It’s here; the social media advertising format that we’ve all been waiting for, Facebook Canvas. Since its quiet rollout in January, a handful of New Zealand brands and agencies have been learning, training and battling to be first and best to use the sparkly new social media toy.
What is it?
Canvas is an easy-to-use interface that allows businesses to develop immersive campaigns, specifically for mobile devices. With Canvas, brands can produce rich media microsites that previously only those with deep pockets could do. Until recently, brands might have paid up to $20,000 for a microsite of this calibre, but Canvas is a free capability and each Canvas ad takes next-to-no time to create, so any Tom, Dick or Harry can tap into Power Editor and start creating ads. That means we can create more for less (and these days, that’s exactly what creative agencies are being urged to do).
That’s not to say Canvas is for everyone. Just because it’s cool and it’s new, doesn’t mean it’s right for every single brand. Mosh is taking the cool, calm and collected approach (as always) and not rushing into using Canvas for every client.
In the meantime, here’s a quick analysis of how two New Zealand brands – House of Travel and Westpac – have utilised Canvas since its launch here.
A good old-fashioned package deal
House of Travel started putting a lot of its marketing eggs in Facebook’s basket back in 2014, and has since been using the platform to successfully promote its many package deals. When Facebook Canvas appeared in New Zealand, the travel agency used the ad format to promote one of its good old-fashioned Fiji family holiday packages: Kids Fly, Stay, Play & Eat Free in Fiji.
What did we think of the ads? Overall, they did a good job. Of course, the brand has a bottomless bank of beautiful images and videos (albeit glossy and predictable), so the ads had that all-familiar brochure appeal. The message was clear and concise, complete with several calls-to-action. The newsfeed post itself could have been a little more grabby, or a little more special than any other link ad. But we’ll hand it to them: all-in-all, a job well done.
Westpac pulls the Richie Card
Yep, Richie McCaw is at it again. This time, he’s helping Westpac promote its latest campaign, It’s Time. According to StopPress, It’s Time was about encouraging Kiwis to get on with what’s important. As part of the campaign, the bank implemented Canvas ads featuring a series of images and video of Richie running through a native New Zealand forest and scenes of tranquil New Zealand landscapes. It showed behind-the-scenes footage of filming the shoot, giving Richie fans a look into McCaw’s world.
So how did Westpac’s Canvas campaign go? Without a prior knowledge of the campaign, the message wasn’t clear to Facebook users. Of course, no one’s opposed to watching a super-famous (and super-fit) All Black running through a beautiful landscape, but without an understanding of the overarching campaign, Richie seemed a little lost. Westpac appeared to be using Canvas just to use Canvas. There was, however, a clear call-to-action and it looked great.
Canvas is new and exciting, but that’s not to say advertisers need to be filling newsfeeds with the ad format all day, every day. Facebook’s new toy isn’t right for every occasion, but when it is right, it’s pretty cool. Stay tuned for our forays into Canvas with clients in the coming months.