June 16, 2023

Carousels That Shouldn't Be Carousels

Why do so many brands bury their message?

That's one of things that irks me about carousel posts on social media. They give the hook in the first image, teasing the audience about a surprising truth, but they don't reveal it in the next slide. They try to tease the audience some more. And then some more. They make you swipe until the last slide.

I hate it because of three things:

  • It's insulting. It might have worked before, when carousels were new, but it became tiring. It's just obvious manipulation now. To get you to swipe and tell the algorithm that the post is engaging.
  • It's the equivalent of that person you talk to at an event who rambles on and on, never really landing on his point. You know that guy. When you ask him a question, he says so many other things except what you asked about. Or that colleague who always talks in meetings, but doesn't add new insights. He overcompensates, talking for too long to look good. And that's how it looks in carousels—they don't have much to say, but still want to take up all the space.
  • It wastes my time. Those slides preceding the key message don't add any value. You got me at the hook. We don't need more teasing. Say what you want to say. Tell me the most important thing you've got to share, and then follow that up with arguments that support it.

Those carousels just add to the noise. Don't post a carousel with 10 images because that's what the "best practice" is. A short, well-delivered message in an image is better.

If you want to post a carousel, make them want to swipe because you're interesting. Don't make them swipe because you're rambling, only to find out there isn't much substance in the end.

You'd leave the audience thinking, "Fool me once..."