This post originally ran on Social Media Today.
Facebook’s Canvas ads are unlike any other format available on social media. This interactive ad unit fills an entire smartphone or tablet screen, combining images, video and carousel to create a memorable and stunning visual experience on mobile.
Although Canvas ads are still a relatively new ad offering from Facebook, many businesses are already exploring ways to use them for various direct response objectives. We’ve rounded up three examples from brands who are dazzling viewers and driving clicks with Canvas ads.
Windows Expands Existing Ads
Microsoft’s campaign for its Windows 10 operating system originated as a TV spot before it was tested on Instagram. Therefore the campaign, featuring two college students sharing why Windows 10 is essential for them, was already a proven hit by the time Microsoft turned it into a colorful Canvas ad. Even in a different format, the ad succeeds at communicating the benefits of Windows 10.
The concept of the Canvas ad is consistent right from the beginning: Windows 10 has something helpful for everyone, even two college students with very different majors.
The Canvas ad opens with a video that audiences may have already seen on TV or Instagram. Even if the ad is new to them, it’s easy to understand how and why the product is so helpful.
The Canvas ad continues with a Carousel ad format. Each slide is dedicated to one benefit of using Windows 10 on an HP Spectre x360, making it easy to communicate value without overwhelming audiences.
The ad rounds out with “Do more,” the reiteration of a slogan that has been repeated throughout the ad. At the end is a call-to-action, which appropriately leads to a landing page that doesn’t just feature the same products highlighted in the ad, but also includes the same creative and slogan from the campaign. By continuing the campaign theme on the landing page, Microsoft can stay on message and continue to drive audiences to learn more because they’re greeted with the same messaging that brought them to the site in the first place.
Air France Tells a Story
Canvas ads offer enough space that advertisers can promote a full range of the benefits offered by their products or services. However, this kitchen sink approach to advertising can sometimes get cluttered and confusing for audiences as they struggle to determine what to focus on and what action to take. To keep viewers focused and interested in arriving at the Call to Action (CTA), Air France paints a picture using a few characters to tell the story of their trip and how much they enjoyed the benefits of using the airline.
Because the end goal of the entire ad is to drive Facebook users to book an Air France flight, every section of the ad urges viewers to learn more about each flying perk listed, driving towards the CTA (“Find Out More on AirFrance.com,” which you’ll notice appears more than once, not just on the final slide).
As the featured case studies for why travelers should book with Air France, Charlotte and Louise each get their own videos within the Canvas ad.
Landing pages that are categorized by each topic brought up in the ad make it easy for viewers to stay focused on what caught their eye in the first place, and helps prevent them from dropping off before they convert and book a flight.
Target Amps Up Audience Interactions
One of the many benefits of Canvas ads is that they provide multiple opportunities for advertisers to engage target audiences. By their very nature, Canvas ads call for viewers to get involved by swiping the slides of a Carousel, tilting the screen to view a full banner image, or navigating from frame to frame.
Target’s Canvas ad promises to introduce audiences to the fall’s hottest trends and styles, and immediately delivers on that promise once viewers click through the ad.
Instead of merely presenting seasonal outfits, Target stacks two Carousel units on top of each other. This approach gives viewers the opportunity to mix and match different pieces and customize ensembles based on personal preference. Not only does this Canvas ad drive home the versatility of Target’s clothes; it also lets mobile browsers get in on the action by creating their own unique outfits.
The Canvas ad also acts as a helpful guide, providing fall makeup styling tips. By including beauty products, Target is able to sell itself as a one-stop shop for seasonal items. This tactic may be harder to pull off in a link ad, but the broad array of options available within Canvas ads means that advertisers can communicate more value in a visually interesting, interactive and mobile-friendly way.
Takeaways for Mobile Advertisers:
- Many pieces of creative go into creating a Canvas ad. If you don’t have time to craft one from scratch, you can easily repurpose elements from previous ad campaigns. Analyzing the historical performance of past video, image and Carousel ads is a good way to ensure that the overall effect will be a hit. Just make sure that each component you select promotes the same theme, product line or service so that the Canvas ad makes sense as a whole.
- Sprinkling calls-to-action (CTA) throughout the Canvas ad makes it easy for viewers to take the next step in the conversion process at any point during their mobile browsing experience. This approach is especially helpful for ensuring that Facebook users take the next step instead of dropping off before reaching a single CTA button at the end of your Canvas ad.
- Instead of limiting your Canvas ad to a passive viewing experience, be creative and think of ways that will get your audience interested and involved. After all, a viewer who is interested enough to swipe all the way through your ad is likely willing to click through to your website.