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Facebook Canvas: What It Is & Why It’s Worth Your Time

Here’s why you should be utilizing Facebook Canvas ads if you’re not already.

Reading Time:6 mins January 30, 2017

Everyone hates ads. Pop-ups are extremely annoying and flashy sidebar ads are too distracting – and they’re 100 times worse on mobile devices.

However, when it comes to scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram news feeds, Sponsored Ads are better than most. They’re usually relevant – based on your search history or Pages you’ve Liked – and not nearly as interruptive as regular ads.

Almost a year ago, Facebook launched Facebook Canvas, making their already not-so-bad ads even more user-friendly. So, what is it about Facebook Canvas that makes ads, dare we say, likeable? And are they more profitable than the average Sponsored Ad? Let’s find out.

What is Facebook Canvas?

Facebook defines Canvas as, “a new post-click, full-screen, immersive mobile ad experience on Facebook that loads nearly instantaneously.” In other words, ads created by Canvas will open within the Facebook app as full-screen, scrollable ads.

Facebook Canvas

Canvas ads allow a business to tell stories, increase brand recognition, and show off their products or services in a more engaging way.

How Does It Differ from the Average Facebook Ad?

When you click on a Sponsored Ad, you’re clicking on an external link to a website or article. Canvas ads will remain within the Facebook app, loading about 10 times faster than the average mobile site.

Instead of opening up another web page, users can scroll through high-quality images, watch videos, or engage with panoramic photos – and then easily hit the “back” button to return to browsing Facebook.

Designing for Canvas is also a different experience than creating a typical Sponsored Ad. The header images are more portrait-oriented (66px x 882px), and you can upload up to 20 images (or 10 images, if you choose the Carousel option). It’s also important to note that the 20% text rule that Facebook users deal with for Sponsored Ads no longer applies. However, the text block is limited to 500 characters and the CTA button only allows up to 30 characters.

Who’s Using it Well?

Coca-Cola – always on top of the latest marketing trends – was one of the first brands to try it out, promoting their use of aluminum bottles.

Another one of the best examples (in my opinion) of a Canvas ad was made by Wendy’s. Starting with an image of unidentifiable layers pressed together, you had to click on the ad to open Canvas. There, they deconstructed a Wendy’s cheeseburger layer by layer using crisp, high-quality photos.

Facebook Canvas Ad for Wendy's

Facebook Canvas Ad for Wendy's

Gatorade, Carnival Cruise Line, Lowe’s, and Burberry are just a handful of others that have realized the potential of Canvas Ads.

Why Everyone, Including Us, Loves Canvas

Load Time

We’ve mentioned this already, but since it’s one of Canvas’ main selling points, we’ll say it again: these ads load 10 times faster than the average mobile site! There’s a definite correlation between website speed and sales, so the faster your mobile ad loads, the more likely you’ll be able to keep that visitor engaged.

No Coding

In the past, to create a full-screen, engaging ad for a product or service, businesses had to code separate mobile apps or web pages. Now with the Canvas builder in Facebook, it’s just a drag-and-drop template!

User Engagement

Though you don’t need to code to create a Canvas Ad, there are still plenty of options to design unique, creative ads. From photos to videos to clever Carousel layouts, Canvas ads have unlimited potential.

For example, your images can be uploaded to display as Default (adds link to photo), Tap to Expand, or Tilt to Pan (for panoramic photos). Facebook Business’ Help page shows you a few ways you can create your Canvas ads with simple step-by-step directions.

High-Quality Content

It’s easy to despise ads that pop up on your phone when you’re in the middle of reading an article and you can’t click the small “X” button in the corner without accidentally clicking on the ad – so you have to then click back out of the ad and wait for your article to reload so you can find your spot and continue reading the article (phew).

Not only are Canvas ads easy to click out of, but they have a higher quality of content than normal banner or pop-up ads. They’re the story of a product, service, or brand told by creative photos or videos. Going back to Wendy’s clever cheeseburger ad, it was a well-told story providing information on what their cheeseburgers were made of, rather than an ad that simply said “2 for 1 Cheeseburgers.”


Seth Godin once stated that “content marketing is the only marketing that’s left.” Namely, users are becoming more loyal to brands who they feel a connection with over brands they see on a billboard or banner ad.

Facebook Canvas capitalizes on this by offering businesses a platform to turn their ads into more thoughtful, creative, storytelling content. And while users still may not love ads, there’s no denying that Canvas ads are a huge step closer in the right direction.

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