You’re considering hopping on the Facebook Carousel Ads bandwagon—but you’re a little stuck.
Do they work? Why would you use carousels over the other ad types? What do you do with all that extra real estate?
It can take a lot of work to convert video or image assets so that they fit the carousel format.
But it’s 100% worth it.
We’ll tell you why Facebook Carousel Ads are an amazing ad type to take advantage of, what the best practices are, and give you 10 of the best, creative examples so that you can see, when done right, carousel ads are crazy effective (and fun). Plus, we’ve included the one secret to success when it comes to carousel ads.
Get brand new Facebook ad strategies straight to your inbox every week. 23,739 people already are!
What are Facebook carousel ads?
The carousel ad format allows you to show 2-10 images or videos in a single ad, each with its own headline, description, and link that you can customize in Ads Manager. Your audience will be able to swipe or click through the cards displayed in your carousel ad. You can use carousel ads in almost all available ad placements, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network.
Carousel ads allow you more creative real estate within an ad, giving you the chance to highlight different products, dive into details about your product or service, or tell a continuous story across each carousel card. In addition to having a range of supported ad objectives, there are specific ad specs, including specific aspect ratios, for carousel ads you’ll want to note before getting started.
What is the difference between a carousel ad and a slideshow ad?
Carousel ads sound deceivingly similar to slideshow ads, which are another available Facebook ad format.
Both ad types can show viewers a process, demonstrate how your product works step-by-step, highlight your brand or product advantages, or tell a story through a series of images. However, slideshow ads are essentially video ads that compile 2-15 images, whereas carousel ads can showcase up to 10 images or videos through interactive swiping.
The key difference between the two ad types lies in user experience. Consider how you want your target audience to interact with the variety of ad creative you present to them: do you want them to actively swipe through images or videos to learn about your business or product, or do you want them to watch a video slideshow that tells the story for them? Carousel ads inherently prompt your audience to an action (through swiping), which can help make the ad experience much more memorable, and lead them down the conversion funnel.
Why should you use Facebook carousel ads?
Carousel ads are a great opportunity. Here’s why:
Easy engagement opportunity
Carousel ads provoke user interactivity just based on their design.
Interactive feature = engagement. Engagement = a win.
You can think about engagement in levels of effort.
Low-level engagement (easiest):
- Watch a video
- Browsing through carousel slides
Mid-level engagement (a little more effort):
- Liking a post
- Commenting on a post
- Sharing a post
Top-level engagement (most effort):
- Clicking-through an ad
- Submitting a form
Browsing through carousel slides, from a Facebook user perspective, is harmless. They’re not committing, they don’t have to give away information–they’re just curious.
And that, my friends, is the key.
Use your Facebook Carousel ads to incite curiosity. Some will indeed click-through or buy, but for those who just swipe through, don’t just let them go. Turn the engagers into a retargeting audience. They're clearly interested, so stay top of mind.
Can be lower cost than other ad types
The Facebook algorithm uses audiences’ scrolling behavior on carousel ads as an indicator of interest. The more people that show interest in your carousel ad by interacting with it, the better that Facebook can target Facebook users who are also likely to engage with it.
The easier Facebook can find your audience, the better results you’ll have, and the cheaper your ads will be.
Carousel ads, on average, lead to better conversion rates than single-image link ads, which can also help you lower costs on your social media ad budget.
Easy to show different dimensions of your product or service
Carousels can help you zero in on the details of your product or service so that audiences can understand it more closely. You can share different angles, details, or features on each carousel card so potential customers can get more familiar with what you’re offering (this is especially helpful if you’re selling a complex or innovative product and want to boost recognition).
You can highlight multiple products
Show off your range of products across your carousel, and link each carousel card to product landing pages so that audiences can click-through to buy and explore all your products. But then you can loop them in by putting your best products in the
Creative way to explain processes and benefits
If you primarily sell a service or software, you can use carousel ads to give a step-by-step explanation of your offerings. You can also highlight all the individual benefits your business has to offer.
Built to tell a story
Use sequential images or videos, or use a single image spread across multiple carousel cards to tell a story that audiences can engage with. This is a creative way to boost brand awareness and encourage people to engage with your carousel ad content further.
Ability to let Facebook determine (and take advantage of) the best-performing slide
Yep, Facebook can take the reigns. If your carousel images and captions don’t rely on the order you can tell Facebook to put the best-performing card first. This will lead to higher engagement, less testing, and an easy win.
Facebook carousel best practices and tips
Make sure your first image or video is eye-catching
Whether it’s the first in a series or the first in a multi-card panoramic spread, your first visual NEEDS capture the attention of your audience and make them want to learn more, otherwise, your other slides are worthless. Choose eye-catching visuals that use compelling colors and copy that will make it stand out on people’s news feeds.
Be strategic with the order of your cards
When building your carousel ads, you can opt into Facebook’s automatic optimization feature, which gives them the power to optimize your carousel ad and order them based on their performance. However, if you’re telling a linear story through your carousel cards, you’ll want to opt out of automatic optimization.
If you have a story to tell, this is where you’ll do it. Start with the highlight: the big problem you can fix or the big value you have to offer. Then, with each card, build that story up and add to it. Lastly, rope them in. If people made it that far, let them know the next step they should take by including a powerful CTA.
Pro tip: You could put your logo and a “Shop Now” or you could get creative with it. Try “Start your 14-day trial” or “Demo for free, no credit card required.” There are so many ways to get creative.
Be strategic with your CTAs
On that note, don’t just leave the CTA for the end of your carousel. Effectively, each card has its own CTA. Each card has a headline, a description, and a CTA button.
Imagine that each card is a potential drop-off point for your audience–what is the last action you want them to take at that point before they continue scrolling? Make sure that you balance enticing your audience to swipe through your carousel while also rewarding them for doing so through punchier creative, high-value information, or promotional offers.
The creative should work in tandem with the card headline and link description
Each carousel card should have a specific headline and link description that aligns with the image or video being shown.
Avoid writing the same headline and link description across your carousel ad, and instead, link to specific product pages and customize your copy for each card. The most impactful carousel ads often use the copy and creativity on each carousel card to build off of each other and send a message.
Include visual cues that prompt further engagement
Use visual indicators, such as shapes, arrows, ellipses, and more, on each card’s creative that will make Facebook users curious and want to learn more about your business or product by swiping through the carousel. These visual cues can be subtle or obvious, but the more creative they are, the more they’ll stand out in your audience’s memory and incite engagement.
10 of the most effective, out-of-the-box Facebook carousel ad examples
We’ve pulled 10 of our favorite Facebook carousel ad examples on Facebook, ranging from ads from eCommerce to SaaS products.
Purple creatively centers its new mattress product in an eye-catching multi-card panoramic spread. This multi-card creative prompts people to click further, and is accompanied by CTA buttons and a final CTA card that encourages people to learn more.
Clearbit masterfully shows how to use effective visual cues in this carousel ad. Using text and graphics in their ad creative, Clearbit clearly outlines the benefits of their product while also visually prompting people to swipe and learn more. Not to mention, their dark color scheme helps grab people’s attention against a light screen.
This BarkBox carousel ad takes a creative spin on the multi-card panoramic spread by effectively using humor and out-of-the-box thinking to promote an offer for new customers. This novel approach will naturally prompt users to swipe until the end of the carousel to see how long this puppy can go. You’ll notice that since this ad’s panoramic dauschund is the star, each card uses the same CTA accompanied by simple, humorous headlines to direct people to a single landing page.
4. Target Style
This Target Style ad creatively employs visual cues through video, making it scroll-stopping and engaging from the start. The video on each carousel card effectively works with one another to showcase a product catalog, while directing users to relevant landing pages. While the budget on this ad was likely very high given the quality of the video production, it is a crystal-clear example of how visual cues can effectively draw in audiences and encourage them to engage further.
This Fender ad masterfully uses a carousel to show customers how simple it is to design their own guitar. By using clear and colorful visuals and a small amount of copy, this ad makes the process and customization options easy to understand. Each CTA button also directs users to the same link so that they can get started with designing their own guitar at any point while clicking through the ad.
Carousel slides can be used to make and emphasize a value proposition to potential customers. Here, Kajabi addresses common questions a business might have about starting a coaching program on each carousel slide. By making effective use of the carousel ad format, Kajabi makes a strong case as to why offering a coaching business is a great solution.
Use carousel ads as an opportunity to speak directly to your audience. This GoDaddy carousel ad artfully uses text in its images, while using captions and CTAs to further its message. The ad creative is set up to prompt customers to scroll past the first carousel slide, while the ad copy anchors a strong message addressed directly to consumers.
This Shutterfly carousel ad does three things in one: shows a process, tells a story, and highlights a unique product offering. By using their ad creative and copy in a playful way, Shutterfly uses the carousel format to keep audiences interested in just a few slides.
This ad speaks directly to businesses and puts them in their customer’s shoes to show off their user experience
As a B2C product with a strong user experience, Typeform takes full advantage of the carousel ad format to put potential business users in the shoes of their own audiences. By showing each step of their interactive survey template, and sparking inspiration for how businesses can address their customers with a “human touch,” this carousel ad is a strong and cohesive product snapshot for potential users.
This short carousel ad uses bright visuals and value-based copy to engage audiences
Who says all carousels need to be long? Epson’s short and sweet carousel ad uses bright colors and tight copy to get the job done. The ad’s strategic use of sequential text and images in the first two slides are just enough for audiences to interact and get the message.
Feeling inspired now? Want even more examples? We have 201 more of the most creative eye-catching Facebook ads to keep you loaded with inspiration.
The one big secret to success
The big secret to success with carousel ads is simple: be intentional.
Don’t do a carousel ad just because you can.
Carousel ads have a number of benefits that can help you boost engagement with your audience and help ultimately lower costs. But those benefits can only become a reality if your carousel ads have a clear, cohesive strategy that maximizes each of its parts.
Don’t just throw a few images and links together into a carousel ad and expect it to yield positive results automatically. Instead, clearly map out the message you want to illustrate throughout the carousel, the story you want to tell.
Now that you know the ins and outs of the carousel ad format, use it to your advantage and to help you maximize the purpose of each slide. Tell a story, be creative, and have fun with the format so that your audiences will, too. Look back to the examples we listed for inspiration, and let your creativity unleash to make some memorable ads.