As social media evolves and the competition for user apps is always heating up, users benefit from new features that are added by the major players. Instagram figures to continue to be a major player as it is owned by Facebook. But since popularity also has responsibility connected to it, creating upgrades and adding new features is a must.
Instagram has release a new feature called Carousel. At the heart of Instagram is the ability for its users to upload visual images to make others aware of their personal brand or product line. This has its limitations and challenges, as it takes a great amount of creativity to continually reinvent your products or brand with a single image. The idea that a picture is worth 1,000 words is still true, but in the world of digital marketing a single picture may not accurately reflect your product or brand.
What is Instagram Carousel?
- Carousel is the ability to tell a more complete story with multiple photos and video in a single post.
- Within one post you’re able to swipe between multiple images.
- By combining several images, you can show a progressive thought or idea.
- The new feature is being tested and may not be a permanent option.
- It’s very similar to Ads but is more geared towards the everyday user, not advertisers.
The increasing use of Instagram by businesses required more than its basic “one picture tells all” approach. Businesses needed more flexibility in advertising, while customers were looking for more information about a product or service once they viewed the Instagram ad. A solution was needed to meet the needs of both while not losing focus of what Instagram is all about.
The solution comes to users in the new addition called Carousel. This new function is much what it sounds like – the ability for businesses to upload a series of sequenced pictures that users can view by swiping left on their mobile device. The new feature allows you to have a sequence of upto 10 images and one video per post. This is a great way for users to tell a more complete story within a single post. For businesses using Instagram, this feature is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Whether it is a single image, a video, or text, the basic idea behind advertising is to sell your product or service by telling a story. The sequenced images allow businesses to tell the story in a controlled manner and give interested viewers the opportunity to learn more. Instagram likens the new Carousel feature to multi-page print campaign advertisements.
What is added to the mix that print media cannot duplicate is a direct link to the company website that is embedded in the Carousel image sequence. That increases traffic for the website or landing page with the potential of more sales of the same or similar products. People browsing through Instagram are able to skip the sequential ads by scrolling past them.
Instagram wants everyone to know that this feature will be available for a limited time, and is subject to changes in the way it works. So the final version is yet to be decided on as the company accumulates feedback from its users and decides on its long term future.
So the first question businesses should be asking is whether changing their marketing plan to accommodate or include Carousel is a practical move. The short answer is “no” since Instagram has not made a firm commitment to the feature, brands and businesses should still be using Carousel Ads as part of their Advertising efforts. There is the possibility of converting existing multi-page print ads to the Carousel format, which should not require much time or effort. But creating new ads or deciding to add the Instagram platform solely on the basis of its possibilities is discouraged.
For some companies, the creation of Carousel is an opportunity to evaluate their current marketing and advertising approaches and ask whether or not their media messages are indeed telling a story. Carousel is not designed to be a catalog of products for a business but the means to make a clearer and more detailed sales message available to users.
Objectively, Carousel is an enhancement, not an innovation. It is a mini-slideshow that can be easily accessed and viewed on your smartphone. There are other types of media – video and slideshows – that do the same job. The difference is that Instagram is making the feature available on its platform, which currently has more than 600 million users and is guaranteed to grow your likes per post even more.
Finally, avoid twisting your advertising plan into a pretzel by trying to adopt Carousel into your current scheme. Your product or service may be just fine telling a story in a single image. Your sales may be skyrocketing because you chose Instagram’s single image platform. Should Carousel evolve into a final product with additional features and a long term commitment, you can add it as a safe play for your long term marketing strategy.