What is Facebook Canvas?
Canvas ads are Facebook’s newest ad format and can be a real goldmine, if you learn how to use them effectively. Instead of forcing your audience from the social network to a landing page like traditional link and video ads, canvases add a unique step.
On clicking a Facebook canvas ad a full screen ‘canvas’ appears providing a variety of engaging and rich media that describes a product or service, just like the GoPro example below.
Companies like JustEat, KFC and Kate Spade are using these canvases to their advantage, engaging potential customers and providing people with more information than they can in conventional link and video ads.
Here are my top tips to help you use canvas ads effectively.
1. Make the Content Engaging
By using canvas ads you are effectively adding another step into the customer journey, which can lead to one of two outcomes. Either canvas ads are the point when potential customers exit back to Facebook or they can be a convincing intermediary to convert.
The difference between these two? The content. Make sure that the content in the canvas is succinct, relevant and interesting. It should provide information that the customer didn’t know previously, presented in an engaging way that will make them more likely to click through.
Check out this canvas from the New Yorker - their content is succinct but informative, making it easy and compelling to read.
2. Easy Navigation
With so many features to choose from, canvas ads can be a navigational nightmare. So make sure to really spell it out.
If you create a carousel that requires users to swipe to view more, write “swipe left to view more.” If you use a tilt to pan image, (which requires the viewer to tilt the screen to view more of the image) write “tilt the screen”.
It can be really frustrating not being able to navigate with ease and might mean viewers miss pivotal content.
3. Focus on the Visual
Even if you have fantastic information about your product, company or offer, you need to break the message up with images and video that highlight the points in your text.
Facebook is an image based platform and canvas ads are the most visual of all the formats on offer.
From tests we’ve conducted internally, canvases containing engaging images and video have way outperformed plainer canvases. This Kate Spade advert uses the visual aspect of canvas to their advantage.
4. Stick to a Theme
With so many options for separate components to include, it can be really easy to get carried away and forget about the overall impact.
Target make some of my favorite canvas ads and their canvases all have one thing in common: a theme.
Choose pastels, choose blues, choose a certain font or even your company colors - it’s up to you, just make sure you choose an overarching look for your canvas, to make it feel cohesive.
5. Keep Your Campaign Goal in Mind
When making your canvas keep your goal in mind. If you want people to fill out a form, add in buttons which call for people to click through to the website.
If you’re selling products add in images of these products and link them to a page where you can buy them.
If you want to promote brand image add in promotional videos and make sure there’s an engaging storytelling aspect to your copy.
You need to specialize your canvas to your end goal in order to best achieve it.
6. Test Everything
There’s actually 6 things to do to make canvas ads work (I lied) but this step applies to everything you do on Facebook or any PPC platform.
The final step is the unchanging rule of digital marketing - test, test, test and once you’ve tested everything test again.
Canvas ads are no different - design lots and test them all, comparing each against various KPIs.
Test them with different audiences, different contexts and different ad creative. You’ll be surprised what works best.