Why you should test Facebook's carousel ads - person using phone at laptop

Facebook’s carousel ads have been around since 2014, but many brands still aren’t familiar with them and don’t understand what makes them effective. These ads let you use multiple images and calls-to-action (CTAs) on a single ad. You can even link to multiple pages on your website.

But digital advertising is all about optimization. So carousel ads bring up an important question: Why would you want a single ad to use several images and multiple CTAs when you can just optimize for the one that’s most effective?

That’s a fair point. And in many cases with advertising, less is more. But carousel ads give you new opportunities you simply don’t have with a single image and CTA.

Sometimes the sum of your images and CTAs makes a more compelling argument than any one piece can.

Go more in-depth

Some products—like apps—are hard to represent with a single image. You can find the image that shows the most features (or the best feature), but that one image is always going to limit your audience’s ability to recognize what your product actually does.

A carousel ad gives you a chance to highlight several features of your product or service and show it in different settings.

You could also use the images to tell a story. If your product is a church giving app, for example, your carousel ad might lead with an image of a pastor on stage holding their phone, then follow it with members of the congregation on their phones together, and then use an image of the main form new users have to fill out, followed by the confirmation message—or an image of the church doing ministry.

This single ad visually tells the story of a church raising money for a project and communicates how easy it is for new people to adopt the platform.

Additionally, each image in the carousel can have its own heading or call to action, so if you highlight multiple aspects of your product, you can make sure each slide links to the corresponding page with a relevant CTA.

Whatever your product or service is, it’s probably hard to encompass in a single image. With carousel ads, you no longer have that limitation, and it’s worth experimenting to see if there’s a better way to quickly communicate what you want people to understand about your product.

Showcase more products

One of the most valuable applications for carousel ads is highlighting more than one product or service in a single ad. When you have the right audience, sometimes your product or service is relevant to people, but they just aren’t in a position to purchase.

Maybe they recently bought something in your product category. Maybe they’ve already purchased the product you’re advertising. Or they like your brand but don’t need that particular item.

This is where it’s advantageous to showcase multiple products, product categories, or services in a single ad. It gives more people the opportunity to see something they need or want.

If you want to, you can also tell Facebook to optimize your carousel to put the highest converting image and CTA first. This lets you put your most appealing products in the most prominent positions, while still presenting secondary offers for people who aren’t able to act on the first one.

Not sure about carousel ads? Test them.

Can you really say you’ve fully optimized your ads if you haven’t tested everything? Carousel ads may not be the most effective way to display your products or services. But you won’t know until you try them. And if you understand the opportunities this medium gives you, you may even find that it’s the most efficient way to spend your ad dollars.