Introducing Canvas ads

May 24th, 2016

Earlier this year, Facebook launched Canvas ads –full screen ads that are viewed in the mobile app. These ads provide a whole range of new possibilities to advertisers. Facebook describe them as ‘an immersive and expressive experience on Facebook for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products’.

Facebook can already boast a long list of big names that are taking advantage of this new, more creative way of advertising. Brands such as Wendy’s, Jim Beam and Vodafone were all early adopters.

But how does it all work?

When viewed on the news feed, the ads start as an image, but with the option to click through and view more. When launched, users are taken onto an immersive micro-site type page within the app. This can consist of a variety of features, including interactive elements, which allow the user to swipe, tilt and click on the content. The ads also allow users to click through to the advertiser’s own site in order to learn more about the brand.

Last year Carnival, early test partners of the ads, reported they were capturing users’ attention for up to three minutes at a time, and 50% of people who opened the ad scrolled through until the end.

Here at Front Page we wanted to give canvas a test-drive, so we set up an ad to promote Beyond words: an exhibition by Poster Project. We used a combination of copy, images and videos as well as a call to action for users to click through to the Poster Project website.

canvas ads on iphone screen

The results were promising. 0.95% of users who viewed the ad on their news feed clicked to ‘find out more’ and viewed the full canvas ad. Of those who saw the full ad, 52% went on to visit the website. That’s a click through rate of 0.50%.

Compare that to the last ‘clicks to website’ ad we ran, which had a click through rate of 0.34%. To put these figures in context, according to The Sales Force Social Facebook Ads Benchmark report, the average click through rate on a Facebook ads in the UK is 0.327%.

We’ll need to get more than one set of positive results before we proclaim canvas to be the king of Facebook advertising, but from everything we’ve seen so far it’s a really exciting new option.

I’m a big fan of these ads as they allow a lot more creativity and autonomy than the standard Facebook ad. They give advertisers a lot more freedom to create something unique and suitable to their own brand and results from early test partners, as well as our own were really positive.

As everything else on Facebook, the ads are bound to evolve, the process will likely be refined, and perhaps we can look forward to some new content options too. I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open to see what Facebook does next.

Good at social media, working with the creative team and lifting comically large weights.