Facebook's Canvas Ads Draw New Users to Site

Merkle | Periscopix and Watchfinder utilised the brand new mobile-only Canvas ad format on Facebook to great effect, achieving the highest engagement metrics of all their paid social campaigns.

Watchfinder are the pre-owned watch specialists, described by the Financial Times as the “leading pre-owned e-tailer” for watches. They were looking for innovative ways to raise brand awareness and bring new users to their site.

After utilising Merkle | Periscopix to manage their paid search marketing, Watchfinder decided to expand their remit to incorporate their paid social activity in late 2015. More recently we have worked together to launch the Canvas interactive mobile ad format on Facebook, a first for both parties. 

Canvas ads were released earlier this year by Facebook. They’re an immersive ad format that allows businesses to tell stories and showcase their products in a highly engaging format. They can consist of a combination of video, still images and call-to-action buttons, giving users the ability to do anything from swipe through a carousel of products, to tilt their mobile to view panoramic images. 


The aim was twofold; while looking to increase brand awareness within a targeted audience, we also sought to bring new and engaged users to the Watchfinder site in line with their wider marketing objective of achieving one million sessions per month across all marketing channels (as tracked in Google Analytics).


Previously Watchfinder had been focusing their efforts on the static image ad format on Facebook, but the ability to tell a story or convey a complex visual message with these ads was slightly limited. Working with the creative team at Watchfinder we started on the Canvas ad format as soon as it was made public. The Paid Social team at Merkle | Periscopix then began considering targeting options in line with the aforementioned objectives of achieving maximum reach within a highly relevant and engaged audience of new users. To that end we elected to utilise lookalike audience targeting based on people that had ‘liked’ the Watchfinder Facebook page, with a 10% threshold.


Considering the Canvas is a mobile-only format, and it hasn’t been running as long as other campaigns, the results have been seriously impressive, with the second highest number of clicks to site behind the original campaign (single image and carousel ad formats). The average CPC has also been lowest of all campaigns (£0.24 vs £0.30), which is comparable to their Search CPCs over the same time period (£0.25).

Engagement-wise it is comfortably the top performing format too:

  • 549 post likes compared with 170 for carousel ads and 46 for single image (May-July16).
  • 30 shares Vs. 15 for carousel ads, and 0 for single image.
  • 308 page likes Vs. 88 for carousel ads.

Based on these results, Watchfinder has already produced a second Canvas to launch in support of their renewed ‘Sell Your Watch’ campaign in August.

Quote from the client:

We’re excited to work with the team at Merkle | Periscopix through the Canvas ad format and the results so far are looking great.

Lloyd Amsdon, Co-founder, Watchfinder

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