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

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, now known as Instant Experiences, making their already not-so-bad ads even more user-friendly. So, what is it about Instant Experiences that makes ads, dare we say, like-able? 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, scroll-able ads.

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

Facebook Canvas Ads let you create full-screen, mobile-only pieces of content within the Facebook app.

You might think of them as a mini landing pages for your business, keeping customers engaged with your campaigns without requiring users to exit the Facebook app at all. These ads are particularly effective for segments of your audience who regularly check Facebook and enjoy consuming content within the social media platform.

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.

Building Your Brand with Canvas

Facebook Canvas ads are great for both direct response and branding campaigns. No matter which stage of the marketing funnel you're working on, you can create an immersive experience that mirrors your website without taking users away from their Facebook browsing.

Facebook tests revealed that 53% of users watched at least half of every Canvas ad they were served. Best of all, many of those ads were over a minute long -- that's some serious screen time your company could be getting.

Additionally, the average phone user spends 90% of their browsing time in-app, as opposed to standalone websites -- so if you're doing mobile-first marketing, it makes sense to build your campaigns in the places your audience spends the most time.

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.

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.

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.

If you're looking for a cost-effective strategy to convey your brand message and showcase your products, it's worthwhile to consider using Facebook Canvas.

With rich, immersive imagery delivered to your customers in a full-screen, fast-loading page, your brand comes to life and has the opportunity to reach a new audience.

As an advertising format, Facebook Canvas/Instant Experiences provides a valuable combination of storytelling and performance, enabling greater engagement with lower acquisition costs -- a win, win.

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