Although it may not seem revolutionary at first glance, Instagram has just taken a significant step toward being a more robust and brand-friendly social platform.
In an official blog post featuring an illustrative video, the photo-sharing network explains that now "you can combine up to 10 photos and videos in one post and swipe through to see them all."
For a long time it has been possible to combine photos into a collage post, but since each additional photo means making all photos smaller to cram them into the space of one post, this is not an ideal solution for all purposes. And while Instagram's Snapchat-copycat "Stories" feature is somewhat similar to the carousel in that it combines a series of photos or videos into one Story, these disappear after 24 hours.
This update is important because it takes over a function of Facebook, long the platform of choice for posting albums of pictures. For many who want to leave Facebook behind because they're tired of political arguments or because, in the case of the younger set, their parents are on Facebook, the carousel update makes it easier to make that break completely, knowing they'll be able to post an album from their vacation or wedding.
Another important consequence for brands: Instagram users will get in the habit of swiping left and right to see more content, thereby becoming more comfortable with carousel ads, which have already been available to advertisers but different enough from a normal Instagram post that users might not have been inclined to swipe—until now.
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