90% of Facebook users are mobile. It goes without saying that Facebook had to find new ways to enhance user experience in mobile. Enter Facebook Canvas.
Facebook ads in mobile had a high rejection rate with users complaining about landing page loading times being a turn-off.
Marketers already have enough challenges while marketing on Facebook. Facebook decided to come up with an innovative tool that not only gives the user a customized landing page but also makes it easier for advertisers to publish quickly.
What is Facebook Canvas?
Canvas is a tool an advertiser can use to reach their target audience. It is a modular blank medium which an advertiser can customize the way he wants to tell his story.
When clicking a sponsored Canvas post, a user is taken to a landing page on Facebook itself; that uses a compelling mobile format designed by the advertiser. This ensures the user experience remains positive while giving the advertisers a creative medium to showcase their brand.
To better understand Facebook Canvas, we took it out for a spin. Let’s check that out…
How To Make a Facebook Canvas
Facebook allows you to publish a Canvas post from its publishing tools option within a Facebook fan page. You will find the ‘Canvas’ option at the bottom of the left sidebar menu.
By clicking ‘Create’, you can start creating your Facebook Canvas post.
In Canvas Builder, you will notice different sections. These sections can be added or removed based on, how you want your Canvas post to look.
The header image is an 882 x 66 rectangular image. You may not be able to use this to display your logo (as it suggests), but you can certainly give your Canvas post a one-liner. This one-liner stays on top even as you scroll through your Canvas, which is very useful for recall.
As mentioned earlier, if it’s too fancy for your taste, you can delete that section too. Just like any other section in the Canvas post.
You can add a section and move it up and down the builder to customize it. By clicking ‘add component’, you can select the section you would like to insert in the Canvas post.
Button: Adds a CTA to the post.
Carousel: Lets you add multiple images to the post
Photo: Adds a single image to the post
Text Block: Lets you add text to support your Canvas post
Video: Lets you add a video to the Canvas post
Once you are done creating your Canvas post, you need to save the file. You can then see the preview in your registered mobile.
If there are no more edits, you can finalize your Canvas by clicking ‘Finish’. You will not be able to make changes once you do this.
You have 3 options to use your Facebook canvas:
Duplicate: Makes a copy of your current Canvas post. You will be able to make changes to the duplicate draft using this option.
Get URL: You will get a URL to your Facebook Canvas post. You can use this in your ads.
Page Post: You can post it to your Facebook fan page directly from here. Clicking on the post will take you to the Canvas you created.
Facebook Canvas is only available for mobile. If a user clicks on this from his desktop, he will be prompted to use it from his mobile. This is how a typical Canvas post will look like.
Note: This Facebook fan page is created only for testing and has no real affiliations with any entity.
Promoting Your Facebook Canvas
You can boost this post using the traditional method to reach more people.
This works just like the traditionally boosted post. Instead of sending the user to a landing page, the user interacts with the Canvas in Facebook itself and then clicks the CTA to go to a landing page.
You can promote your Facebook Canvas using ads too. In Facebook Ads Manager, choose the goal ‘send visitors to your website’ and give the Facebook Canvas URL as the destination URL.
The advantage is that you can use a custom audience.
You can target users who have interacted with your website in the past. You can even target lead lists from a CSV file or upload a contact list directly from MailChimp.
The point is that the user has an extra page to interact with here. The CTA in the Canvas only allows you to send the user to a landing page. You cannot have custom CTAs like you have on your Facebook page.
Advantages of Canvas
Canvas gives a rich experience to the user interacting with your post. Facebook has managed to improve a user’s experience in mobile through this feature.
The Canvas is hosted by Facebook thus eliminating the rejections that happen due to a landing page not loading fast enough.
The Canvas is a very creative medium designed by Facebook. It essentially, as the name suggests, is a blank canvas which the advertiser can convert into a marvelous tapestry. The advertiser is limited only by his imagination.
To create complete ads which primarily invoke brand recall, advertisers had to depend on designers in the past. This dependency leads to delays in getting the creative ready. Facebook has managed to make the medium modular and hence advertisers can roll out their Canvas faster.
Shortcomings of Canvas
Facebook missed a trick here by not giving custom CTAs in Canvas. Canvas is about making the mobile ad experience better. Giving a custom CTA option like ‘Sign Up” or ‘Register’ or “Call Now” would have immensely helped the advertiser.
If Canvas was about taking ownership of the mobile experience, Facebook clearly lost the plot in the finale. After a user goes through the Canvas, he has to depend on the advertisers landing page for his action. Facebook should have controlled the entire experience which is why they built the Canvas in the first place.
With the present Canvas, they just delay the problems they were supposed to solve.
Facebook Canvas for Various Industries
Facebook Canvas has certain flaws, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great tool for advertising. With its incredible storytelling abilities, Canvas can be used by a variety of sectors.
Facebook is a very valuable tool for the real estate business and a Canvas is an essential shot in the arm for them. Real estate agents can run local campaigns of property listings using a Canvas. The user interacting with it will have a much better experience of the offering.
Suggested Reading: 6 Secrets to a Successful Facebook Real Estate
Imagine your local store is about to launch the next fall collection. They can run a campaign with Facebook Canvas to give their audience a sneak peek at what’s to come. They can run a week-long campaign with different Canvasses each talking about different styles by designers that’ll be on showcase.
Facebook Canvas is a great tool to drum up attention. Restaurants can use this to build a cult following by broadcasting the lunch special through a Canvas. The Canvas can run a short note from the chef about the dish followed by a carousel of pictures showing the delicacy which is being prepared. That would be a great way to build an appetite.
Target people who have looked for flights to tourist destinations. Give them a sneak peek of what to expect in Cairo at this time of the year though your Canvas. Providing useful info through your Canvas will increase the chances of the user signing you up as their travel guide. After all, you went the extra mile to talk to him.
These were some of the examples through which you can use Facebook Canvas. The format is still new, and its adoption rate needs to be looked at. Though it has a few rough edges, it still has great potential to draw a user into the advertisers space.
Do let me know about your experiences with Facebook Canvas in the comments section below. If you have any queries about it, ask them in the comments section, and I will clarify them for you.