If you’re interested in using (or improving) Facebook carousel ads but haven’t made the leap just yet, you’re in the right place.
The carousel ad format has a strong track record on Facebook, and is a good fit for advertisers with many different goals, from product sales to website traffic, blog engagement, and beyond. The point is, it’s worth making the leap and adding them to your Facebook repertoire.
To help you get started, we put together this master Facebook carousel ads guide that will teach you everything you need to know.
Click to navigate our master guide to carousel ads:
Jump to the part of the article you’re most interested in. Or follow through the guide to learn everything there is to know about Facebook multi-card ads. 😉
Let’s get those carousel ads up and running!
What are Facebook Carousel Ads (and why should advertisers use them)?
Facebook carousel ads are multi-image ads that include up to 10 slideshow cards.
Compared to the most frequently used Facebook ad format – single-image ads – the carousel ads provide a unique opportunity to show more product images and benefits inside a single-image ad.
From the ad creator perspective (that means you), this multi-image Facebook ad format will solve your issue of having so much to say, so little room to say it.
From the ad viewer perspective, they can get more information about a product/service if they find the first carousel ad image interesting. This means higher ad engagement rates and, hopefully, also lower cost-per-click prices.
To say this more metaphorically, the carousel ads are like ice cream scones: they let you scoop up all the information and then allow your ads’ target audience to enjoy it. 🍦
Carousel ads can have up to 10 images
The efficiency and cost of Facebook carousel ads
Do the carousel ads work? Do they bring better results than regular ads? Should you spend time on adding them to your Facebook campaigns?
Among other aspects, your Facebook ads cost depends on the ad creative and its placements. By using the carousel ads, you will be adding a new ad type to the mix of your regular creatives. What happens is that you can also attract the attention of the people who wouldn’t react to a single-image ad, but enjoy swiping through multi-image ads.
Here’s an example of a success story:
The mobile app for local dating LOVOO used Facebook’s carousel ads and saw 72% higher click-through rates and 35% lower mobile app install costs while reaching higher sales.
How LOVOO’s ads looked
The carousels are efficient not just because they encourage people to click on and interact with your ad… They also simply give you more room for showing your products or telling your brand story.
This option is highly popular among e-store owners that want to list multiple products in a single ad. You can add up to 10 different carousel cards, each showcasing a new item and linking to that item’s landing page on your website. Instead of just one product per ad, you can have as many as 10.
For example, the carousel ad by Teabox shows the various types of teas sold in their online store:
Teabox’s ad shows different products
2. If you want to highlight the features of a product
Say you’re selling project management software. Your product has features for task management, to-do lists, sprint planning, time tracking, and much more. You could add a carousel ad card about each of them into a single ad.
Here’s an example of a Facebook carousel product promo by Yesware:
Yesware’s carousel ad lists product features
In addition to highlighting product features, you could alternatively list the benefits of using your product or service.
Your product is both cheaper, has higher quality than the competition, and you offer free shipping? – List all of it in a carousel ad!
3. If you want people to actively engage
One of the benefits of carousel ads is that they call people to interact with them. If you want to see the second, third, and tenth card of a carousel ad, you need to click on the “next” arrow or swipe right on your mobile screen.
Every time a user interacts with your ad to see the next image after another, Facebook algorithms record this as an engagement.
A good example of high-engagement Facebook carousel ads is the below ad by Shutterstock. By stretching the image over multiple cards, they call for people to scroll further to see what’s in the picture.
Shutterstock stretches an image over multiple carousel cards
4. If you want to explain a process
Sometimes, people might be afraid that your product is too complex to use. You can use the carousel ads for explaining how easy it actually is to get started with your product.
For example, an audiobook service could create a carousel ad with the following cards: sign up, set up your free trial, select and audiobook, start listening. Simple, right?!
The below example by Deezer explains how to get started with their music streaming app. With this tactic, they can already explain to people how easy it is to use the service when people see ad in their Facebook newsfeed.
Deezer’s ad explains a process
💡 There is also an option to use a video as the first card in your carousel ad. So you’re not just limited to static images.
Found a cool use case for Facebook carousel ads? Up next, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step guidelines for setting up this ad type.
How to set up the carousel ads
The carousel ads can be used with almost all Facebook campaign types.
Here’s the full list of campaign objectives that support the carousel format:
Store traffic messages
To set up a Facebook ad campaign with carousel ads, go to the Facebook Ads Manager and select one of the above campaign objectives.
Let’s say we selected the “Conversions” objective
P.S. You can also add the carousels to existing campaigns by simply selecting an ad set and adding a new ad to it.
Up next, you can enter all the campaign and ad set details, including the target audience, budget, etc. We recommend that you leave the “Dynamic Creative” option unselected in the ad set setup phase.
Leave this option deselected
Once you have set up your ad campaign and ad set, it’s time to create your carousel ad!
Follow these steps:
Name your ad
Select the Facebook and Instagram pages
Select the “Carousel” format
Add your carousel ad images
Add your carousel ad copy
Add your carousel ad URLs
Select the call-to-action
Select/deselect image rotation
Here’s how to handle every above step + some tips and hacks to help you along… 👇
1. Name your ad
This one’s easy: give your ad a name. It’s a good idea to include the word “carousel” in the name, so it’s easier to check the reporting later.
Name your Facebook ad
2. Select the Facebook and Instagram pages
Up next, select the Facebook and Instagram pages that are shown on top of your ad.
Select your ad identity
3. Select the “Carousel” format
Goes without saying that this is the format you’ll want to use.
Select the “Carousel” format
4. Add your carousel ad images
Now, it’s time to upload the creatives! Start by uploading all the images for your carousel ad.
Go to all your cards one by one, click on “Select Image” and upload all the creatives you want to use.
Upload carousel ad images
If your image is not in the 1:1 square format, you can click on the “Crop Image” button and adjust which part of the visual will be shown.
Adjust your carousel ad image
We recommend uploading all your carousel ads images together, before continuing to the copy setup. After testing many different approaches, this one has proven to be the most efficient.
5. Add your carousel ad copy
Once you have added as many carousel cards as you like and uploaded a visual to each, continue with the copy.
Each card in the ad can have a unique headline and link description. Keep the headlines short and catchy.
📍The main copy that will show on top of the cards is hidden a bit below and titled “Primary Text.” It’s easy to ignore this part of the copy if you’re just starting out. Make sure you find it and fill it in as it’s a critical part of your ad.
Add copy to your carousel cards
For tips and examples of good Facebook carousel ad copy, check out the examples that we’ll be discussing later in this article.
6. Add your carousel ad URLs
Similarly to the headlines, each carousel card can also have a unique URL. This means that you can link to up to 10 different landing pages.
However, if you only have one landing page, you can also use the same URL for all your cards.
Add website URLs to all cards
As you scroll down a bit, there are two more boxes where you can enter URLs. What are they for?
The “See More URL” is the link where people will land once they click on the CTA button of your carousel ad. It is the same for all cards in your carousel ad.
Set the CTA button’s URL
7. Select the call-to-action
Like static image ads, Facebook carousel ads have the call-to-action button option. Dont’s forget to set it up!
Select the CTA button
The most popular carousel ad CTAs are “Shop Now” and “Learn More.” If you want to have more room for your headlines, you can also select the “No Button” option.
8. Select/deselect image rotation
Last, not least, you will encounter the tick boxes that allow you to show the best-performing cards first. This is a great option if the order of your carousel ads’ cards doesn’t matter.
If you’re using a carousel ad to tell a story or want to have a specific card always at the top position, deselect the tick box.
Select whether you want your cards’ order to change
Here’s the main benefit of rotating your carousel ad images and showing the best-performing cards first: Facebook algorithms will learn what people click on the most, and you can end up having lower CPC and cost-per-purchase.
Facebook carousel ad specs
As you can see, creating carousel ads isn’t as difficult as it may have seen in the first place.
How carousel ads look in Instagram feed
All you need is a solid story to tell / cool products to show, and some extra time to set up more ads. Follow the below ad specs shared by Facebook for an even smoother setup process:
The Instagram carousel by Finnish Design Shop uses the special ad type to show a product in its different available color variations.
In this case, the brand has only used up 2 cards out of 10. To make this carousel even more engaging, they could have added some images of the product in various settings, e.g. in the living room, in the kitchen, etc.
This ad shows multiple colors of a product
2. Enlight Quickshop carousel example
The Enlight Quickshop app’s carousel ad shows videos instead of static images. Each of the carousel cards shows how their app helps to improve the photos taken on your smartphone.
What we like about this ad:
It shows the product’s benefit, not just by listing them, but also visually
It uses videos in the cards instead of static images
All the videos follow a similar style, making the ad aligned with one type of branding
This ad shows the product’s benefits
As mentioned earlier, you can use both videos and images in your carousel ad. Or a combination of both. 😉
3. The Sill Facebook ad example
The Sill’s Facebook carousel ad is promoting houseplants.
The great thing about this ad is that is addresses multiple types of buyer personas: People just starting out, people who have low-light apartments, and more.
Each carousel card takes you to a different landing page: If you click on the first card, you’re taken to an online store page where you can buy houseplants perfect for beginners, etc.
This ad addresses multiple buyer personas
If you’re running an online fashion store, you could use a similar approach to promote clothes suitable for everyday wearing, casual workwear, and party dresses.
4. Byredo carousel ad
This carousel ad example by Byredo showcases their various products.
Here’s what we like about this carousel ad:
The first card works as an introduction to the following product showcase
The product names are always listed in the headline
All the product prices are listed so that you can already consider whether you want to buy the items while watching the ad
This carousel ad showcases many products
If you’re planning to create Facebook carousel ads that list multiple products, we recommend testing two options: run one carousel ad with prices included and the other one without.
We have seen that for some brands, showing the prices in ads works well and increases the CTR. However, it can also backfire as people may consider your products too pricy.
5. Mailchimp Facebook ad
This carousel ad by email sending tool Mailchimp includes several videos that show their product features and benefits in a fun colorful way.
Notice that Mailchimp is using the carousel cards’ headlines to explain what feature each visual is about. The “Learn More” CTA button in a low-threat call-to-action that people will click on without worrying to land on a heavily sales-oriented landing page.
This ad lists product features and benefits
6. Airbnb carousel ad
This ad by Airbnb is also listing the benefits of their service.
It’s also applying one of the Facebook ads best practices to include numbers in the copy: “Choose from over 40,000 villas, tree houses, and beach getaways.”
The first card in the carousel ads acts and an intro and the following creatives showcase a specific type of rentals, e.g. a beach house, penthouse, and so on.
This ad shows various rental types
📍 Pro tip:
If you don’t have the resources to create custom illustrations for your ads nor order an expensive photoshoot, you can simply use some beautiful stock photos.
7. Plated’s ad tells a story
Above, we mentioned that Facebook carousels are great for storytelling. Here’s one good example of branded storytelling done right.
Plated’s ad shows the step-by-step story of what happens once you receive one of their delivered home cooking boxes: you open the box, you’ll get all the ingredients, you prepare the dish, and you have the perfect dinner with your loved ones.
This ad tells a story through multiple images
8. Moz Facebook carousel ad example
This example by the SEO software Moz lists product benefits. The ad uses branded illustrations, making it show up more prominently in the news feed.
This ad lists product benefits
When creating Facebook carousel ads that tell about your product or service’s benefits, use the option that makes Facebook show your best-performing card first. You can even use this as a growth hack to find out which benefit is the most relevant for your target audience.
9. Asos runs a classic online store carousel ad
If you asked us to show you a classic online store ad listing products, we’d share this Asos ad with you. It showcases the first card + 9 different product images.
Another thing we like about this carousel is that the first card includes a big “SALE” sign that immediately catches people’s attention.
This could be a dynamic remarketing ad
You can also set up dynamic remarketing ads that look like the regular carousel ad, but include personalized cards, based on which products a person has looked up on your website.
Read more about Facebook dynamic remarketing ads here.
10. Square carousel ad example
Square’s Facebook ad uses stylized product images, telling both the storyline of using their product while also mentioning the key benefits.
This ad uses stylized image cards
If you’re using a carousel ad to tell a story, it’s best to keep the main ad copy short, so that the viewer will mostly focus on the information shared in images and the headlines below them.
20 Hacks & tips for top-notch carousel ads
Alright… If you’ve reached this point in the article, you probably know how to set up Facebook and Instagram carousel ads, have some good examples in mind, and are ready to create your first ads.
To make sure your carousels will be a success, we listed down 20 more hacks and tips to help you win the Facebook advertising game.
Win the Facebook advertising game!
⭐ 1. Grab attention with the first image in your carousel ad
Consumer Acquisition’s research found that visuals are arguably the most important part of your Facebook ads — they’re responsible for 75%-90% of performance.
A good Facebook ad image is:
Eye-catchy – colorful
Easy to grasp – people can immediately understand what’s promoted
Engaging – people want to find out more
⭐ 2. Avoid using boring stock photos
There’s a huge difference between a good and a bad stock photo. And there’s also a big difference in the results you may get.
Here’s a good example by Twilio, featuring an image of their team member:
This ad image features the company’s team member
Now compare it to an ad by WordPress that uses a basic stock photo…
This ad uses a stock photo
Is it just us, or the first visual with a real person creates a stronger emotional connection with the brand and makes the ad copy more trustworthy?
Marketing Experiments found that using a picture of a real person using your product instead of a stock photo can increase conversions by 35%.
⭐ 3. Make your product photos nice and clean
When creating Facebook carousel ads that showcase the products in your online store, put some effort into creating high-quality product photos.
The good news is that you most likely already have those images ready as you’re also using them on your website.
Here’s an example by The Kooples, showing edited product photos.
Use high-quality product photos
⭐ 4. Combine static images with videos
Using images and videos in your carousel ads doesn’t have to be an either-or decision. You can actually combine both in a single ad.
To add a video to your carousel ad, simply click on the “Video/Slideshow” selection when creating a new card.
You can combine images and videos
⭐ 5. Add the most important copy in the ad image
The first thing people notice about your Facebook ads is the image. So it’s always a good idea to include the most important information/benefit already to the creatives.
Here’s an example by Hired that includes the names of software development jobs both in the carousel images as well as headlines.
Add the most important copy to the image
⭐ 6. Use the same carousel ad in several placements
One thing we didn’t yet talk about is selecting the placements for your carousel ad.
The simple answer is that you can use the exact same placements that you’d use for your other Facebook ads.
We recommend running ads both on Facebook and Instagram for the best results. If you follow the ad specs, your carousels will look good both on Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds.
Here’s an example of how the same carousel ad will look on Facebook and Instagram:
You can use the same carousel ad across different placements
⭐ 7. Use up 3-6 carousel cards
You can create a carousel that has between 2-10 cards. In our experience, the sweet spot is between 3-6 cards.
If you include too few cards, people might not see enough to be convinced. However, if you add too many carousel cards, the final card with a call-to-action may be too many clicks away and 50% or more of your audience will never reach it.
Use between 3-6 carousel cards for best results
Naturally, there are special cases where using up all 10 available cards makes sense.
One of such occasions is when you’re using dynamic remarketing ads. In this case, you can show the maximum number of personalized product recommendations as all of these will be relevant to the person seeing them.
⭐ 8. Use both carousel and single-image ads in the same campaign
Carousel ads work best when combined with other Facebook ad types. So when setting up a Facebook ad campaign, we recommend to include both carousel and single-image as formats.
There’s no surefire way to tell which ad creative is going to work best, it’s all about testing!
When creating Facebook carousel ads, it is even more important to keep your headlines short as there’s less headline space than in single-image ads. The maximum headline length for carousel ads is 25 characters.
Keep your headlines short
Short headlines work because you’re delivering an on-point message in a condensed format.
⭐ 10. Tips to write good carousel headlines
Unsure what to include in your carousel ad headlines? Try one of these tactics:
Mention the product’s benefits
Include the product name and price
Include a call-to-action, e.g. “Sign Up for FREE”
Include a discount offer
Explain what the visual is saying
And keep your headlines short!
⭐ 11. Create carousel images that stretch over multiple cards
One smart hack to get people to engage with your carousels is to tell the story over several images. If people see an indication that the image will continue in the next carousel card, they’re more likely to click further to see what’s next.
Like in the Shutterstock ad we mentioned before…
Shutterstock stretches an image over multiple carousel cards
Or like in this ad by MindTitan, using a continuous line throughout their carousel.
Use design elements that span throughout the carousel
If your carousel cards must follow a specific order to make sense, don’t forget to switch off the automatic rotation during ad setup.
Untick the first box to keep a specific order of cards
⭐ 12. Keep consistency throughout the carousel
Whether you’re highlighting a single product or multiple products, each card in your carousel ad should build on the previous one.
If you’re simply promoting standalone products, you can build on consistency by using the same format of product names in headlines.
Keep your carousels consistent
⭐ 13. Use carousel ads to promote blog articles
Instead of promoting all your blog articles separately, you can create a stylized blog carousel that lists 5 or more articles.
By using this carousel approach, your ad will become relevant to a wider audience – you never know which particular blog article may interest a specific person.
Use carousel ads to promote blog articles
When setting up the carousel ad with multiple blog articles, don’t forget to add a custom URL under each card, so that every image will take the user to the corresponding blog article.
⭐ 14. Turn your carousels into slildeshows
Facebook has another ad format called slideshow ads. This ad type is very similar to carousel ads in that it includes several images inside a single ad.
But instead of the cards changing only as people click on the “next” button or swipe to right (on mobile), the slideshow ads change the cards automatically, creating a video-like experience.
Turning your existing carousel ads into slideshows is a good way to test another ad format without a lot of extra work.
Slideshow ads are video-like multi-image ads
To create a slideshow ad, create a new ad in the Facebook Ads Manager and select the following options:
How to create a slideshow ad
⭐ 15. Keep your eye on your carousel ads
While Facebook’s ad algorithms are designed to show to people the ads that bring most results at the lowest cost, they might prefer carousel and video formats to your single-image creatives.
To make sure that your carousel ads aren’t cannibalizing the delivery of other top-performing ads, take a look at your ad-level campaign results and make sure that the ads with the best cost-per-results also get the most impressions.
If you see that a carousel ad has higher cost-per-result but has used up significantly more budget than better-performing single-image ads, it may be a good idea to turn off the carousel ads or move them to a separate ad set.
Well done! You’ve reached the end of this Facebook carousel ads guide! 🙌
Here are the top 5 takeaways to keep in mind:
Carousel ads is a good format to test in addition to single-image and video ads
In many cases, carousel ads can have lower cost-per-result that other ad typer
Use the carousel ads to either showcase your products, show how your product works, or what its benefits are
You can run carousel ads both on Facebook and Instagram
Keep your carousels’ headlines short and use eye-catching creatives
Karola is all about random cool ideas, growth marketing, and taking new marketing approaches on a test drive. And boy does she love conversion copywriting or any writing for that matter (ask anyone who’s worked with her). Want to collaborate with Karola? Send her some delicious black chai, and then we’re talking!