Instagram wants you to share a more complete picture of your experiences in its classic feed, not just its Snapchat Stories clone. Today, Instagram launches the ability to share a mix of up to 10 photos or videos as a single carousel post that friends can swipe through. You can think of them as Instagram albums that collect permanent photos or videos around a theme. The feature rolls out globally on iOS and Android over the next few weeks.
“You no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an experience you want to remember” Instagram writes. This furthers Instagram’s quest to be more than where you “only get to see the highlights”, that Systrom described as the motive behind launching Instagram Stories.
If Instagram can take the pressure off posting one perfect photo through Stories, the algorithmic feed, and these new carousel posts, it can lure in more content to satisfy its voracious 600 million monthly users.
Now when Instagram users go to post to the feed, they’ll see a button for selecting multiple photos. Users can then edit up to 10 photos and videos individually or with a single filter on everything, chooe their order, and tag friends in each. A single caption and location, as well as likes and comments, will apply to the whole post. For now, all the imagery must be in the square format.
When shared to the feed, friends will see a set of blue dots on the post to indicate it’s a carousel. They can swipe back and forth to see all the photos and videos. The first photo plus the dots will represent the carousel on a user’s profile.
Instagram suggests that you could use the new feature to “Share your favorite moments of your best friend’s surprise birthday party, from setting up to when they walk through the door. Or create a step-by-step cake recipe that people can always find on your profile.”
Instagram first launched photo ad carousel posts back in 2015 and expanded those to include video last year. Now they can share up to 10 images, not just 5.
By bringing this ability to users, Instagram might be able to normalize the practice of swiping on posts, which could get more users exploring the rest of these carousel ads. And if it makes people feel like they can tell a story without Stories, it’s one more reason not to use Snapchat.