Have you ever clicked on an ad whilst browsing on your mobile, waited a few seconds for the advertiser’s landing page to load, got bored and x-ed the tab? According to KissMetrics, 73% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load. This suggests a gargantuan amount of wasted advertising spend, with marketers paying for ad clicks from people who never actually reach their website.
In February this year, Mark Zuckerberg and friends launched a new feature which addresses this issue: Facebook Canvas.
What is it?
Facebook have defined Canvas as an “immersive and expressive experience on Facebook for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products.” It’s a fast-loading, full-screen "canvas" which loads instantaneously when a News Feed ad is clicked. Users can then interact by zooming in, swiping through image carousels and tilting to view panoramic images.
Ad clicks are billed the same as traditional News Feed ads.
Limitations to consider are that it is only available for mobile devices, lead capture is not possible, and early adopters of the feature have reported that it takes a fair amount of design savvy to execute well.
The benefit to Facebook is perhaps quite clear: fewer people leaving the Facebook app to other sites means more people rattling around the News Feed, viewing ads and generating them revenue. There are also a few benefits for marketers:
The fact that Canvas is in-app, means that the load time will generally be significantly quicker than sending users to another website. This means less people getting bored and dropping off.
Facebook reported that 53% of Canvas test subjects viewed at least half the ad, some of which were upwards of 70 seconds long. The average view time was 31 seconds. (Tech Crunch)
For e-commerce marketers, users can be given the opportunity to click the ad, browse a carousel of products, and view individual items all within the Facebook app. Everything up to the point of entering credit card details can be done in app; a very low-friction experience.
The fast food chain, Wendy’s were an early Canvas adopter, and saw some pretty great results. Their Canvas allowed users to scroll and swipe and see GIFs of the ingredients that make up a Wendy’s burger. They saw an average view time of 65 seconds - pretty impressive. On top of that, 2.9% of users actually got to the bottom of the ad and used the store locator to find their nearest Wendy’s on the spot – pretty ideal.