Digital Marketing

How Effective Can Carousel Formats be in Digital Marketing? An Understanding

Carousel formats are your answer to building a smarter and faster mobile web experience. The design format has become a recent buzz in the Internet World with platform giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple News gradually adopting it as part of their web technologies. However, Carousels is not a new format. It was already an existing web design practice and is a relevant example of Responsive Recyclation – a new term in this rapidly changing Internet world, where aside from the adoption of new technologies and designs, developers, and advertisers are implementing the existing ones in different ways.

The main objective of this article is to discuss the effectiveness of the different carousel formats when used for digital marketing. But implementing advanced or trending marketing strategy plan can only become effective when there is a proper understanding as to what kind of technology one is going to deal with. Therefore, before you even get on ahead with understanding Google AMP carousel or the ones that had rolled out recently by social media giants like Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter, let’s begin by trying to understand the carousel format and its UI.

Carousels: A Basic Understanding of its Purpose

The carousel design format helps to optimize the screen space by displaying a subset of images in a horizontal line pattern. The images come in thumbnail style and come as a cyclic pattern with a long list of three to five images. The circular navigational control basically suggests there is more content to see but which are currently not visible. The format encourages the viewer to continue browsing if something captures their attention.

The viewer can click on any one of the navigational controls indicated by arrows pointing either up/down or left/right. When clicked, the subsequent contents are loaded, resulting in the requested items to come into focus.

Some of the traits that make the carousel design format a good mobile web experience when it comes to using it for promotional purpose are –

  • Allows multiple pieces of content to get featured at the same place, one at a time
  • Allows the display of featured information that is related to a brand
  • Comes with a singular framework that contains both the text and the image

Effectiveness of using the Carousel Format for Social Media Promotion

This has been a general outline as to what a carousel format is. Over the recent years, the format has undergone a number of transitions as different digital platforms have tried to experiment with it. The result it, each one of them has given the original design format a completely new meaning in the digital marketing world. Take for example Google’s AMP carousel, a fast-tracking content serving model that uses the specific AMP HTML, AMP JS, and AMP Cache code to cut down the total page-load time.

You can even consider the latest Instagram video carousel roll-out that allows users to create videos as long as 60-seconds time length. The image sharing platform believes that there are certain things that can be best conveyed with the help of videos. This can could to sale conversions as well.

The carousel format thus, is an effective medium of promotion compared to other digital ad formats. According to the information posted by Facebook for Business, the carousel ad format had resulted in lower investment rates. Advertisers have witnessed a lower cost per conversion by 30 to 50 percent and a lower cost per click by 20 to 30 percent. This comparison has been drawn based on an analysis set against single-image ad links. But if you are not convinced with the results yet, here are some more examples as to how some of the popular brands have used the carousel format and have found engagement successfully –

  • Foodpanda

This online food order delivery service app has found an increased click-through-rate by 180 percent in comparison to a 39 percent reduction in the cost per installation.

  • Neiman Marcus

This fashion retail brand discovered an 85 percent increase in click-through-rates and thrice the conversion by using the carousel ad format for highlighting individual brand products.

  • MVMT Watches

Using the carousel ad format had led this luxury timepiece brand to experience an increase in its click-through-rates by 75 percent and one of the lowest prices per acquisition that the company has experienced.

Instagram might not have revealed how companies using the Carousel ads have benefitted from the technology. But it sure has left behind a slight hint revealing that the image-sharing mobile app has helped a select group of companies in forming their creative concepts. Here are some of the names of organizations that have used the Instagram carousel for their branding campaigns.

  • Showtime

The feature allows the brand to engage with their fans prior to the release of a new franchise. With the carousel ad, the advertisers are able to highlight the key characters thus providing the audience an opportunity to connect deeper with the show.

  • Samsung

Not only does the carousel format allows brands to promote the individual features of a particular product but also use it as a tutorial. Every carousel ads of the new Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone is a mini photography tutorial that also helps the brand to full potential and power of the smartphone camera qualities.

  • Banana

Advertising a particular product or service is not enough if your target audience has no idea about its relevance. Brands, therefore, need to educate customers about their product and its usage. This is what the clothing retailer does with Instagram carousel when reaching new customers. Banana Republic SVP and Customer Experience GM, Aimee Lapic observes the win-win opportunity by creating relevant contents that make customer shopping experience easier.

Brand Marketing and Carousel Format with Google AMP

While using the social marketing carousel format might help many brands to generate results, the one thing that led me to grow suddenly curious is how the Google AMP might perform when it comes to brand marketing. The next bit of the discussion might seem to be a comparison between the carousel formats of social media platforms on one side and the Giant search engine on the other side. However, hopefully, this will make things clear for those who are yet finding it hard to understand as to why they should be using the Google AMP carousel or even the carousel format of other social media platforms.

Originally the AMP format was designed keeping in mind the industries surrounding the news and the media publishers. However, even large economies were invited to use the open source platform, which proves that the giant platform aims at changing the overall performance of every website page on the mobile SERP.

An analysis of different search queries was performed and this is what has been found out –

  • Almost 12 percent of the total number of publisher pages (166) analyzed, were generating almost 50 percent of the rankings
  • 80 percent of publisher pages (133 out of 166) had lesser than 5 article ranking
  • 4 percent of the AMP rankings were also getting generated from non-news publishers

Hence, even brands other than publishers have a scope to generate better ranking using the carousel format on Google AMP. But to give you a general ranking overview, here are some results that have surfaced from using the AMP ranking –

  • The Truth about Guns

This is a small blog website and is not affiliated to the USA Today. However, what Google perceives is the storehouse of valuable information that is related to gun ethics. The website has a minimum of three out of ten articles that were AMP ranking for the search query ‘Guns’.

  • SB Nation

It’s a rising sports media website that does not have any legacy of sports publishers. However, the website claims almost 40 percent of the AMP results for queries related to sports news.

  • Buzzfeed

The result of Buzzfeed surfacing to the top every time a search query is made using the key term ‘graduation’ indicates that Google’s AMP queries are focused on the feel or the seasonal aspect of news. The particular content might or might not be of any use, however, the growing popularity of the search query like ‘graduation’ indicates that it will rise to the surface and will continue to draw viewer attention even if the content remains the same.

This shows that while brands using the Social media carousel format might not have to think much about content optimization, they would need to do this in the case of Google’s AMP format. That’s because unless you are an authority on a particular niche, it might get difficult to get an AMP article ranking on the mobile search engine results page.

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