Facebook adds templates for Canvas ads, extends iAd-like format to Collections

Advertisers can pick from three plug-and-play templates and now use Canvas posts in Facebook’s shoppable Collection ads.

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Almost two years after Facebook debuted its fast-loading, iAd-like Canvas ad format, the company continues to make the creation of its showiest ad product less of a production and more of a plug-and-play and to extend its application beyond raising brand awareness to pushing sales.

On Tuesday, Facebook rolled out three templates that self-serve advertisers can use to create cookie-cutter Canvas ads for certain business objectives. And advertisers can now use a Canvas post as the main creative showpiece in a shoppable Collection ad.

Both moves build on Facebook’s recent efforts to make its brand-friendly ads more business-friendly.

In March, Facebook added the Collection format to create a line of immersive, mobile-only ad formats in addition to the original Canvas format. Collection ads appear in people’s news feeds topped by a large photo or video with a product gallery appearing underneath. When people tap on the ad, a full-screen product catalog opens listing details like a product’s name and price, and people can tap on a product to view it on the advertiser’s mobile site.

Now, advertisers can attach a Canvas post to the Collection, so that the ad’s initial photo or video is sourced from the Canvas post, and when people tap on that lead creative element, the landing page-like Canvas post will open with whatever full-screen videos, photo galleries, product descriptions and links a brand opted to include. People can still tap on the mini product gallery underneath the ad’s main image or video to open the full product catalog.

And in April, Facebook made it easier for brands to create Canvas ads by enabling them to automate the production through its Marketing API. But that meant brands or the software providers that brands use to create these posts would still have to come up with the initial templates on which to base their Canvas ads. Not anymore.

Brands buying Canvas ads through Facebook’s self-serve ad-buying tool, Ad Manager, can now select from three Canvas templates that are based on three business objectives. While the templates vary in aims and features, the way they work is roughly the same. Each template has placeholders for brands to add in their own assets, like a spot for a vertical video, a carousel to be filled with the brand’s own images, text to be swapped out for the brand’s own words or a grid to be populated with items from the product catalogs that brands upload to Facebook for their shoppable campaigns that use the company’s Dynamic Ad or Collection formats.

If a brand wants to attract new customers, it can opt for the “Get New Customers” template that resembles a mobile landing page, as used below by BarkBox.

If a brand wants to give people a more in-depth look at a particular product or service it sells, it can pick the “Showcase Your Business” template that combines videos and photos into something of a highlight reel, as used below by hair-styling brand TYME.

And if a brand simply wants to push product, it can choose the “Sell Products” template that presents people with a product catalog pulled from the inventory list a marketer has already uploaded to Facebook, as used below by Michael Kors.

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About the author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.

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