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Carousel ads are currently one of the most popular ad units on Facebook; they rolled in after the original Link ad and before the new-fangled Lead Generation ad unit. Our clients have seen spectacular success with the carousel ad unit when running a variety of advertising objectives – from eCommerce sales items, to product features, to whitepaper offerings, to even a fun cartoon-style scroll-along infographic.
Carousel ads are most definitely one of the most robust types of ads available on Facebook’s advertising platform.
First, a refresher on the basics: 90-100 characters for post copy, 15-25 characters for headline copy, and 25-30 characters for description copy.
Now we’ll introduce you to 5 best practices when employing carousel ads for your brand or product.
1. Tell a Story in 5 (or Fewer) Cards
Carousel ads consist of “cards” that scroll from left to right, allowing us to weave together a colorful story in 5 frames. When the sequence or “flow” of the cards comes together to form a connected mural or comic strip-like experience, customers’ interests are piqued and they’ll be more likely to scroll through the ad and click on one of the cards. You can even have the headline and description text narrate the storyline for you as you move from card to card! (Tip: when using this strategy, you’ll want to uncheck the box that says “Automatically show the best performing images and links first” in your ad unit so that the story sequence doesn’t get shuffled out of order.)
If you don’t have an in-house designer, and free stock photography is all you have access to, then consider setting up a continuous theme by color-coordinating the cards to have the ad really pop in Facebook’s News Feed. This simple solution allows a smaller brand with fewer resources to skip the design work and get started on bringing in leads with ease. Orange, red, and blue color schemes work especially well for our clients.
3. Give Each Card Its Own URL
Since carousel ads allow us to assign a unique link to each of the 5 cards, be sure to take advantage of this function and link each card to a specific product or offer on your site that matches the card’s headline and description. This will significantly bump up your CTR and lower your CPC. Some examples of clients who have benefited from this model in particular: Real estate clients making house listings, eCommerce clients advertising individual products on sale, and law firms offering different legal packages per card.
4. Or, Let Facebook Optimize for You
Alternatively, you can have up to 10 cards in each carousel ad, and have Facebook optimize and only show the top-performing cards to users over time (make sure to check the “Automatically show the best performing images and links first” box). However, be aware that Facebook will only display 5 cards maximum at one time, so don’t expect all 10 cards to be viewable together. In this strategy, we would recommend not taking up a precious card slot with a “Profile Card” at the very end, which generally just leads to your website’s homepage and provides very little value in generating conversions.
5. Finally, Use that CTA Button!
We’ve noticed that adding something as simple as a call-to-action button to each carousel card will boost our ad’s CTR by up to 17% and decrease CPCs by 8%. Facebook provides the following standard options to select from. Unfortunately, we cannot use customized text for the CTA button yet – but fingers crossed that this will become a future feature down the pipeline!
Last but not least, carousel ads were originally intended to be a fully mobile-optimized experience, so cost is a bit lower on mobile placements than desktop for this ad unit. However, we have seen tremendous success with carousel ads on the desktop News Feed as well (where the images are larger), so we definitely recommend running them on both placements whenever possible.