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Cool Ideas for Enhancing Instant Experience Ads

Written by: Shane O'Neill, Director of Content

Keeping an audience’s attention is one of the bigger obstacles for online marketers. It’s damn near impossible to explain your brand or guide a consumer to a purchase if they keep scrolling by your ad. Facebook Instant Experiences (also known as Canvas ads and Collections ads) were designed to address this very issue.

With Instant Experience ads, users click on what appears to be a standard link ad, and are taken to a full-screen environment containing images, video, carousel elements, product information, and more, all without leaving the Facebook or Instagram app. Ideally, users will click to leave the in-app surroundings and go to the advertiser’s website or mobile app.

The Canvas variety of Instant Experiences is an ideal way to build brand awareness. Through video, bold images, and clickable tiles, a brand can extol its virtues and provide a more in-depth look at its products.

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Ecommerce advertisers have had great success with the Collections varietal of Instant Experience ads. This full-screen format featuring shoppable content gives users the feeling they’re browsing for products to buy right from within the Facebook or Instagram app.

The Instant Experience ad templates certainly offer room for creativity — but are you really flexing your ad creative muscles? Are you telling your brand story in a compelling way?

Here are a few ideas (some based on reality, others hypothetical) for enhancing Instant Experience ads.

Show ecommerce consumers the big picture

The combination of a cover image/video and tiles provides the space to package products for different events and activities. But in our experience, not enough ecommerce companies are using Instant Experience ads to tell that story.

A few scenarios to consider:

The camping trip

An outdoor equipment and apparel company — say L.L.Bean, Patagonia or REI — could build Instant Experience ads around an activity or event to get consumers to think holistically about, say, a camping trip.

On the right: We built a mock Collection ad around a camping event. Press the play button to watch the Collection ad open up.

In this case, the cover video would show people enjoying themselves at a campsite and each tile would represent an essential camping item, such as:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Backpack
  • Raincoat
  • Flashlight
  • Boots

Build a better athlete

A sporting goods brand could take the same approach with equipment for different sports, be it hockey, lacrosse, baseball or soccer. Set the scene with a cover video of a fully uniformed player in action. Then use tiles to advertise helmets, pads, sticks, gloves, cleats/skates, etc.

Pottery Barn

A room with a view

Home decor brands such as Wayfair, Pottery Barn or IKEA could design “Thinking of redesigning your living room?” Instant Experience ads. The cover image/video could show a fully designed room and the tiles could contain all the items needed to complete the room — couches, rugs, coffee tables, side tables, lamps, chairs, etc. Pottery Barn has the right idea with a Collection ad (on left) that features a fully designed living room as the cover image with tiles of individual room items.

What’s playing?

Movie theater chains such as AMC, Regal or Cinemark could use a Collection cover video to show movie trailer snippets (or entire trailers) and the tiles could feature ads for movies currently playing at that chain’s theaters.

These examples show that Instant Experience ads don’t have to be one-dimensional (Another collection ad filled with sneakers?? Really??) and can inspire consumers to see the big picture.

Lead gen companies can better explain themselves

For the EDU vertical (online and on-campus universities), there’s ample opportunity to use Collection ads to visualize and organize areas of study for prospective students.

Picture a cover video containing footage of campus life (if it’s an on-campus college) or people engaged with online classes (if it’s an online college). Below that there’s a tile for each area of study: Finance, engineering, education, art & design, business, etc. Each tile takes you to the college’s website for more information about the programs.

Jeep Canvas ad

In terms of Instant Experience ads on Facebook and Instagram, automakers have been the lead generation innovators.

The Jeep brand (see left) was able to use the Canvas format to tell the story of its two Grand Cherokee models in one ad. The ad unit uses multimedia and split screens to show the differences between the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, made for outdoor enthusiasts, and the Summit, designed for a luxury lifestyle.

The returns for Jeep’s Canvas ads were strong:

Audi Collections ad

  • 37-point lift in ad recall
  • 11-point lift in awareness
  • 9-point lift in favorability
  • 28% more time spent with Canvas (compared to Facebook’s ad performance benchmark for the automotive vertical)

Automakers can also use the Collection format and tiles to list various car models. Audi used a Collection ads (see right) to feature a looping video clip of Audi models (Q5 SUV, A5 Sportback, A4 Sedan or A6 sedan) along with four images of tech and design features. Users who clicked on the ad were taken into an interactive environment showcasing additional car features.

Other lead gen companies should follow suit. Fitness centers could display a tile for each of its exercise classes. An insurance company could have tiles for different policies (home, life, car, boat, pet).

The main point is that the Instant Experience ad template itself is innovative but don’t get complacent with it. If you simply pull in related products, users will get bored. Instead, provide them with a holistic, multimedia view of how your products will impact their lifestyles.

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