According to a recent study, posts on Instagram are likely to be more successful if they contain a carousel – versus a single photo or video.
Socialinsider examined over 22 million Instagram posts, of which nearly 3 million were carousels.
In addition to finding carousels generate the most engagement, the study breaks down what the top performing carousel posts have in common.
Given that Instagram carousels allow for up to 10 photos or videos, finding the right balance of media to include can be challenging.
The data in this study can assist marketers with constructing more effective Instagram carousel posts.
Also – is it really necessary to tell folks to swipe left?
Here are some of the key findings.
Instagram Carousels At a Glance
Instagram carousels are growing in popularity.
In 2017, 3 to 4% of Instagram content consisted of carousel posts, compared to 19% in July 2020.
Carousels have an average engagement rate per post of 1.92%, compared to 1.74% for images and 1.45% for videos.
The engagement rate per post goes over 2% when all 10 carousel slides are used.
However, most carousels have between 2 to 4 slides.
Only 6% of carousels are maxed out at 10 slides.
Does the number of slides correlate with engagement?
Out of the nearly 3 million carousels studied, it was found those with 10 slides generate the highest engagement rate.
Engagement drops off after three slides, though interestingly picks up again at 8 slides and above.
According to the data – if you’re going to post a carousel with more than 3 slides, you might as well go all out and make it 8-10.
Is it okay to mix images and videos in a carousel?
A combination of images and videos in the same carousel is found to generate the highest engagement rate per post (2.33%).
Carousels with mixed content are severely under-utilized, with only 7% of carousels containing both images and videos.
In comparison, 88% of carousels contain only images and 4% contain only videos.
So mixed content carousels seem to be a lesser known tactic marketers can use to increase engagement on Instagram.
Even carousels with only videos are found to produce a slightly higher engagement rate than images alone (1.86% vs 1.80%).
Another interesting statistic about video carousels on Instagram is that they generate significantly more comments.
Carousels that have only videos receive a median number of 26 comments per post.
Carousels with mixed content have a median number of 16 comments per post.
That leaves carousels with only images as the least engaging in terms of comments – a median of 7 per post.
All data so far points to mixed content carousels being the most effective at generating engagement.
So the next time you’re posting a carousel to Instagram try to include at least one video.
Related: 30 Instagram Facts You Need to Know
Telling People to “Swipe Left” on Instagram Carousels
Is it redundant to tell people “swipe left” on a carousel? Or does it actually help?
According to the study, carousels with messages that encourage users to swipe left really do perform better.
Telling people to swipe left on a carousel can bring the average engagement rate from 1.83% to 2%.
This is another under-utilized tactic, as only 5% of carousels contain “swipe left” messaging.
For more data on Instagram carousels, see the full study here.