As of Wednesday, Facebook's Canvas is open for business to marketers looking to create customizable and organic posts featuring images, text and call-to-action buttons.
Before this, the HTML5 format was only usable by advertisers. Now the format will be open to retailers and other marketers that operate brand pages. The previous format had textual limits to how posts were laid out and how consumers could interact with them. Canvas posts, on the other hand, allow a mix of media.
They also are far more immersive since a user clicking on a Canvas post in their newsfeed opens up a full screen takeover with the featured ad.
It also allows retailers to tailor their efforts. Mens shoes company Eager&Co features messaging around the idea that it is different from traditional retailers, and their ads feature the following tagline:
“It’s simple lads. We offer bespoke, handcrafted footwear at fair prices.”
Clicking on the ad takes the user to a flowchart that explains how the company takes the wholesalers, middlemen and physical stores out of the equation such that their shoes can sell on average for $130 less than a traditional shoe merchant's products. From the flow chart, the customer can see an entire product lineup and various points highlighting free shipping and a 30-day return policy as benefits to the site.
According to Facebook, consumers are more likely to fully engage with Canvas posts than they are with the traditional counterparts on offer, spending as much as 30 whole seconds on them.
“The more mobile Facebook gets, the more visual it gets,” notes Rebecca Lieb, an independent media analyst. “Facebook wants to give consumers a more immersive storytelling journey. It wants marketers to tell stories more visually and beautifully.”
“It takes more time to craft an effective Canvas post,” Lieb says. “But marketers who are serious about driving results will consider that time well spent.”
The move also helps Facebook counter claims that it is a pay-to-play platform where benefits can only really accrue with paid ads.