Lately its seems that Facebook is releasing a major new feature on an almost weekly basis! In this past week Facebook have launched a major new feature called Canvas! Facebook canvas allows us to combine the power of:

  • Images
  • Text
  • Call To Action Buttons

To create fully immersive full screen mobile ad experiences. The idea is to help you create a mobile experience that will allow you to tell your brands story and showcase your products.

Check out the video below to see what a Facebook Canvas Ad actually looks like once the target audience has clicked through and it is opened as a full screen advert.

You can create a Canvas Ad using the Canvas Builder in Power Editor. When your Canvas Ad is shown to your target audience you can tap and swipe and pan without leaving Facebook, they will also be able to follow links to a website where they can learn about your brand/product/service in more detail.

Canvas Ads are displayed in the Facebook news feed and when mobile users tap on the Canvas the fully immersive experience begins! I personally think this is a great idea as it solves one of the biggest problems marketers have on Facebook – distraction! How many times are you looking at one thing on Facebook only to see something else more interesting/appealing and look at that instead – fairly often I am willing to be!

Canvas employs a similar tactic to landing/squeeze/opt in pages and removes any distraction and encourages the user to take the desired action by reducing the options available. Its a great idea and ads to Facebook’s ever growing arsenal of of powerful advertising tools.

Canvas Ads can be targeted to appear on Android & iOS or just one of the other – so you can easily cater to your desired target audience. Operating system based targeting could be extremely useful for those marketing within the App industry, Imagine how appealing a full screen video would be a brand new 3d mobile game!

When running Canvas Ads you will be able to view your statistics just like any other kind of Ad using Facebook Ad insights – all of the regular numbers will be available as well as additional ones for Canvas:

  • Average Duration of Canvas Viewed: The average amount of milliseconds people have spent viewing and interacting with your Canvas
  • Average % of Canvas Viewed: The average amount of your Canvas people have swiped through (ex: If your Canvas has 4 screens and on average people view 2, you’ll see 50% for this insight)

These statistics will help you to understand how engaged your target audience are with the immersive experience you have created! For example if you have 4 screens in your canvas and on average people are only viewing two (as shown above) you will be able to determine that people are losing interest on the second screen and have the opportunity to analyze this to find out why people are not feeling compelled to move to the  next screen.

At present these stats are only available for Canvases created as part of a Facebook Ad – however in due course I am sure they will be developed further and be available for any Canvas experience created for Facebook. You can add these statistics to your reports by following these steps:

  1. Go to Ads Manager
  2. Click Manage Ads
  3. Click the Columns dropdown
  4. Select Customize Columns
  5. Click Canvas
  6. Check the boxes next to Average Duration of Canvas Viewed and/or Average % of Canvas Viewed, depending on what you want in your report

So I am sure by now your thinking this all sounds great and I am sure you have a few creative ideas of how you might use Facebook Canvas Ads in your own campaigns but I guess your wondering  – how much do these Canvas Ads cost? Well the great news is that Canvas Ads do not cost any more than regular Facebook Ads and you can control your spending in exactly the same way!

In today’s post I will walk you through the process of creating your first Facebook Canvas Ad.

First lets start by looking at some examples of Facebook Canvas Ads currently being run by leading brands! You can see this examples by click this link. Just scroll down the page a little, until you see this screen:

image1

You will able to scroll both left and right and select the different examples of what Canvas is and what you can achieve by using Canvas. It is definitely worth taking the time to look at all of the examples to get a feel for Canvas. It is always advisable to fully understand new technology prior to attempting to integrate it into your marketing campaigns. Just as you can not measure what you can not manage you equally can not effectively implement technology you do not understand!

So take the time to really look at these examples and fully understand what Canvas is, how canvas works and most importantly how you can put Canvas to work for your brand, effectively!

Now you have an understanding of what Canvas is all about – lets take a look at how we can create our first Facebook Canvas Ad.

1.) Access Facebook Canvas

You can access Facebook Canvas via your Facebook Fanpage – simply click on Publishing Tools and you will see Canvas has been added to the “Posts” section.

image2Canvas should be rolled out for all page owners, however as Facebook like to release different features to different regions and different demographics at various different times – I have no way to 100% confirm this. If you are not seeing the “Canvas” option in your pages Publishing Tools, simply follow this link and fill in the form requesting Facebook to active Canvas for you. Once you have filled in the form Facebook should contact you shortly.

2.) Time To Get Creative

To create your first Facebook Canvas simply click on Canvas and then click on the blue button “Create”

image3

Once you click “Create” you will be shown this screen:

image4

Here you can enter the name of your Canvas  and select a theme. So  as you can see you have available to you three default components:

  • Header
  • Photo
  • Button

You are able to change the order of these components by selecting the up and down arrows – you can even remove them completely by clicking the trash can.

image5

You can also add elements by clicking on the +Add Component Link.  Once you click on +Add Component you will be presented with the box that you can see above.

Ok Lets take a look at what each component actually is and what it actually does!

Header

The header stays pinned at the top of your Canvas and I would strongly suggest you use this to prominently display your logo and branding.

Suggested Logo Size 120 Px by 44 Pixels

Should Be A Transparent Png

Photo

The next suggested component is a Photo – below are the requirements for Photos:

  • Image ratio: Images use the full width of the screen by default
  • Image size: A full-width image is 1,080 pixels, but you can use wider images if you select the “fit to height (tilt to pan)” display option. A full-height image is 1,920 pixels, but you can use a taller image if you select the “fit to width (tap to expand)” display option
  • File type: .png, .jpg
  • Up to 20 photos can be used in a Canvas

Button

Buttons can have up to 30 characters of text and use a sans serif font. You can either have a button that is pinned on each slide or buttons that change as the viewer moves through the different slides.

Text

You can have upto 500 characters of text and use a variety of font stylings and alignments.

Image Carousel

You can add 2 to 10 images to a carousel. Each image should be the same size, in .png or .jpg format, and with a maximum width of 1080 pixels and a maximum height of 1920 pixels. If your feeling creative you could cut one image in to several sections so the viewer can scroll through – I have seen car dealerships doing thing and I think it works quite well.

Video Component

Your video should be a minimum resolution of 720p, in .mp4 or .mov format, and preferably in portrait orientation. As Canvas was designed to work with mobile devices – I would highly advise that you avoid landscape video – this will cause the videos to be automatically resized with horrible looking black bars around the edge – this will detract from the overall aesthetics of your canvas and probably turn your audience off rather than encouraging them to engage with you!

You can have multiple videos on your Canvas, but the total runtime of all of your videos must be under 2 minutes. The thumbnail of the video will automatically be the first scene of the video – you can not change this. So look at this way, Canvas is for short video clips, not feature length web shows (like Gary Vanyerchuks: Ask Gary Vee) and you need to make sure they are precisely edited prior to uploading them.

The Canvas Builder also suggests that you add captions to your video so viewers can engage if they don’t have their audio on. I encourage you to take Facebook up on this suggestion as sound might not automatically be activated when the Canvas appears in the audiences news feed – this usually comes down to a few factors including device and geographic region. Its worth noting most people using a mobile device are on Android and as you are probably aware there are 1000s of different android devices – so its impossible to know if sound will activate on every single one of them. In some geographic regions sound is not set to play automatically – as this is a global blog it is hard to give a one size fits all answer for all – so play it safe and use captions. Its worth investigating what the state of play with audio is in your region.

3.)Preview and Finish Your Canvas

Once you have finished putting your Canvas together – save it as a draft and click on preview on device. Preview on device sends your Canvas to your mobile device allowing you to see and experience it, exactly how your audience would.

You Must Have The Facebook App Installed

Within a few minutes you will recieve a notification informing you that your Canvas is ready for preview – simply click the notification and it will display on your mobile device!

So test out your Canvas and make sure everything is exactly how you want it to appear and it is behaving in a way you want your audience to experience. You will not be able to edit it again – so make sure every is 100% correct.

image6

If your satisfied that everything is exactly how it should be just click on Finish and you will of completed your first Facebook Canvas! Pretty easy right?

What Can I Do With Canvas?

Ok so now you know how to access Facebook Canvas and have taken a walk through each element and how to create a Canvas – what can we actually do with Canvas?

  • Post Canvas To Your Facebook Timeline – Please Note This Is Only View able To Mobile Users! Thats Not A Problem, Most Users Are Viewing From A Mobile Device These Days! This is totally free!
  • Use Canvas In A Paid Advert
  • Duplicate Canvas – You Can Use This To Edit A Canvas With Out Starting From Scratch, This Is The Only Way You Are Able To Edit A Canvas.

Overall I think Canvas is a great mobile first feature and with some experimentation will yield some excellent results! If you have a Fan page with a couple of hundred thousand likes then just posting to your time line could bring you some decent results – if you have a small amount of likes I recommend using the paid advertising route! I will be doing a post on using Canvas for paid advertising in the near future!

I hope you have found this post useful and that will give Canvas a try – I think it is a great feature that really caters to the way people use Facebook (mainly on their mobile devices), its going to be interesting to see how it develops over time! I have bee Gary O’Toole with Sociocaster and I will be back on Wednesday with another blog post!

Have A Great Week

Gary

 

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