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Carousel ads vs. Instant Experience ads

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10 mins

Carousel ads vs instant experience ads

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Advances in mobile technology, such as the ability to take 3D photos and videos, have led to the development of new and innovative ways for businesses to promote their products and services on Facebook.

One such method is through the use of Instant Experience ads, which allow businesses to create immersive, interactive experiences that are designed to capture the attention of users and encourage them to take action.

On the other hand, Facebook Carousel Ads still retain their place as one of the most popular and effective ways to reach consumers on the platform.

While both have a place in a comprehensive Facebook ad strategy, it’s essential to understand what they are, their pros and cons, and the ideal time to use carousel ads and instant experience ads. This will help you optimise your budget while still delivering engaging content to your target audience.

In this guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about Carousel ads vs. instant experience ads so that you can make the best decision for your business.

Let’s get started!

What are Facebook carousel ads?

Facebook carousel ads compile and show multiple images, videos, or both, within a single ad post or unit.

In simple terms, instead of creating several posts or ads to promote different products (or features of the same product), carousel ads allow you to consolidate everything into a single, scrollable ad.

Users can scroll through the carousel images or videos by swiping their mobile devices or clicking the arrows on their desktops. In addition, each image or video can be linked to a different URL, making carousel ads an effective way to direct users to specific product pages, landing pages, or blog posts.

So far, carousel ads have a fantastic record for driving strong results. One reason is their visual nature – you can combine several powerful images or videos into a single ad, which can help capture the attention of users more effectively than a traditional text-based ad.

On top of all that, brands and businesses can also use them to:

  • Showcase multiple products: Since you can include up to 10 images or videos in a single carousel ad, they’re great for promoting multiple products (such as different items in a collection) or different features of the same product.
  • Demonstrate how a product works: Carousel ads can also be used to demonstrate how a product works. How? For instance, if you sell a skincare product that has multiple steps, you can create a carousel ad that shows each step in the process, from cleansing to applying the cream to using a facial mask.
  • Tell a story: In addition to promoting products, you can also use carousel ads to tell a story. For example, you can use them to show the before-and-after effects of using a particular product or to tell the story of how your brand or business came to be.

Because they’re so versatile, Facebook carousel ads are useful for almost any industry. For instance, real estate agents can use them to showcase multiple properties, while e-commerce businesses can use them to promote different products or collections. Even B2B companies can find creative ways to use carousel ads, such as by featuring different case studies or client testimonials.

You can create carousel ads from a Facebook page or from Facebook Ads manager, making them easy to set up and manage.

What are Facebook instant experience ads?

Formerly known as Facebook Canvas, instant experience ads are one of the most immersive types of ads on the platform. Instead of just swiping through photos, playing videos, or reading text, instant experience ads make the audience a part of the content.

For instance, they can tilt their phone to get a 360-degree view of a product. In the same ad, they can watch videos, swipe through carousels, and interact with different elements of the ad.

Here’s a quick overview of how Facebook instant experience ads work:

  • A user scrolls through their Facebook feed.
  • They come across an ad, then click on it.
  • Instead of simply loading photos or videos, the ad loads an entire mobile landing page.
  • This page is designed to be fast-loading and optimised for mobile.
  • The mobile landing page expands to fill the screen.
  • The user can then interact with different elements on the page, such as videos, photos, carousels, and forms.

Because of how immersive and interactive they are, Facebook instant experience ads can serve almost any advertising goal. Trying to sell properties? Take your target audience on a walk-through of the house with an instant experience ad. Showing off a new product? Let users play around with it in an instant experience ad.

Instant Experience ads are mobile only, so they’re best suited for businesses whose target market is primarily on mobile devices.

You can create instant experience ads from Facebook Ads manager. Facebook offers templates you can use to get started, or you can build a custom instant experience ad from scratch.

Pros and cons of Facebook carousel Ads

Carousel ads, with their visual nature and simpler execution, are a popular form of Facebook advertising. Here are some of the pros and cons to keep in mind if you’re thinking about using them for your business.

Pros of Facebook carousel ads

1. They're fantastic for showcasing related images

Carousel ads are an efficient way to showcase multiple products, services, or features in a single ad. This is especially useful if you have a lot of products or if you want to show off different aspects of the same product.

For example, a clothing store could use a carousel ad to show off its different winter collections. Food and beverage businesses could use them to promote a new menu or to highlight different ingredients in a dish.

2. They offer room for creativity

Because carousel ads are so visual, they offer a lot of room for creativity. For instance, you can use a long image to create a unified look. In addition, you can also apply themes, filters, or other effects to all the images in your carousel ad.

3. You can integrate links to multiple landing pages

Facebook carousel ads gives you the ability to add links to each of the images or videos in the carousel. This means you can use carousels as sales tools, lead generation pages, or even as a way to send traffic to your website.

For example, if you’re promoting a new product, you could include links to the product page, a sign-up page, or even a video explaining how the product works.

4. Costs per click are generally lower

One of the benefits of Facebook carousel ads is that they tend to be less expensive per click than other types of Facebook Ads. This is likely because users are more engaged with carousel ads, and they cost less to produce than immersive ads.

Cons of Facebook carousel ads

1. You need to invest in high-quality images

Because Facebook carousel ads are so visual, the quality of your images and videos can make or break your ad. Low-quality images will make your ad look unprofessional and could hurt your brand

2. They look like obvious ads

Carousel ads are blatantly ads because of their format. Unfortunately, this means that some users will immediately tune them out as they scroll through their feed.

3. It's easy to overload a Facebook carousel

Inexperienced advertisers sometimes make the mistake of cramming too much information into their Facebook carousel ads. This not only makes the ad look cluttered, but it can also be overwhelming for users.

4. They may be less effective than single-image ads

Scrolling through several images requires more effort than simply looking at a single image. Because of this, some users may be less likely to engage with carousel ads than with traditional single-image ads.

5. Creating split tests can be difficult

If you want to test different versions of your carousel ad, it can be difficult to set up split tests. This is because each image in the carousel is its own element, which means you’ll need to create multiple versions of your ad. This is simply not feasible for some businesses, especially those with small budgets.

Pros and cons of Facebook instant experience ads

Knowing how Facebook Instant Experience ads now work, let’s look at some of the pros and cons they offer users.

Pros of Facebook instant experience ads

1. They load faster than other types of Facebook Ads

Given the attention span of most people, it’s no surprise that one of the benefits of Facebook instant experience ads is that they load quickly. In fact, according to Facebook, these ads load 15x faster than traditional mobile websites.

This is important because users are likely to abandon an ad if it takes too long to load. In fact, research from Google found that the average time it takes to load a mobile post-click landing page is 22 seconds. Moreover, 53% of people are likely to leave if it takes more than 3 seconds to render.

With Facebook instant experience ads, you can be sure that your ad will load quickly and won’t drive users away.

2. They're interactive and engaging

Another benefit of Facebook instant experience ads is that they transform ads into an active experience instead of a passive one. The ability to interact with an ad has the potential to draw the audience in, which, in turn, could lead to better results.

However, it’s important to note that not all interactions are created equal. In order for an interaction to be effective, it should be relevant to the product or service you’re promoting. For example, if you’re selling a new type of coffee maker, an interactive element could be a quiz that helps users find the perfect coffee for their taste.

3. You don't necessarily need to link them to landing pages

Compared to carousel ads, which require users to click through to a landing page, Facebook instant experience ads are designed to capture leads without having to direct people to a different page.

With Facebook instant experience ads, you can include forms that collect leads directly within the ad. This means people can sign up for your newsletter or request a free trial without ever leaving Facebook.

4. Facebook offers mock-ups and templates for instant experience ads

Creating a Facebook instant experience ad from scratch can be daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with design. However, Facebook makes it easier to get started by offering mock-ups and templates for instant experience ads.

These templates can be customised to match your brand’s look and feel, and they include all the necessary elements, such as images, headlines, and descriptions. Plus, they’re designed to load quickly on mobile devices.

5. Facebook instant experience ads work for any business goal

Because of how versatile they are, Facebook instant experience ads can be used to achieve any business goal, whether it’s generating leads, promoting a sale, or increasing brand awareness.

Cons of Facebook instant experience ads

1. Designing effective instant experience ads can be difficult

Despite the templates and mock-ups available, designing an effective instant experience ad can still be challenging. Unless you want your ad to look and feel like everything else out there, it requires a heavy dose of creativity and strategy to design instant experience ads that stand out.

2. Split testing can be difficult

Another downside to Facebook instant experience ads is that split testing – which is essential for optimising results – can be difficult. To split test these ads, you’ll need to create two versions of each ad and then use Facebook’s A/B testing tool. This can be time-consuming and may not be worth the effort for some businesses.

3. People can't make purchases using instant experience ads

Another major disadvantage of Facebook instant experience ads is that people can’t check out or buy your products directly from the ad. You can gather leads, but the inability to purchase from the ad itself can lead to lost sales and conversions.

4. External links aren't allowed

Another potential drawback is that you’re not able to include external links in your ad. So, if you’re hoping to drive traffic to your website from your instant experience ad, you’re out of luck. The only links allowed are to other pages on Facebook, such as your business page or a specific post.

While this may not seem like a big deal, it can actually have a significant impact on your results. By not being able to include a link to your website, you’re missing out on an opportunity to drive traffic and conversions.

When to use carousel ads and instant experience ads

Because both carousel ads and instant experience ads come with their own set of pros and cons, it can be hard to decide where to dedicate your ad spend.

We recommend being strategic about your choice. First, define your business objectives, aka why you’re advertising on Facebook in the first place. Then, define your target audience, so you can create highly-targeted content that speaks to their needs.

To kickstart your brainstorming process, consider Facebook’s primary categories for ad goals:

  • Awareness: Need to boost brand visibility? Create ads designed around brand awareness, or awareness around your products and services.
  • Consideration: Under this category falls goals like engagement, traffic, generating leads, etc. If you’re looking to get people to take action, use this to guide your ad creation.
  • Conversions: If your goal is to get people to purchase from you, then conversions are key. Ads in this category should be created with the explicit purpose of getting people to buy your product or service.

Once you know your goals and audience, you can then decide whether Facebook carousel ads or instant experience ads will get you closer to that goal.

In general, however, each type of ad works best under specific circumstances.

Use Facebook carousel ads if you want to:

  • Boost brand awareness and reach
  • Drive more traffic to your website and other marketing assets
  • Drive app installations
  • Generate leads
  • Encourage your audience to message your page
  • Boost catalogue sales and conversions

On the other hand, use Facebook instant experience ads if you want to:

  • Increase traffic, brand awareness, and reach
  • Boost engagement
  • Drive app installations
  • Increase video views
  • Boost conversions
  • Improve store traffic

Make sure to consider the strengths and weaknesses of both ad types, too. For example, Facebook instant experiences are only good for mobile devices, while carousel ads work in both mobile and desktop view. So, you’ll need to factor in the kind of device or technology your target audience uses before you craft your Facebook Ads.

Wrapping it up

At the end of the day, the most effective Facebook ad depends on your strategy. And to create an effective Facebook ad strategy, you need to track data and create reports your marketing team can use to make data-driven decisions.

Reporting Ninja’s Facebook Reporting Services lets you do just that. With our platform, you can track the performance of your Facebook carousel ads, Facebook instant experience ads, and whatever else you’re running on the platform.

Plus, we make it easy to share your Facebook ad reports with your team and clients. Discover all the powerful analytics and reporting tools Reporting Ninja has to offer by signing up for our free trial today.

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