Written by: Reece Jacobsen

Of all the latest Facebook advertising solutions that have become available in the last 12 months, Canvas is arguably the one we’ve experienced the most success from. Essentially, it gives full mobi-site functionality and allows multiple forms of media to be housed in the same place without taking the user out of Facebook. Win-win.

Throughout the last 12 months, we’ve used Canvas for major sports and entertainment campaigns from Euro 2016 to the M-Net Movies Harry Potter Pop Up channel, distilling learning from each execution and improving on the last. Our most recent Canvas was for the FIFA Confederations Cup and was our most successful to date. Here are 5 things we’ve learnt when it comes to optimising Facebook Canvas for your next campaign:

1. Make it for the reader
The first issue faced when presented with too many options is what to include and what to leave out. Due to the functionality of Facebook Canvas, advertisers are now able to include video, text, carousel and tap-to-expand imagery, and links all in the same ad unit. Our advice would be to map it out. Prioritise content and stay focused on the objective/s. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the one thing this Canvas should communicate?
  2. What will readers find most valuable?
  3. What will make readers stay engaged for longer?
  4. What will make readers share it?

2. Design it to make it look like one piece of content
Keeping readers engaged for longer on your piece of content is one of the more prominent success metrics Facebook Canvas offers. Designing your Canvas elements in such a way that the background knits together giving the illusion that this is all the same piece is one way to do this – readers will go through the entire Canvas because it doesn’t feel like they’ve just viewed 30-40 individual pieces of content.

3. Give it a longer lifespan
Content has a shelf-life, especially when it comes to sports. Make sure your content isn’t time sensitive. If possible, avoid including teams of the week, statistics, schedules, and tables. These pieces won’t be relevant for longer than the next game week so you’ll have to update, republish and lose any traction your Canvas has gained in the first few days. When putting media spend behind these ad units, give them time to run for longer and your results (CPE, CPV, CPM, etc.) will improve.

4. Focus on one Call to Action
Think of your Facebook Canvas as a journey. Every individual piece of content working together as the reader goes through all working towards one key strategic objective as they make their way to the end. If you want them to sign up, watch a video or buy your product make sure the content they’ve seen in making their way through the Canvas works together to give them a compelling reason to do this one thing you want/need them to do.

5. Remember it’s Mobile Only
Data sensitivity and what people are willing to do on their mobile phones must be a key consideration when building your Canvas and setting objectives. Mobile, historically, has a far worse e-commerce conversion rate than tablets and desktop, according to this Smart Insights report from May 2017. Although the users are there and viewing your content, make sure you design the conversion process around their habits. Perhaps focus on a call back process or get their email address instead of trying to get them to buy or subscribe direct from their mobile. Most users aren’t ready for this. Build your Canvas and the conversion process around this insight.


As with any paid media, it’s important to be critical about what you’re putting out, when, and to who. Facebook has upped its game with new paid options like Canvas and Collection and has placed the ball firmly in the advertisers’ and content creators’ court. Make sure you don’t waste the opportunity this platform offers you and your brand, and if you’re worried you might, get in touch with us on the website or any of our social media channels and we’ll help you out.