Last month, Instagram announced a new ad unit called Carousel. It lets brands add multiple photos to a single post, which users can cycle through by swiping left. The Carousel ads also feature a link to a site of the business’ choice, making it easy for them to get users from Instagram to their official product pages.
Now, Instagram is announcing its first wave of brand partners. The first Carousel ads began appearing this weekend, and Instagram says we should expect to see more and more brands utilizing the new format soon.
The first brands adopting Carousel ads are Showtime, Banana Republic, Old Navy, L'Oreal Paris, and Samsung.
Showtime is promoting the new season of Penny Dreadful.
“The Instagram carousel expands our ability to showcase the richness and complexities of Penny Dreadful and the series’ multi-dimensional characters,” said Donald Buckley, Executive Vice President, Program Marketing, Media, Promotions and Digital Services, Showtime Networks Inc. “As the series delves deeper into the psyches of the family, this new feature will allow us to further engage with fans.”
Banana Republic is advertising its new Spring collection.
“With a carousel, our customers can discover more if they want as we spotlight some of our favorite products and share styling ideas across multiple images,” Aimee Lapic, Banana Republic SVP and GM of Customer Experience. “Creating relevant content for our customers, while also making it easier for them to shop, is a win-win.”
As is Old Navy.
“Instagram is distinctly visual medium, and the carousel function enables us to deliver richer, more cohesive storytelling,” said Taylor Bux, Old Navy’s Director of Digital & Social Strategy. “Additionally, the direct linking to OldNavy.com creates a seamless experience for fans to purchase the items that they love without having to hunt.”
As you can see, brands are especially excited about the ability to link users directly to their product pages at the end of Carousel ads.
Like Instagram ads in general, this should be a slow and calculated rollout. Instagram, if anything, has been cautious about flooding your feeds with ads.
And as I said before, I'm sure your average user would love to be able to Carousel multiple photos in a single post. The company didn't rule it out, but stopped short of saying this sort of photo feature would roll out wide. For now, it's a limited brand offering – but and interesting one for sure.