Swipe For More (Impressions): The Benefits of Carousels on Instagram

In 2017, Instagram rolled out the ability for users to share multiple photos or graphics in one post. Since then, individuals and brands have been determining how these carousel posts best fit into their social media strategy amidst the algorithmic shifts and Meta’s guidance on the perfect post mix. 

Even now, with so much hot debate around reels vs. photos and the perfect media mix for your brand, the question remains: Is it truly better to post a carousel than a video or singular photo post? 

Though we know that the algorithms and features behind these platforms are ever-shifting, at the time of writing this, the answer is simple. 

If content and resourcing allow, posting a carousel over a reel or singular photo post will better set a page up for metrics success.

Double the Metrics, Double the Fun 

Here at True Anthem, we dug into the data so you don’t have to. Looking across our customer base, we found that carousel posts not only receive twice as many impressions, on average, but their Engagement Rate is 1.6x higher than singular photo posts as well.

Additionally, looking beyond our own customer base at the social media landscape as a whole, carousels that mix images with videos bring in the highest Engagement Rates of any type of Instagram post—on average 2.33% higher. When making use of all ten slides available, the average Engagement Rate per carousel is over 2%.

But before you work to make every post a ten slide tale, consider if this format works for your brand. No matter the format of the messaging, the content itself should come first.

The Algorithm Has Your Back 

The reason behind the above metrics is an easy one. While singular photo posts only appear once in the feeds of followers, carousel posts can appear twice.

If a user follows an Instagram account and scrolls past a carousel post without giving the post a like or a save, they will find that it appears again in their home feed, this time with the second slide visible first. (So also make sure to avoid spoilers or graphics that can’t stand alone for carousel post number two!) 

Essentially, the algorithm is giving the post an additional chance at engagement and bolstering impression metrics. 

Deepening Your Story with Carousels on Instagram

Even beyond the algorithmic “hack” of a carousel, these albums have quite the list of benefits. 

The ability to share up to 10 slides offers brands the opportunity for a richer storytelling canvas, more space to unfold narratives or unveil new products, or even provide in-depth news reports within a single post. 

So, yes, embracing carousels will enable users to not only capitalize on Instagram’s algorithmic mechanics but can also unlock a dynamic medium for sharing compelling narratives and fostering deeper engagement with followers. 

In fact, in our study from February 6th, 2024, to May 6th, 2024, only 8% of True Anthem’s customer Instagram posts were carousels, despite the fact that these had the highest Engagement Rate of all the post types. There is certainly room for opportunity here, both within True Anthem’s customer base and beyond. 

That being said, and as previously mentioned, content is king. If your content doesn’t fit into this format, forcing or overusing carousels is not the answer. 

With this knowledge, consider how carousels can best fit into your media mix, and use the curiosity of your followers (and the algorithm) to keep your audience swiping. 

If you’re reviewing your social media strategy and need help with the next steps, reach out to True Anthem today for a free demo.

Share this post

Sign up to get our insights, best practices, and social media news delivered straight to your inbox.

Get data-based social guidance straight to you for free.

True Anthem Dashboard in action

Things you’ll find in your inbox:

  • Tips, tricks, and best practices
  • Social media news
  • Case studies
  • Data-focused publishing guidance
We use data to provide tips, tricks and guidelines to build the best social media strategy you can possibly build.