Social Media

Creating an immersive experience with Canvas

In late 2015, Facebook began testing Canvas as a way for brands to tell their stories and showcase their products. Canvas offers an interactive, full screen of creative real estate that can be customized with video, images and text, in a fast-loading and mobile-optimized experience.

Image Credit: Marketing Land

When users open an ad with a Canvas on their mobile device, they can interact with the Canvas through taps, pans and swipes without ever leaving Facebook. It also also has the ability to link to any website where users can learn more about a brand or purchase items they browsed on the Canvas.

Why should Brands use it?

  • Rich Storytelling
    • Canvas provides brands with unprecedented creative control on a mobile, in-app experience, giving them the ability to choose the combination of creative assets (text, images, carousel, 360 video) that best tells their story.
  • Advanced Mobility
    • Canvas is designed specifically with mobile in mind, and functions similar to Instant Articles for news stories, which loads 10x faster than standard mobile sites.
  • Seamless Experience
    • Canvas helps connect brands with their potential customers in an interactive and entertaining way that creates a seamless in-app experience. Canvas is also native to Facebook, allowing users to experience a brand’s story without ever having to leave their News Feed.
Why should Social Marketers use it?
  • Self-Serve Advertising
    • Currently, Canvas has been in beta and had to be built on the backend from Facebook; having a self-serve tool allows advertiser to create these rich media units.
  • Multiple Objectives
    • For small businesses: a replacement for a mobile site.
    • For branding advertisers: tell an overall or specific brand story.
    • For direct response advertisers: drive users down the funnel.
    • For e-commerce advertisers: host a product feed so potential customers can convert within the app.
  • Creative Flexibility
    • The Canvas creation tool offers six components to visually tell a brand’s story: Photos, Tilt-to-pan, Video, Carousel, Text, and Buttons.

When is Canvas Available?

Currently, brands have the ability to request access to the Canvas Editor, which will become available on their business page once approved. To request early access to Canvas, fill out this form. For Social Marketers, there is a wait. Facebook has opened Canvas to 5% of advertisers as a Beta program; by February 28th, 100% of global advertisers will have access to the Canvas ad creation tool.

Our Recommendations:

Tell a story: Ads with the Canvas experience perform better when the creative both tells a story and promotes a product. For example, feature a collection or attributes of a product rather than a long list of products.

Make it interactive: With Canvas, you can also include horizontal scroll elements so people can explore your story more deeply. This lets people engage with the products or attributes that resonate most with them.

Experiment: This is a new in-app experience. Marketers are exploring innovative new ways and using creative elements to achieve their business objectives.

For additional Canvas guidelines download the Canvas Creation Tool Tips document.


Tom Murray, Manager, Paid Social, and  Maddie Davis, Manager, Paid Social, contributed to this article.