Instagram’s carousel format can now include more posts, be used outside of ads

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Instagram is extending the number of photos and videos that brands can include in their slideshow-like carousel ads and opening up the format to organic posts, the Facebook-owned company announced on Wednesday.

As the update rolls out to iOS and Android users over the next few weeks, advertisers and regular accounts will be able to pick up to 10 photos and videos to include in a single post that people can swipe through horizontally. While both groups will be able to pick out the order of the photos and videos in a carousel post or ad, advertisers have the option to leave the ordering up to Instagram, whose technology will sort the content based on performance from highest to lowest.

ESPN’s @sportscenter account used the carousel format in an organic post earlier today. And the example shows how closely the format resembles Instagram’s Story format, which it cribbed from Snapchat last year but which Instagram has not incorporated within its traditional main feed.

Swipe to watch through the top 10 plays of the first half of the NBA season.

A post shared by SportsCenter (@sportscenter) on Feb 22, 2017 at 8:00am PST

There is a trade-off when including multiple photos or videos in a carousel: no landscape photos or vertical videos. For now, included photos or videos can only appear in Instagram’s traditional square format.

To make it easier to identify carousel posts on an account’s profile page, Instagram will add an icon to the posts’ thumbnails to label them, like it does with video posts.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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