about this, up next:
To promote the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Xbox created an image of the main character, Lara Croft, handing off a cliff face.
Not only are the visuals stunning, but the use of an integrated CTA on the last tile, rather one in a completely different style, is really smooth.
Think about Carousel’s versatility, and how you can mix and match the different Carousel uses.
Just make sure that if you do go for a panorama-style image, that you crop the image into segments with a 1:1 aspect ratio, with images around 600×600 pixels.
That’s the image ratio supported by this ad format, and it’s the most effective.
4. Create a how-to guide
If you make a claim about your product, you’ve got to back it up.
Why not double-up, and go for a two-in-one?
By creating a mini how-to-guide, you can show your product off and tell a story. By doing that, you’ll paint your brand in a really good light.
TYME Style’s done exactly that, for a product that’s also a two-in-one, funnily enough: a curling iron and hair straightener.
They wanted to show users how to create beautiful curls in 10 minutes (or less, according to them at least), so they decided to show the three steps, on three different cards, creating a kind of before-and-after, how-to, Carousel ad hybrid.
The result is really effective.
Another great little feature of this ad is how the final card, a CTA, integrates the steps of curling hair with the button that leads to their site.
See how versatile this ad format is?
One of the smartest ways to leverage Carousel ads is to do exactly what TYME’s ad did here: get creative by using multiple styles of Carousel ad to your advantage.
You can use a how-to guide to explain:
- The steps to take advantage of a promotion
- What a product does (meanwhile keeping your eye on your objective – SELLING THE PRODUCT!)
- How to sign up for your business’ white papers or industry reports
5. Tell users your brand’s story
Speaking of mixing-and-matching, here’s another example of a brand nailing the two-in-one.
The next smart use for Facebook Carousel ads that I want to share with you is a great way to both boost your brand and showcase your products.
We’re talking about creating a brand story, so your users can get to know your brand, and, at the same time, some of your products.
Pura Vida sell artisan, hand-made bracelets made in Costa Rica.
A lot of the brand’s appeal lies in its identity, in the way the brand looks – which makes sense, especially given that they sell jewelry!
They created a Carousel to use their brand identity to their advantage.
Take a look at what they came up with:
According to Facebook, orders increased by a factor of 4, which is crazy.
They used a mix of lifestyle photos (which are really effective for this ad format), images of Costa Rican beach life, as well as a really appealing close-up thrown in the mix.
For your brand story, you can use images of:
- Your core values
- Your main inspirations
- Your office
- Your employees and customers interacting
- Where your products are made (that’s the Pura Vida way)
6. Share your business’ great content
So what if you don’t sell a product, but a service?
For example, say your business creates a ton of content. You need people to consume it.
You can just as easily use Carousel ads to demonstrate the benefits of using your service, as well as to showcase your brand, or sell your products.
The next example we’ll show you comes from Texture, or rather Next Issue, as it used to be known. Let’s take a look at what they did:
Texture – basically the Netflix of magazines – advertised their different available titles on a series of cards.
Not only did they offer access to a wide range of titles, but they combined that with the offer of a free trial, designed to entice users to sign up.
They knew that once users were signed up, they’d be able to retarget them later on down the line.
Another smart example of a non-product take on the Carousel ad format was created by Precision Nutrition:
They used four cards to promote three articles from their site, all about healthy eating for athletes.
According to Facebook, they achieved 6,000 newsletter signups, and a 50% decrease in cost-per-lead and a 50% increase in click-through rate compared to single-image link ads.
Talk about effective.
So think about how you could promote your service through a Carousel ad:
- A small, local coffee shop could share a panoramic image of their shop, with a discount code for visitors
- A subscription service could offer a discount on their monthly rate after a user clicks through
7. Combine Carousel with your product feed
If you’ve got a unique product line, or you’ve got different kinds of the same product, Facebook has recently launched an objective called Catalog Sales.
To use this tactic, you need to combine the Carousel ad format with the Catalog Sales objective.
This is mainly aimed at Ecommerce websites, with a huge inventory. Of course it’s not possible to create unique ads for hundreds, or thousands of products. Or rather is possible, but think of the time cost…
The other challenge is that some products will be in stock, and some won’t. You’d need to keep track of everything.
Manually, this is a huge task. It’s time-consuming and inefficient.
So, the final smart use for the Carousel format that I’ll go over is to combine the Carousel format with your product feed.
Your product feed is just a file that has a list of products, with their ID and other values (which, if you’re an Ecommerce store, you should already have). That file, either a .CSV file or an Excel spreadsheet, will form the basis of these Carousel ads.
By linking that product feed file to your Facebook ad account, and then, in Ads Manager, to the Carousel format, it can automatically build the ads for you.
This has the potential to be a really useful weapon in your digital marketing arsenal, as long as you can use it correctly.
It’s the kind of industry insight that you won’t find anywhere else.
Carousel ads aren’t just about selling a product.
Hopefully we’ve made it clear throughout this article that they’re about much, much more than that.
We’re not saying that they’re not good for selling individual products: quite the opposite actually. What we are saying is that they’re diverse enough to be used for a variety of purposes, from creating gorgeous panoramic product stories to multi-media brand story features.
We hope this article’s given you some ideas, both creative and practical, of some really smart uses for Facebook Carousel ads.
Be strategic, and be creative. Carousel is simple and versatile, and it’s got huge marketing potential.