Creative on mobile – does Canvas change the game?

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 4 March 2016
Canvas. Image credit: Facebook

Facebook's new ad unit has bottled the power of the high impact TV ad and brought it to mobile, however, it may be too much to handle for some reckons Big Mobile's CEO and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) board member, Graham Christie.

Christie, believes the mobile advertising market needs fewer better ads developed with care and craft, and fears that although this new ad opportunity is good for the marketplace as a whole, the reality of what is delivered will predominantly underwhelm.

Facebook recently rolled out Canvas worldwide, allowing brands and agencies to create immersion mobile experiences that appear in Facebook's News Feed.

With Canvas, ads can be created that feature a mix of videos, still images and call-to-action buttons, all while keeping load times as much as 10 times faster than those on the standard mobile web.

At the launch, Facebook's chief creative officer, Mark D'Arcy, explained that this product was not just big moment for the social giant, but also for mobile, highlighting that whatever the industry can dream up to create on mobile can now be realised.

Christie agrees, saying that Facebook is a huge player in the market and brands want to be able to access more ways to deliver high impact advertising in mobile.

“In other media, it's the equivalent of the 60-second anthem TVC, a 90cm sheet poster, or the print wrap-around, and mobile is no different,” he says.

“Facebook has been slow to admit this, partly due to its understandable sensitivity to its audiences user experience, and partly due to its inability to align the tech to deliver it. So this launch is an admission that rich media is increasingly important, and is complimentary to in-stream feed ads.”

Audi has tested Canvas in this market, with brands such as Wendy's, Carnival Cruise Lines and Burberry testing the offering in beta in the US. Last week Facebook opened up Canvas to all advertisers all over the world, however Christie believes this could be an issue for the creative moving forward.

“A budding painter can purchase the biggest possible artists canvas, perhaps even to fill an entire wall, but that doesn't mean that what they paint will be any good, in fact most people are crap artists. So similarly, creating rich media mobile advertising that communicates well is best left to the experts,” he says.

“Facebook's normal in-stream ads limit creativity, square peg-square hole, and at the end of the day that's what works well, but it's 'vending machine' creative that fills the space. With Canvas, the opportunity to create is greater, so consequently, so is the ability to fail,” he added.

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