What On Earth Is A Facebook Canvas Ad And Why Aren’t We Using Them? – 1 Minute Moment #79

What On Earth Is A Facebook Canvas Ad And Why Aren’t We Using Them?

Facebook Canvas ads were launched in February 2016 and until today I’d never created one. I’d played alright. When I checked today I found two empty drafts. Why have I been ignoring what could be a great advertising tool?

The killer statistic

In May 2016, Facebook released some pretty impressive stats about Canvas ads. The most eye-catching being

The average view time is 31 seconds, 31 seconds of someone looking at your ad. That’s pretty great. 31 seconds someone is spending with your brand.

I’m not sure if they are still getting that sort of traction but I’ve decided to stop procrastinating and set one up. But first…

What are Facebook Canvas ads?

Canvas ads are an ad creative type that work exclusively on mobile. They can consist of a single, large element or a series of elements that help tell a story about your business.

When people click the ad they canvas fills the screen and users can interact with them. The good ones are essentially mini interactive websites.

Look at this one from American express blue

And this one from Citrone

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The Canvas options

When you set up a Canvas ad you are prompted to choose from three options:

1. Single screen

This is a big image that will be revealed when someone clicks. It will fill the whole screen. In their guides, Facebook recommends adding a headline to the image using photoshop. At the bottom of the image is your call to action, you can send people to a blog article, a landing page a services page, whichever will work best for you.

2. Storytelling

This type of Canvas ad is the one that captured my imagination. You can add multiple elements including video, images, canvas and text blocks to tell a story about your business.

In their guide, Facebook suggest you to start with a hero image. Those who click will be able to interact with each aspect of the story. The American Express ad above is a great example of how this will work.

3. Fullscreen Media

Start with a video and show people more images and media to guide them through a story. This is very similar to the Storytelling option above but you are limited to where you can add links

The elements of a canvas ad

A Storytelling of Fullscreen Media ad can consist of different elements. These are:

  • Full canvas
  • Header
  • Photo
  • Text block
  • Button
  • Carousel
  • Video
  • Product set

Access the Facebook guide to find out the dimensions for each of these.

How to create a Canvas

At the heart of a good canvas ad is a story. It’s the story that should drive your ad creation.

Start by defining the story you want to tell. What is the problem that the content, product or service solves. What is the key takeaway for your audience?

It’s a bit like writing a blog post.

Take another look at the American Express Blue example.

The takeaway is:

‘You can create these amazing Smores right now if you order the ingredients on Instacart with your American Express blue card’

It reels us in with the temptation of smores and shows us how to make them.

Breaking down the story

Now you know your story break it down into elements

  • How will you present the problem?
  • Do you have an image that will tell the story?
  • How can it be solved?
  • Can you include a how-to video (like the recipe video in the American Express example?)
  • Do you have a series of products that will help? You can create a carousel of images each one linking to your website product pages.
  • Do you have a testimonial you can include?
  • Do you have an image to accompany it?
  • What’s the result of your efforts. A happy customer? A problem resolved?
  • Don’t forget the calls to action, ad more than one so you are capturing people who don’t reach the end of your ad.

Now you have the elements in place you can go and create your ad. You can set up a Canvas in the ‘Publishing Tools’ section of your Facebook page or within the ads interface.

Create a Canvas in the 'Publishing Tools' section of your Facebook page
Create a Canvas in the ‘Publishing Tools’ section of your Facebook page

*Note: It’s much easier to create your canvas in the Publishing tools section and select it when creating your ad.

Measuring results from your Canvas ads

We saw the statistic above from Facebook, People stay looking at Canvas ads for an average of 31 seconds but what metrics can we measure from our Canvas ads and where do we find them?


Facebook offers us the following:

  • View Duration
  • View Percentage
  • Canvas Component Duration Percentage

Where to find your results

From ads manager select ‘Customise columns’ from the drop down menu

Choose 'Customise comments' to find your Canvas metrics
Choose ‘Customise comments’ to find your Canvas metrics

Select the ‘Canvas metrics’ from the list

Select the Canvas metrics
Select the Canvas metrics

What’s next?

Canvas ads offer an immersive experience to your audience. They could end up engaging them far more than any other ad type but they take time.

Sit down and think about the story you could tell with a Canvas ad. It could be well worth the time spent.



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What On Earth Is A Facebook Canvas Ad And Why Aren't We Using Them?
What On Earth Is A Facebook Canvas Ad And Why Aren’t We Using Them?

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