In the history of online advertising, it’s been customary for ad clicks to direct people to websites (or “landing pages”). With the Instant Experience, Facebook offers an alternative, or perhaps a substitute, as the ad destination. When you create an Instant Experience in Facebook Ads, you’ll create a full-screen layout to serve as the destination when an ad is clicked. (Note that links in the Instant Experience can then lead to websites and landing pages.)
Just like landing pages, Instant Experiences can include a variety of elements, including text, buttons, images, videos, and products. They can be created in custom fashion or by using one of several templates that Facebook offers.
Instant Experiences are a feature for mobile devices only. If you run your ad using an Instant Experience, don’t expect it to be seen on desktop computers. Instant Experiences can appear on both Facebook and Instagram.
What are the benefits?
There are several nice benefits to using an Instant Experience with your ad. In my opinion, the benefits that have the highest significance are speed and custom audience building.
Speed – Facebook claims that Instant Experiences can load up to fifteen times faster than a typical landing page! That could make a huge difference in results. There is a considerable amount of research to prove that speed is an important factor when consumers take actions from online ads. The bottom line is that slow-loading pages result in lost business.
Custom Audience building – One of the most powerful features of Facebook advertising is the ability to create and target custom audiences. These are audiences that have engaged with your brand in the past in some way, such as: they’ve visited your website, they’ve reacted to your Page posts or ads, or they’re on your email list. Instant Experience interaction is another way that custom audiences can be built. (See more on that below.)
How to create an Instant Experience
To create an Instant Experience:
- Check the box for “Add an Instant Experience” in the ad creation panel. (As I wrote this article, the box was labeled “Fullscreen Mobile Experience,” so note that wordings can change.)
- Then you’ll see options to create an Instant Experience from a template, choose an existing Instant Experience, or use a “custom” approach to build one from scratch, adding elements as you wish.
- When you’re done building, click Save in the upper right.
- To get a preview of how it will look, click the Mobile Preview drop-down and then choose among the options for previewing on Facebook or Instagram.
- When you’re finished, click Finish in the upper right. (Note that after you finish your IE, you won’t be able to edit it.)
When a viewer taps the ad on their mobile phone, the Instant Experience will open.
Note that you can link several Instant Experiences together if you wish. When setting the destination for a link, you can choose between website, app store, or another Instant Experience.
About the Templates
Several templates can be chosen when creating an Instant Experience, such as:
- The Customer Acquisition template
- The Storytelling template
- The Sell Products (Without Catalog) template
- The Storefront template
- The Lookbook template
- AR Experience (Facebook is currently testing this)
Each template is composed of elements arranged in an attractive layout for the given purpose. You need to add the text, videos, images, button labels, and URLs in the appropriate places.
The selection of templates that is available might depend on the campaign objective and other settings chosen for the given campaign and ad set.
Specifications and options for the elements used
Here are some specifications for the elements that can be used in an Instant Experience.
- By default, images extend the full width of the screen
- You use up to 20 images.
- There are two image sizing options:
- Fit-to-Width makes the image the full width of the screen, allowing for variable height.
- Fit-to-Height makes the image fill the screen vertically. If the image overflows horizontally, a “tilt-to-pan” feature will be available to the viewer.
- PNG and JPG file types can be used.
- Multiple blocks of text can be added. Each block can have up to five hundred words.
- There is a selection of fonts available for the text.
- Font size options range from very small to very large.
- Text can appear as normal, bold, underlined, or Italic
- Text can be aligned to the left, right, or center.
- Buttons are a requirement for Instant Experiences. There must be at least one.
- Facebook recommends choosing a background color to for your primary call-to-action button and outlined buttons for secondary CTAs.
- There is a selection of font options for the button text.
- Fonts can be normal, bold, underlined, or Italic.
- Button outline and background color can be chosen.
- Any video used will be set to autoplay and loop with sound off.
- You can choose between full width or fit-the-screen for each video.
- The minimum video resolution is 720 p.
- The format of the video files should be .mov or .mp4.
- There is not a limit to the number of videos that can be added, but the combined duration of all videos cannot be more than two minutes.
- It’s best to create your video for portrait dimensions.
- The thumbnail for the video will be taken from the first frame of the video.
Creating Custom Audiences from Instant Experiences
One of the best features of Instant Experiences it that you can create custom audiences based on user interaction. Whenever you can have mechanisms that serve to test the interest level of the viewer, they can be invaluable for knowing for who to target again in the future – and who not to.
In the custom audience creation panel, the following options are available for targeting based on Instant Experiences:
- People who opened a particular Instant Experience
- People who clicked on a link in an Instant Experience
The window of time can be customized to be shorter (as in more recent) or longer (to be more inclusive), up to 365 days.
Reporting Data Available
After your ad begins to run, you can analyze your results in Ads Manager or in Ads Reporting with metrics for Instant Experience. The following metrics can be added to columns in Ads Manager:
Instant Experience View Time – How much time was spent viewing the IE.
Instant Experience View Percentage – What percentage of the IE was viewed.
Instant Experience Impressions – The number of times the IE was seen.
Instant Experience Reach – The number of people who viewed the IE.
Instant Experience Clicks to Open – The number of clicks that opened the IE.
Instant Experience Clicks to Start – The number of times an interactive component in an Instant Experience starts.
Instant Experience Outbound Clicks – The number of clicks on links in an IE that takes a user off of Facebook.
To see these metrics in Ads Manager, click the columns drop-down and choose “Customize Columns”.
Here are some tips offered by Facebook to achieve the best results with Instant Experiences:
- Make your ad enticing enough so that viewers will want to open your IE.
- Make your brand clear early by putting your logo in the header of the IE.
- Utilize one of the templates since they are proven to be successful layouts.
- Get to the point quickly since some viewers won’t see all the content in your IE.
- Including several calls to action can sometimes increase the chances that a viewer will take the next step.
- Combine several different elements. Longer Instant Experiences, with 5 – 7 elements, tend to get more attention.