On February 22, 2017, Instagram announced the Carousel post for non-advertising users. This allows users to post up to 10 photos or videos which can then be scrolled through as one post by viewers. Eventually, the platform allowed for landscape and portrait photos to be involved in the carousel. This feature may seem like a small tweak but there are ways to use the Instagram algorithm with features like this to skyrocket engagement.
Since Instagram started showing posts non-chronologically and seemingly random, the time you post became less and less relevant. People would game the times of day to when most people are engaging and such but now we see posts that are only relevant to us and that Instagram thinks we’ll engage with more.
So, how do you manage to get your posts viewed more? Typically a viewer scrolls through their feed, proceeds to find your post and either do something with it or not. That’s the entire lifecycle of a post on Instagram.
The Carousel’s New Function
Silently, Instagram started trying new orders in which to display posts in your feed. Coming to the realization that a carousel might have 4, 5, or even 9 photos that could go easily skipped if someone didn’t care to scroll through is leaving a lot of content unseen! Next time you open up your app, right up top very well may be a post you had already seen but an image from the carousel you neglected to scroll to.
Essentially, this was one post by one person with one caption that included multiple photos and/or videos. It is now being recycled on your feed again but starting at a different index of the carousel. Using Carousels now has more of an incentive within Instagram as a result of this.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Even if you’re not trying to beat Facebook, you may not always want to follow their rules. If you do, you’ll be rewarded for being an early adopter and being ahead of the curve.
Another example is in iOS applications. Apple came out and said they’re introducing new Auto Layout functionality for developers. It would mean a little extra work but they ensure it’ll be worth it. This was before iPhones came in more than one sized screen so developers found no value in spending any time adhering to this new practice. Then the iPhone 5 was announced and everyone realized what Apple was doing. For those that did take Apple’s advice and adapted their apps, they were ready to be displayed on this new screen size, those that didn’t had some more work ahead of them to make it all fit.
Back to Instagram.
If you were using carousels before this odd side-benefit of getting more attention, you’d already be in the habit of using these features and your strategy would allow for more to take advantage of it. If you weren’t, it’s now more work and more of a hassle to create more content to adhere to the newest features.
The key thing to take away from this is: always stay on top of new releases, latest features, and anything that may help your business grow in the future. Just because it doesn’t seem beneficial now doesn’t mean it won’t benefit you.