Facebook has been aggressively rolling out many new features for advertisers and users. The lines are rapidly blurring between the functionalities now available between Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. However, Facebook undoubtedly still leads the way for advertisers needing to reach the right people through their advanced audience targeting and micro-targeting tools.

We’ve rounded up the new features recently launched by Facebook and how best to use these tool to improve engagement rates.

Animated GIFs in Ads

According to Facebook, “Shorter videos get more completed views. More people watch to the end of videos that are 15 seconds or less.”

This is exactly why GIFs have become increasingly popular. They are certainly not new for many advertisers who use Twitter. Up until now if you were running ads in Facebook you weren’t able to use them in any ad formats.

Facebook announced in March this year that it now allows advertisers to use GIFs in ads. Using Ad Manager or Power Editor, you select the ‘Single Video’ option and once uploaded the GIF will autoplay and loop in the same way as video format. Be sure to use a link ending with .gif with file size less than 8MB.

The best part about this new feature is that you can repurpose your existing video content to create brilliant ads with higher engagement. To create a GIF go to GIPHY.com.

To get the best engagement you will need to ensure:

  • Image rules apply – only 20% text on the image.
  • High quality – as with video use only high quality images or animations. Flashy GIFs will most likely get disapproved.
  • Storytelling – for best results, post a series of GIFs to tell a story.
  • Consider your audience – GIFs are not supported across all mobile devices. If you’re targeting a demographic with older smartphones, you may want to reconsider using GIFs.

Animated content is known to have the highest engagement rates, because they’re attractive and highly shareable. Get started on using a GIF in your next Facebook ad campaign to see your user engagement get the ultimate boost.

Canvas API

With over 1.7 billion daily active users viewing Facebook on a mobile device it’s little wonder Facebook keep rolling out new tools for brands to reach even more users on mobile.

We’re also continuously reminded as advertisers to ‘tell a story’ when creating a campaign, and Facebook keep developing new tools to support this message. This is exactly where Canvas comes into the picture.

Facebook Canvas, launched back in 2016, a ‘full-screen’ mobile ad experience to help advertisers to showcase products and tell a story by using high resolution images and videos. Canvas is a quick loading page and is 10 times faster than the regular mobile web.


Facebook strives to keep more users active on the Facebook App by giving the best possible experience. With fast loading pages to view the information which allows people to take action easily.

Creating a Canvas is incredibly time consuming and labor intensive. To resolve this problem and make it easier for advertisers Facebook launched in April this year the Canvas API. The API provides templates for advertisers. You are able to select various options to create and recreate various Canvas ads, taking the manual element away.

Canvas components available on the API include headers, footers, video, carousel, text, photos and extend as far as including a store locator and product set in a Canvas ad.

If you’re not already using Canvas you will want to consider it following the stats released by Facebook:

  • Facebook users have spent the equivalent of more than 100 years viewing Canvas ads, and the average visit is 31 seconds.
  • More than 50 percent of Canvas ads were built in 10 minutes or less.
  • Ad creators can go from opening Canvas builder to previewing their ads on mobile in less than one minute.

The Canvas API is available through the Facebook Marketing API platform.

Pro tips to get the best engagement from a Canvas ad:

  • Save time by repurposing materials from other ad campaigns.
  • When adding links use “Tap to learn more” for the best CTA results.
  • Always include a header. It helps to set the context of your story.
  • Use the ‘Tap to Expand’ image option so that people can zoom and get the best experience. For wide images use the ‘Tilt to Pan’ option.
  • Include text blocks of up to 500 words to break up images.
  • When inserting a carousel – ad up to 10 same-sized images for best viewing.
  • ‘In line’ button is the best call to action button option.
  • Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes, preferably around 45 seconds.

To measure the success of your Canvas ad there are a number of metrics including view duration, percentage and link clicks. A new metric currently in beta version is named Outbound Clicks. It measures the number of link clicks that take people away from a Facebook-owned property. This is an important metric to measure for true conversion.

Branded Content Tool

For over a year Facebook has made the branded content tool available to only verified publishers and celebrity pages. These brands have witnessed increased engagement levels from branded content posts.


As of April 2017, Facebook opened up the tool to more unverified business pages. Giving these pages the option to share branded content and the opportunity to feature business partners.

To get access to the branded content tool, you will need to:

  • Submit an application here, in order to get permission to the feature.
  • Agree to the branded content policy and adhere to it.
  • Once accepted you will then be able to tag featured third party product, brand or business partner content.
  • Each content posted will be labeled ‘paid’ in the metadata, to inform people that the post represents an exchange of value between creator and business partner.

Publishers and influencers can now tag another business partner in a branded content post and leverage this further by creating compelling ads and sponsorships. The partner can access high-level post insights such as engagement and reach, along with total spend and CPM. The partner will also have the option to share and boost the post to gain additional value.

What can be shared on branded content:

  • Promotions, videos, photos instant article, 360 videos featuring third-party brands.
  • Logos, watermarks, and graphical overlays is now allowed throughout videos.
  • Violating posts will be hidden and not deleted, until the violation has been fixed.

The real benefits to this tool is the collaborative approach many companies have taken for future business growth. It offers partnerships true transparency. Performance insights measures the type of engagement the post receives.

Pro tips for using the branded content tool with Influencers:

  • Partner with micro-influencers. This tool is incredibly powerful for brands who use micro-influencers. Tagging these micro-influencers will gain you increased reach and engagement with a relevant audience.
  • Avoid overly promotional posts. Do not include pre, mid or post-roll ads in video or audio nor banner ads in videos or images. Do not add title cards within the first three seconds of a videos.

The branded content tool is making it easier for publishers and advertisers to incorporate their branded content strategies using Facebook.


This particular new feature is going to help ecommerce players to drive more sales. It’s a powerful combination of the use of imagery and video. Both media types have outstanding engagement and conversion ratios.

Facebook Collections, a new ad unit launched in March, is basically a video that sits on top of four recommended and related products. These products are either selected manually or pulled from most popular products from the your website. When a user clicks on either the product or video they will be directed to a fast-loading landing page.collections facebookBy using Collections you are able to direct users to a fast loading landing page giving them a seamless experience without leaving the Facebook App. Using either traffic or conversion ad manager options, you are able to attract an audience who are more likely to make a purchase.

Top tips for the best converting ads when using a collection:

  • Imagery – the most effective is simply showing someone using your product, show images based on who you are targeting and be sure to test a variety of images.
  • Videos – tailor your video to your audience and focus on storytelling. Show your product in the first 3 seconds of the video and be sure to include on-screen text for muted video viewing.
  • Products – the recommended number of products is 8 or more but be sure to tailor it to your audience you are targeting. Overwhelming them with too many images or unrelated products will reduce your opportunity to convert.

According to Facebook, 30% of mobile shoppers say that video is the best way to discover new products. And for this very reason it is important point to note that Facebook Collections only supports Mobile news feed.

For some advertisers you may also see an option to add Collections to the shop section of your page. This is being gradually rolled out to pages with a shop section.

Advanced Measurement Tools

Metrics is an exceptionally important factor when deciding on future campaign spend and current ROAS. Many advertisers have been frustrated with the limited measurement tools for cross-device analytics. With 82% of marketers who said they are always searching for new tools to help optimize their cross-device advertising strategies.

In response to this feedback Facebook is making it’s Atlas people based measurement data available to advertisers. Allowing them to measure their campaigns across devices and networks.

What you need to know:

  • It will now be easier to compare Facebook, Instagram and audience network alongside other publishers.
  • The tool will focus on reach and attribution.
  • It will let marketers track the order in which users see their ads and how many ads were viewed in a campaign.

Ultimately the advanced measurement tool will help businesses to understand better their campaign efforts on Facebook and compare.

The advanced measurement tool is one to watch out for and will be available in the coming year on the Facebook Business Manager platform.