For Facebook, 2018 hasn’t been smooth sailing.
Unfortunately for the company, the Cambridge Analytical scandal shined an unflattering light on the company’s privacy protocols. While younger users continue to use the platform numbers are definitely lower. A recent hack may have exposed the personal details of 50 million people and the company’s stock price has lagged.
Yet — if you’re a practitioner of digital marketing — you have plenty of reasons to remain interested in the Facebook platform.
And Canvas ads (or “Instant Experiences”) is one of those reasons.
A mobile website experience in miniature
Facebook Canvas, which debuted in 2016, represented another step in the company’s attempt to capitalize on mobile, bringing full-screen ads to smartphones. Historically, brands had struggled to weave compelling stories across the small screen, given the technical restraints. This presented a serious challenge when mobile, in a matter of just a few years, became the preferred method for consuming content.
Canvas helped square this circle by optimizing ads for mobile, allowing them to load faster and flow properly. Brands could create deeply immersive, full-screen ads geared for mobile that could be opened by clicking on ads inside a news feed. Within a created Canvas, users could swipe through a carousel of images, tilt panoramic shots and zoom at the touch of a button. A Canvas offered a website experience in miniature, with ads claiming full use of all screen space.
But what about those recent changes?
Facebook recently introduced changes to Canvas, beginning with a new name. The ads are now called “Instant Experiences,” a name that Facebook says has more “zing” and better communicates the overall idea.
The use of “instant” makes sense — these ads now load 15 times faster than your average mobile site, thanks to Facebook’s in-house technology. This, of course, is critical in terms of digital marketing. Few people like to wait for their favorite mobile websites to load; nobody wants to wait for ad content to load. In order to facilitate a positive audience experience, the process must be seamless. Instant Experiences now load about 50% faster than a Canvas did in 2016.
The process of creating an Instant Experience has undergone some minor changes as well. In order to create an ad, a template is selected, which means that little technical skill is required.
Along with faster speeds and a rebranded name, Facebook has also rolled out a new template for Instant Experiences. Currently, these templates include:
- Instant storefront (for selling products in a grid)
- Instant customer acquisition (which includes a call to action)
- Instant lookbook (which displays ad in a lifestyle context)
- Instant storytelling (which uses video to craft a narrative)
- Instant form (which allows audiences to quickly share information)
All of these templates are available on both the Facebook and Instagram platforms.
One more change to note: Brands can now integrate the Facebook Pixel into their Instant Experiences in order to access more detailed data about how Instant Experiences influence buying decisions.
The Pixel is automatically added to all Instant Experiences and serves as an easy method for allowing brands to track and follow up with customers.
Facebook Instant Experiences are an impactful digital marketing tool, particularly for brands seeking to improve their mobile ad offerings. The presence of easy-to-use templates helps to make the process seamless and intuitive for those with limited technical skill.