The Canvas Format for Automated Ads

Krista Kauppinen Apr 04 2017 8 AM | 3 min read

A full screen mobile ad in the News Feed? With video, carousels and call-to-action buttons? When Canvas Ads first launched last year there was a lot of excitement around the creative opportunities it offered. Canvas has driven great results, but it may require a lot of manual work to use at scale. Until now.

One of the key selling points for Canvas is that it’s in line with all the trends. People are spending more and more time on mobile. In fact, up to 54% of their digital time is spent on apps. They’re also very quick to abandon slow loading mobile sites, with 40% leaving a site if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. Canvas is a post-click, full-screen mobile ad experience on Facebook that loads so quickly that it solves this problem.

Now creating and editing Canvas ads in scale is easier than ever. Automated Ads is's own implementation. To Facebook, these campaigns are just like regular campaigns, Smartly just creates and updates them automatically for you.


Create Canvas ads easily at scale

In practice, Automated Canvas Ads means that you can create canvases from your product feed automatically, with each product becoming it’s own canvas. You create a template with the canvas elements you want to include and it’s then filled with videos, images and other information from your feed.

You start by creating a new Canvas Template, which can include elements like text, buttons, photos, video, header images and carousels. Aside from the text and buttons which are static elements, these can all be dynamic elements from a feed. You can edit the order of the elements easily by dragging and dropping.

One exciting opportunity created by Automated Canvas Ads is the possibility to include targeting information in your feed, so that you can automatically target customers based on their location or interests.


“Canvas was our best ad format in Q4 2016, and we’ve seen up to 3x better results compared to our KPIs. Using’s Automated Canvas Ads with dynamic targeting, we’re finally able to scale them by supporting multiple city/zone launches at once.” Yoann Pavy, Paid Social Manager at Deliveroo


What kind of opportunities does this new format create?

For restaurants or food delivery companies, each Canvas Ad could feature different menu items from a specific restaurant. You can then use the restaurant location from the feed to target your ad to the area where the restaurant is located.

For travel advertisers you can showcase a destination with images, travel guide elements and videos with a call-to-action to look at offers.

For real estate advertisers, you could have a canvas per listing. Show all the images of listing fullscreen, include a guided house tour video if it’s available, add a nice branded header image with an overlaid Dynamic Image Template with relevant location, pricing etc information from your feed. Once you create a Canvas Template, you can use it to advertise hundreds or thousands of listings.


Interested in trying it out? Get in touch with your Account Manager for an invitation

   Retail Re-UP: Adjusting to the Next Normal of Social Advertising CHECK IT NOW
Krista Kauppinen

Read Next