We recently launched live carousel programming from Instagram to Buffer. You can now schedule carousel posts to automatically post to Instagram without the need for reminders.
Buffer customers have been asking for direct carousel programming for a long time (it was the most requested feature in our last customer survey) and it doesn’t surprise us! There is a lot of evidence to suggest that carousel posts generate more interactions than image or video posts.
But is this really the case?
To find out, we looked at the 184 @Buffer posts posted to Instagram over the past year.
TL; DR, here are the results:
- Carousel engagement rate was 2.37% more than other publications.
- Our best performing publication of the year was a carousel publication.
- This is despite the fact that only 1/4 of the posts include carousels.
- Carousel posts were also saved twice as much as other posts.
It looks great, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a little more complex than that.
On average, our carousel posts have received less comments and likes. But this is probably due to our posting calendar instead of the carousel itself. Keep reading for more information. ⁇
Focus on participation rate, not average participation
The participation rate for our carousel posts was 2.37% higher than other places.
- Carousel participation rate: 3.45%
- Involvement rate for other publications: 3.37%
However, on average, the carousel posts received less likes and comments.
- Average Likes for Image Posts: 129
- Average Likes for Video Posts: 128
- Average likes for carousel posts: 87
How can this be?
Well, it’s important to consider impressions when analyzing commitments. Your audience can only like and comment on your posts if they see the post first. If your audience can’t see it, they can’t participate.
But why might someone lose your post? Well, Instagram’s algorithm won’t show all posts to all followers. Instead, they will display a custom feed based on When publications were published and how publications are made.
This means that our audience may lose carousel posts if we don’t post them consistently or if we post them at the wrong time of day. This will reduce impressions and commitments.
Therefore, instead of measuring average interactions, we measure the engagement rate:
- Commitment rate = (comments + clicks + likes + reactions) ÷ impressions
Because the engagement rate takes into account impressions, we can see how our audience is doing once they see the post.
Now we know if our audience voice a carousel post (compared to a video or image), they are more likely to participate.
Constantly creating carousels
Before direct programming of the Instagram carousel was available in Buffer, we had to set up reminders to program carousels on Instagram, opening the Instagram app every time we wanted to post.
Instead of making carousels a staple of our social media calendar, we had to put them on when we found time.
With this infrequent publishing program, we believe that our carousels were not always published at the right time. It means they didn’t get the impressions they deserved.
Today we can program Instagram carousels directly.
We can add them to our buffer queue to make sure they are published at the right time for involvement. Instead of posting whenever we are online and available, we can let Buffer take care of the programming and publish it at the right time for our audience.
We’d love to hear from you
Do Instagram carousels work best for your account? Will you use adding carousels to your queue? Do you have any suggestions on what to do next?
Let us know by sending us a tweet @buffer or by sending us a note using our feature request form.