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Facebook Canvas: Nominated for Best Dressed


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Facebook Canvas Ads have filled the void for what creative marketers crave: an immersive, mobile-only experience enabling brands to tell their story in the News Feed. So what does it mean for pharma, and what should we do now?

Facebook Canvas: where posts take you on an adventure

When Facebook first came to be in 2004, the original platform was mostly text-based. When photos and video were introduced, the way they were displayed was simple, and things really haven’t changed a whole heck of a lot since that initial introduction. Creative types everywhere let Facebook know that they were displeased with how limiting the outlets were for advertisements on their platform and were hungry for something more experiential and different. Enter Canvas ads, the most immersive way to advertise on Facebook to date. Canvas posts can be built-out using a combination of video, still images, copy, and call-to-action buttons (1). Canvas ads are best for showcasing a product, telling your brand’s story, and driving action on your website (2). In June 2016, Canvas organic posts were released, making it possible to bring this style of post to page followers.

Canvas is still new, and companies are slowly starting to experiment with the new creative liberties available on Facebook through Canvas.


Strong Statistics

According to Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook population now spends more than 46 minutes per day on Facebook (3). Canvas posts are now increasing the share of a person’s time on specific content for that brand.


Figure 1| Facebook is still very much king of the jungle

Figure 1| Facebook is still very much king of the jungle


The type of content a brand can deliver through Canvas posts is not that different from what brands can serve up to viewers on their own websites; however, the notable difference is that Canvas posts live on Facebook. An additional bonus is that the content loads quickly – up to 10 times faster than the typical mobile web page, according to Facebook (4). A user spends, on average, 31 seconds on a Canvas post (5) meaning a better opportunity for higher engagement with a bigger place to tell your story (6).


A marketer’s dream

Canvas was created with marketers in mind. Brands now have the opportunity to select a portion of their website to share on Facebook. Keeping consumers in channel creates a seamless user experience while hitting the user with multiple messages and meeting a variety of KPIs in one asset.

Facebook ads were lacking in load time before. Canvas posts were designed to allow marketers to effectively warm up their audience, nudging them closer towards the conversation goal (7). To increase conversation size, you need to speak to your target audience through their emotions. Facebook Canvas allows for marketers to create a visually stunning storytelling experience (8) keeping users within the app they love and not dragging them into a mobile browser. Facebook reported that 53% of the test users viewed at least half of the Canvases (some of which viewed for upwards of 70 seconds) (9).


Canvas: how you thread the story

Canvas posts can be constructed using a variety of assets, all woven together to help tell your brand’s story:

Canvas posts are extremely dynamic and provide an opportunity to brand the post. Customizable background colors for any empty space the post may have are also available. The Canvas post can have a fixed header at the top of the Canvas that sticks with the user as they scroll (11).


Example Layout



Advertising with Canvas

Advertising with Canvas is similar to advertising using any other Facebook ad. Targeting and objectives are exactly the same; the difference is the increased engagement rate and opportunity to hit your loyal fans with something new featured by your brand.


Canvas ads for pharma: branded or unbranded?

Both types of pharma pages can play with the new post! Canvas offers a new way for unbranded messages to be displayed, allowing for more messaging in one post and a variety of creative assets that can be used.

With branded Canvas ad, a number of things must be kept in mind. Canvas presents a rare opportunity in social media to marry the brand name and the condition. Since Canvas is a completely customizable experience, the marketer must keep regulatory in mind when designing the post/ad. One way to approach Canvas for branded Canvas posts would be to have the first image or text box contain the most important risk information and indication(s). The post would close out with the complete safety information in an image or text box again, keeping the safety information together and with equal prominence to benefit information or product claims (similar to a website or email).


Branded Example



Unbranded Example





Facebook Canvas posts are becoming increasingly popular among user’s News Feeds. Brands are taking advantage of the sound bite format a post has to deliver a clear story and message. Pharma companies can also take advantage with this new type of post, with both branded and unbranded posts. A tricky unbranded condition page can expand upon one idea through multiple media assets. The starved branded page now has an opportunity to talk about condition alongside brand together with the necessary safety information. Brands provide pieces of information for everyone everywhere, but Canvas posts accumulate all that information in one place.

Welcome to Facebook Canvas, the best dressed darling at the ball and the new way to communicate your brand. Want to learn more about what Canvas could do for your brands? Let’s chat!



1 Be where life happens. Facebook Business Solutions Guide, p. 12.

2 http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/history-facebook-adtips-slideshare#sm.001w68yfy16d1dvzvsp2k5wv7kg34

3 http://marketingland.com/facebooks-web-app-like-canvas-ads-can-now-run-organic-page-posts-181589

4 http://marketingland.com/facebooks-web-app-like-canvas-ads-can-now-run-organic-page-posts-181589

5 Ibid.

6 http://adparlor.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-facebooks-canvas/[1] http://unbounce.com/ppc/what-is-facebook-canvas/

7 http://unbounce.com/ppc/what-is-facebook-canvas/

8 http://unbounce.com/ppc/what-is-facebook-canvas/

9 http://unbounce.com/ppc/what-is-facebook-canvas/

10 http://adparlor.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-facebooks-canvas/

11 http://www.jonloomer.com/2016/02/26/facebook-canvas/

More About the Author

Susan Sutherland

Susan Sutherland has been working in marketing for the last several years specializing in pharmaceuticals, lifestyle and OTC brands. While at Klick she has driven brand results for companies such as Takeda, Novartis, Allergan, and UCB. She has a strong background in social media strategy, most notably having worked on the award-winning Lighter Blue campaign for Takeda that earned the title of the top pharma page in the US with posts exceeding 1MM likes. Her passion lies in finding unique audience insights to drive digital strategies. At Klick, Susan can be found activating strategies and tactics across a suite of brands. Her work includes experience in oncology, neurology, gastroenterology and mental health.

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