Facebook Canvas Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business + Examples from the Best Brands using them right now

From ASUS and American Express to small, in-their-infancy businesses, everyone’s experimenting with Facebook’s new canvas ads for different direct response objectives. And getting great results in the process.

Canvas is a class apart from other ad formats; it offers a full-screen, mobile-only, and high-on visual storytelling experience which isn’t offered elsewhere.


“Advertisers need a better way to share information after people click on their ad, and the information offered after someone clicks needs to load quickly, look beautiful on mobile and allow people to take action easily. We built Canvas to solve this problem.”
– Facebook


What, Why and How of FB Canvas Ads

Early Canvas ads have shown promising results: ‘53% of users that open a Canvas view at least half of it, and the average view time is a crazy 31 seconds!

And since then the stats have just gotten better.

Canvas ad, launched in 2016, is a full-screen interactive ad that compel your audience to become part of it. It’s hosted solely on Facebook’s mobile app and loads instantaneously; combating a frustrating mobile ad experience. 

Canvas ads on the surface resemble your ol’ newsfeed ads strongly. However, once you click on the small arrow near the bottom of the ad, it opens up taking the entire screen and pulling you in in a deeply engaging experience.

It consists of several elements all put together to create this stunning experience; image carousels, multiple CTA’s, hypnotizing text, hooking-you-in-instantly videos, and even your inventory.

The sky’s the limit, really.




And AirFrance’s canvas ad is a clear example of that.

They’ve made great use of videos, strategically placed CTAs, image carousels, and testimonials to persuade you to travel with them. Their goal is to get more customers through it, and by the end of their canvas ad you’ll be begging AirFrance for tickets.

Yes, it’s that good.






And it’s not just them

ASUS’s “End Bad Gifts” campaign during their 2015 shopping season saw amazing results with canvas ads.

According to Facebook, there was a 42% increase in clicks, and 70% of the people who clicked on their canvas ad went on to their website to explore.



Watchfinder’s great experiment

Watchfinder, described by the Financial Times as the “leading pre-owned e-tailer” for watches, decided to experiment with canvas ads to direct more users towards their sight an increase brand awareness. It worked tremendously well and the results show that.

Not only was their average CPC rate lowest amongst all their ad campaigns, but their engagement rates were pretty impressive, too.

  • 549 post likes compared with 170 for carousel ads and 46 for single image.
  • 30 shares Vs. 15 for carousel ads, and 0 for single image.
  • 308 page likes Vs. 88 for carousel ads.

Amazing, right?


But why should YOU use canvas ads?

  • You can inspire mobile shopping through it by displaying your inventory as a part of this ad. When your audience clicks on an item they like, they’ll be redirected to your website, which in turn would boost your conversions.
  • You can create a mini landing page for your audience. You can add different components in a single ad and create a beautiful brand experience for your audience. You can show them everything your brand has to offer by taking advantage of all the different components available like store locators, multiple CTAs, carousels, videos, persuasive text, and so on.
  • According to Salesforce, 71% of marketers believe mobile marketing is core to their business, and 58% of companies surveyed have a dedicated mobile marketing team. With it’s instantaneous loading speed and a hypnotic ad experience, this mobile-only ad format has the power to hook in mobile audiences and turn any brand’s mobile marketing strategy from meh to woah.


Lesson 101: How to create canvas ads?

Canvas ads are super easy to create. As Facebook ad exec, Mark D’Arcy, joked, “The only thing they can’t make, really, is excuses.”


Before you start…

Decide what your marketing goals are and what you want to achieve through these ads. Would you like to increase brand awareness? Send users to your website? Sell products? Get new customers?

Get clear about your goals before you embark on your canvas journey.


Setting up a Canvas

Step 1: Open your Facebook page and click on Publishing Tools. You’ll see a ‘Create’ button at the top right hand side of your page, click on that. Next, go to Photos\Videos option on the post box that pops up, and click on ‘Create a Canvas’.



Step 2: Click on the + sign that pops up.



Step 3: Click on Blank Canvas.



Step 4: Now, it’s time to get creative.

Name your canvas and start adding components you’d like to see in your ad. You can add videos and images that you’ve used previously. Play around with different placements, background and text colours, CTA buttons, themes, video lengths, headers, image carousels, and so on. Look at other ads for inspiration and create you super-persuasive, mini landing page.


facebook canvas builder


Step 5: When you’re satisfied and done, click Save. Remember, once you click Save, you can’t go back and edit your Canvas. So be very sure before you click it.

Once you’ve created your canvas and clicked Finish, Facebook will notify you on your Facebook app when your ad’s ready for preview.

You then have 3 options,

  • Upload your Canvas as a post on your Facebook page.
  • Use it for advertisement. I’ve given details below outlining the process.
  • Or duplicate it and change areas you’d like to edit.


Does it seem hard? No problem, Facebook has an answer to all your worries

To make this entire process even easier, Facebook launched their templates option for canvas ads.

You can choose from 3 of the following objectives:


facebook canvas ad templates 3 options


If you want to use templates for your canvas ad, follow the first two steps of creating a canvas ad from scratch.

And in Step 3, click ‘Explore Layouts’.


layouts in facebook canvas ad builder


Then in Step 4, click on the objective you’ve chosen for your ads and add your brand elements in the layout.

And done.

See, super-simple, right?


Turn your canvas into an ad

Now that you’ve created a fabulous canvas, you can add it to your ad through both, Power Editor and Ads Manager. I’d suggest using Power Editor since it’s the easier option, but choose whichever you’re comfortable with.


power editor create facebook canvas advertisment help



Or, you can use ads manager:


fb ads manager help create canvas ad



You can also publish the Canvas as a simple Facebook post or add it to a carousel ad through Ads Manager.


Best Practices for Creating Canvas Ads


1. Use CTAs effectively

Facebook allows you to add multiple CTA’s in every canvas ad you create. An amazing ad, rich with stunning visuals and strategically placed components, will not convert unless it’s followed by a clear call-to-action. You need to take your audience’s hand and lead them towards the action you want them to take. Each of your components should take the audience a little further towards your ad goal.  


fb canvas ad call to actions


A few things to keep in mind while adding CTA buttons:


  • Use contrasting colours for your button and it’s text. If your background color is white, experiment with a brighter color as your CTA button. Or underline them, make the text bold, or increase the text size.
  • Make sure that the CTA button and it’s text is big enough to stand out. Not so big that it’s intrusive to the ad experience, but not too small that people skip it altogether. Experiment with different sizes to see which works better.
  • You can add multiple CTAs in your Canvas, so utilise this feature. Add a CTA after each of your main elements, like the image carousels, brand videos, persuasive text, and follow it with a final CTA at the end. Each of these CTAs should have a single single objective. Don’t confuse your audience with different CTAs.




  • Your CTA text shouldn’t be boring. {Click Here} vs {Book Your 1 Hour Free Session Now} which would YOU click on? The latter right? Be creative. Succinctly tell your audience exactly why they should click on your CTA button.

They’re already primed and interested in your brand, seal the deal with a powerful CTA button.

And be sure to keep these design requirements in mind:


design requirements CTA FB Canvas Ad



2. Create a bold header with your logo

Facebook recommends adding your logo to the header and using it as the first canvas element. Don’t create a new logo or a different header, keep your brand images same across all social media channels.

Look at Target’s canvas ad here. They’ve kept it simple and used their logo as the header.


target fb canvas ad example



And be sure to keep these design requirements in mind when creating your header/logo:


design requirements image size fb canvas ad


3. Hook your audience in through persuasive text

Draw your readers through it by highlighting their pain points and how your product\service\brand can benefit them. Use it to give them more information about your products\services.


facebook canvas builder



Look how effectively they’ve used text right below the CTA to give more details about this flat.


4. Sell your products

Use Facebook Business Manager if you plan to sell products through Canvas ads.

Here’s where you can read more about adding products to your Canvas ads: 



5. Use the correct image and video sizes when uploading visuals.

For images:



For videos:



6. Have fun with different kinds of visuals

Canva is a visual storytelling format, and in order to fully utilize this platform and it’s many benefits, you need to experiment with different types of visuals.




You can play around with 360 degree images and videos, panoramic visuals, multiple carousels, animated videos, comic strips, BTS videos, and so much more. The list is endless. A simple video might get your message across too, but something different may resonate fabulously with your audience. Also, since a lot of brands play safe, you can get an edge over them by playing risky visual shots.


7. Conduct A\B tests

Split test different components for your ad’s first page and see which one’s best at hooking in your audience. Since the first thing your audience will see is the first page of your ad, make sure it’s powerful enough to make them click.

New to A\B testing? Facebook has a great guide for you!


8. Focus on a single message in each ad

Each of your component’s should focus on that one message. Don’t confuse your audience by adding in too many messages and CTA directions.

If you’re a fashion brand, focus on a single product, or a single product line in one ad. If you want to send users to your website, every element in your ad should try to send people to your website.


9. Budget wisely

Allow sufficient budget to test, optimize and shift spend around to the best performing ad sets. You may not get optimum results in the first try. Social media ads are all about testing till you get it right.


10. Track all elements separately

Include separate, trackable links for all clickable elements within the Canvas ad to determine which elements effectively sent people towards your website.


11. Make sure you final CTA drives users to a mobile-friendly landing page




Examples of brands using Canvas ads successfully

Canvas ads are easy to create and super fun to experiment with, aren’t they? Here’s how some popular brands experimented with canvas ads and you can, too.


  1. American Express – Blue Cash Everyday




  1. Kit and Ace – Luxury You Can Live In




  1. Mulberry – London Fashion Week




  1. Lowe’s Home Improvement – Coordinated Style




  1. Ford Cars – Ford VR




Breaking News: Facebook just introduced Canvas ads to Instagram

After Canvas’s incredible success, Facebook just a couple of days back introduced this ad format to Instagram, as well. Now you can now use this format in Instagram Stories and share them via Instagram direct message. So if your tribe’s at Instagram, you can experiment with this new ad format there.


“Marketers are able to use the creative versatility of Canvas to tell compelling brand and product stories. This seamless extension of the full screen experience allows advertisers to capture the attention of customers with just a single ad.” – Instagram


Have you experimented with Facebook Canvas Ads?  If not, what’s stopping you? 

Learn more

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