Facebook rolls out Canvas, an ad format that, when clicked, opens a full-screen, immersive ad.

Facebook Inc. has rolled out a new mobile ad format that gives retailers broad leeway to tell stories and showcase products. When a consumer clicks on one of these news feed ads, which Facebook calls Canvas, it quickly opens up a full-screen mobile ad.

The ad format is markedly different from Facebook’s other mobile ad units that typically have tight constraints over what they can look like and how consumers can interact with them. The name Canvas reflects that the ads are fully customizable to enable retailers and other advertisers to use a mix of video, still images, text and call-to-action buttons.

“Within a Canvas, people enjoy moving through digital stories easily,” Facebook writes in a blog post. “They can swipe through a carousel of images, tilt to view panoramic images and zoom in to view images in detail, making the Canvas experience immersive and engaging in a way that mobile sites aren’t. And Canvas uses the same technology that makes photos and videos load quickly on Facebook, so it loads as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web.”

In giving advertisers more freedom to craft ads, Facebook aims to attract more dollars by making its ads more engaging.

“Advertisers need a better way to share information after people click on their ad, and the information offered after someone clicks needs to load quickly, look beautiful on mobile and allow people to take action easily,” writes Facebook. “We built Canvas…to solve this problem. Canvas was created with input from the creative community at every step and is designed to help businesses tell stories and show products on mobile devices in a beautiful way.”


Facebook began testing the ad format last year and a number of major retailers, including Target Corp., American Girl LLC and Taiwanese computer and smartphone maker Asus tested it over the holidays. Target is No. 16 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide; American Girl is No. 116. Asus is No. 359 in the Internet Retailer 2015 China 500.

The Asus Canvas ads, which focused around the theme “end bad gifts,” attracted 42% more clicks than the computer manufacturer’s other Facebook ads, and Facebook users who clicked on its Canvas ads spent an average of 12 seconds viewing the content. Moreover, 70% of those who clicked on the ad then clicked to the Asus website.

Canvas works on Android and iOS devices.