Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Carousel Ads

No doubt you’ve seen one or two carousel ads in your news feed since Facebook released them last year. You’ve probably seen them more and more on your phones too because in May, Facebook also announced they were opening carousel ads for mobile. Digital marketers rejoiced. Why? Carousel ads have proven to be very effective at driving conversions and lowering cost-per-click.

In an internal study Facebook surveyed 9,000 ad sets and compared data between single-image ads and carousel ads and found that carousel ads:

  • lowered cost-per-conversion by 30-50%
  • lowered cost-per-click 20-30% over single-image link ads

Those are some serious results! But for marketers, what’s the best part about carousel ads?

They allow for more creative ways for you to get in touch with your target audience. In an age where consumers are bombarded by brand messaging, carousel ads give you some new, creative ways to get in front of your audience.

Carousel ads allow you to not only post multiple images, but multiple sets of captions, and allow you to link to multiple landing pages on your site. Multiple products, multiple landing pages throughout the sales funnel… The possibilities are near endless!

Proven Ways to Use Carousel Ads

Below are some ways that brands are currently using carousel ads to great success!

Showcase multiple products: Perhaps the most popular use case, carousel ads allow you to show images of multiple products. There are two ways you can approach this: you can either share similar products, like a collection of summer dresses, or products that go well together such as a matching pair of hat, scarf and shoes each highlighted with their own image.

Tell a story: Use the additional image space to tell a story about your products or service. Take your customers through the journey from start to finish. Talk about a problem that you business solves, then solve it for the customer. Use this format to elicit an emotional response from your customer, draw them in with the first image, then keep them engaged with the following images.

Use the space for larger panoramic image: Take advantage of the new, wider viewing area by creating an image that spans the whole width of the carousel ads. Whether you are simply showing an amazing image or showcasing different parts of your product, this is a very creative use of space and will keep your customers interested as they click through – hoping to find out what’s next in the ad.

User/client testimonials: For many companies, testimonials are a driving force in building the necessary trust to gain more clients. Use the multiple images and captions to feature all of your testimonials. The key here is to keep it short and sweet, you need to make the most of the limited characters you get!

New blog posts: If you are a blogger or a brand that has a ton of content to share, consider creating a carousel ad that links to some of your more popular blog posts. If you’d like to push targeted blog posts out to a very specific, targeted audience, carousel ads are a great way to do that!

Enough about examples, let’s jump into how to build your own ad.

Creating Your First Carousel Ad

The ability to build carousel ads was just recently released in Ads Manager so everyone has the ability to create their own carousel ads. You should be using power editor to create your ads, but we will cover more on that later. For now, let’s use Ads Manager to build your carousel ad.

An important distinction with carousel ads is that they are only available under the following campaign objectives:

  • Clicks to Website
  • Website Conversions

So once you have chosen you objective in ads manager, chosen your target audience and budget you can get into the fun part!

Under the “How do you want your ad to look?” section, this is where you can choose the carousel ad option. Select “Multiple images in one ad”.

Once you’ve selected “multiple images in one ad” the ad creation tool below will change to look something like this.

Let’s break this down.

The first thing you will do is enter the custom text that will appear above your ad. This text will not change with each smaller image, so choose something that introduces your audience to the ad, and preps them for what they will see below. You have 90 characters to grab their attention and hold it!

Next, as we scroll down are two check boxes in the “Images and Links” tab, I will explain each of these.

  • “Automatically show the best performing images” – This option will optimize your ads based on performance. Facebook will automatically re-order your images when more people click on them, putting the highest performing ads first. If you uncheck this box, your images will always appear in the order you upload them. Important: If you want your ads to tell a story, uncheck this box.
  • “Add a card at the end with your page profile picture” –  Facebook calls each individual ad a ‘card’ within a carousel ad. If your ad only has 2 images (or cards), Facebook will automatically add your profile picture to the last card in the series. Add more than 3 cards to your series to be able to uncheck this box.

Next, on to creating the actual cards within the carousel ad!

The carousel ad card creation section should look like this. An explanation of the sections below.

  1. Uploading your Images – Choose something eye popping from your library or choose from Facebook’s collection of stock photos. Recommended size for these images is 600 x 600 pixels.
  2. Headline – The larger blue text below your images. You get 40 Characters to play. Make them worth it.
  3. Link Description – The gray text below the headline. Again, you get 20 characters. It’s tough, but you can make it work!
  4. Destination URL – These are not visible on carousel ads like they are in single image ads. An important distinction with carousel ads is that you can use the same URL across all of the cards in your ad, or you can have each card go to a different URL. This is where you can send people to different landing pages or different product pages, depending on what image in the ad is clicked.
  5. To upload more cards, click the 1,2,3, across the top to edit each ad. Click the + to add more cards to your ad if you have more than 3 cards you would like to ad.

Here’s what each space looks like when added into an ad.

Call to Action Button: This is optional, and based on the length of copy you use, it has the potential to cut off some of some copy, so use your best judgement here. Always double and triple check your ad preview before you move forward with a CTA Button.


Finally, you should disable ads on the desktop right column and the audience network. Carousel ads only work on mobile news feed and desktop news feed, so you don’t want Facebook to attempt to serve your ads on these two options.

Once you are happy with how your ad appears in the preview, Review your order and place it!

Ta-da, you’ve created your first carousel ad!

Optimizing Your Carousel Ads

Here are some general tips for making the most of your carousel ads.

As mentioned above, an important decision you need to make when you decide to create a carousel ad is whether or not you want your cards to have a predetermined sequence, or if you want Facebook to automatically optimize the cards within your ad based on their performance. If you want your ads to always be displayed in the order that you create them, you need to be sure you uncheck “Automatically show the best performing images” which by default is checked when you create a carousel ad.

If you are creating your own images for your carousel ads make sure they are optimized for 600×600 pixel viewing. You don’t want any of your creative to be cut off because you used the standard 1200×628 pixel Facebook ad image format.

As with any other Facebook ad, your image can contain text, but no more than 20% of the image may be covered with text. Use Facebook’s Grid Tool to determine if your image is in compliance. Also keep in mind your image will be smaller, so if your font is too small, your audience might not be able to read the text.

Have you tried creating carousel ads? What has worked for you? We would love to hear from you about your successes or how we can help you build better carousel ads! Ask away in the comments below.