Do Instagram Carousels Still Outperform Reels?

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media marketing, staying on top of the latest trends and understanding how different content formats perform is crucial. Instagram, as one of the leading platforms in the digital marketing world, has undergone significant changes in recent years, particularly in the rise of Reels. However, the question remains: do Instagram carousels still outperform Reels?

Hypothesis: Instagram Carousels vs. Reels

To tackle this question, we set out with a hypothesis: Instagram carousels still earn more reach and engagement than Reels. Carousels have long been considered a highly engaging content format on Instagram, offering the ability to showcase multiple images in a single post. On the other hand, Reels burst onto the scene with their short, snappy video content, quickly gaining popularity.


Our experiment spanned three weeks, from mid-February to early March 2023. Here’s what we did:

  1. Each week, we created two sets of posts for a vintage home decor business account, “Dwelling on the Past.”
  2. Each set included one carousel and one Reel with similar content and captions, resulting in six carousels and six Reels in total.
  3. The first set of the week focused on educational content, while the second set was sales-focused.
  4. We posted each set at the same time (Wednesday or Friday at 9 am ET) and pulled the results from each post after 48 hours.
  5. At the end of each week, we awarded 2 points: 1 point to the format with the highest total reach for that week and 1 point to the format with the highest total engagement for that week.


Week 1:

  • Likes: Carousels 22, Reels 14
  • Comments: Carousels 0, Reels 1
  • Shares: Carousels 0, Reels 2
  • Saves: Carousels 2, Reels 0
  • Reach: Carousels 166, Reels 406

In Week 1, Reels had a broader reach, but carousels received more likes and saves.

Week 2:

  • Likes: Carousels 102, Reels 71
  • Comments: Carousels 10, Reels 19
  • Shares: Carousels 1, Reels 3
  • Saves: Carousels 2, Reels 3
  • Reach: Carousels 1,161, Reels 1,106

In Week 2, carousels received significantly more likes and had better reach than Reels.

Week 3:

  • Likes: Carousels 81, Reels 38
  • Comments: Carousels 9, Reels 6
  • Shares: Carousels 6, Reels 2
  • Saves: Carousels 6, Reels 1
  • Reach: Carousels 824, Reels 522

Once again, carousels outperformed Reels in Week 3.

Bottom Line

While Reels have made their mark on Instagram, carousels continue to be a valuable tool in your social media marketing arsenal. Understanding when and how to use each format effectively can help you maximize your reach and engagement on the platform.

For expert guidance on optimizing your social media marketing strategy, consider partnering with Social Buzzing, the best social media agency in Chester. Their expertise in digital marketing in Chester can help you stay ahead of the competition and achieve outstanding results on Instagram and other social platforms.

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