After the success of carousel ads and Slideshow, Facebook has now launched a more immersive ad format for advertisers called Canvas. This new mobile-only ad unit takes over the full screen of mobile phone users and can have text, videos,images and call-to-action buttons, like a mini website within the ad.
Mark D’Arcy, Chief Creative Officer, Facebook said in a press briefing, “The ability to create immediate action and immediate connection with people through these products and others is really important to us and will continue to be so. We were looking to build an immersive space for the creative community and that’s why we are launching Canvas which is a new space for big ideas. It would be most exciting when the creative community around the world would pick up this canvas and start imagining things we never would thought would work. This is a very big moment not just for Facebook but also mobile.”
Partnering with the creative community
Canvas is launched as a more interactive and entertaining experience for brands and their audience. The ad product has vertical and horizontal interactivity.
Facebook designed the new ad product in partnership with the creative community to get a sense of what the advertisers needed. “We made the creative community a priority when we designed and built Canvas. It’s a product that represents our commitment to creative craft and delivering the best mobile experience for businesses and people,” Chris Jones, Head of Creative Technology, Facebook Creative Shop said.
Speed for 2G connections
The company highlighted that almost 50 per cent of responsive mobile sites take over five seconds to load. About 40 per cent of consumers abandon a site that takes over four seconds to load. Canvas, claims Facebook, addresses this issue and loads instantaneously in less than one second, even on 2G connections. Zach Hendlin, Product Manager, Facebook said, “Canvas loads ten times faster than the mobile web which is great for countries with slow connections such as India and Indonesia.”
Response from the initial tests
According to Facebook’s early tests with select advertisers, 53 per cent view more than half the Canvas. Paresh Rajwat, Project Lead, Facebook explained, “People loved the ads from the initial tests. Average view time for Canvas was 31 seconds. For top advertisers, people spent more than a minute engaging with the ad unit.”
Mr Rajwat added, “Creating on Canvas does not require any code or software and Facebook says it is very easy to create campaigns on the platform.”
The APAC focus
ASUS and Audi have already started using the format in APAC. ASUS created a Canvas with the theme ‘end bad gifts’ during the 2015 holiday shopping season. The brand saw a 42 per cent increase in clicks on their ad, and people who clicked into their Canvas spent an average of 12 seconds viewing the content. Plus, 70 per cent of the people who clicked on the Canvas ad went to the ASUS website after exploring the Canvas.
Mr Hedlin said that APAC has been a focus for Facebook in the beta test, besides the Western markets. “When we started having alpha partners for this, we made sure that Asia was part of it, rather than a second thought. The first advertiser who ran a campaign in more than five countries at once was from APAC. People in Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia are embracing this ad unit in truly creative ways.”
Fergus O’Hare, Head of APAC for Creative Shop, Facebook said, “We are super excited about the launch of Canvas in APAC. This is really going to be transformational for brands in APAC and it is a great way to take people through a creative journey.”
The ad unit is launching globally starting February 26, 2016 and will be available in the Facebook Power Editor.