Case Study

How Canva’s trust in their product garners success.

Canva, Australia's unicorn have found great success with their great product, and trusting the value that it provides almost immediately.


Canva, the free graphic design platform, are the Australian unicorn who pride themselves on empowering the world to design. With their “templates for everything”, they really have taken the world by storm since forming in 2013. 

Billions of designs have been created on the platform 

We can see Canva aims for everything to be “easy” and “basic” for everyone to ‘design, collaborate and share’. But, does their user experience reflect an easy and basic process? This is what we are here to find out with the Flow State Series. A series where the CEO of upflowy.com, Guillaume Ang, reviews the signup flow and the signup experiences from the best companies in the market, to learn from them to inspire us in a new way of creating meaningful experiences that engage with new customers. As a sign up flow builder, Upflowy is always interested in industry best practices, Canva is a great source of inspiration.

How Canva’s trust in their product garners success.

The only thing stopping you from using Canva is choosing your template. 

The design software company is here to serve, making design life easier for business owners, marketers, other professionals, and generally those who don’t have a designer skillset (well, maybe not anymore). 

Empower the world to design.

How are Canva measuring up with their purpose to “empower the world to design”. Well, according to their 2020 report, they ended the year with more than 2 billion designs created worldwide, which calculated to a rate of over 100 designs per second!! 

As Canva recorded, this worked out to be: 

  • 242 million Instagram posts 
  • 46 million presentation 
  • 65 million new logos 

It doesn’t stop there for Canva, the platform of 55 million users has a worth of $20 billion. 

Owning Search Keywords

Canva has positioned themselves incredibly well when it comes to presentation templates. They’re very aware of the challenge that many of us will face – a new pitch deck or a sales presentation. Not having a nice layout for presentations that doesn’t require using Google Slides or PowerPoint. 

How does Canva measure in a keyword search? When we searched presentation templates, there were a few Google Ads, but Canva ranked high for this keyword. They did an amazing job at ranking for this. The awareness of their keyword space is clear to see, and even when searching incognito, Canva still managed to establish their product as being able to solve the challenge of presentation creation. 

Their Landing Page    

As soon as we landed on the landing page for ‘presentation templates’ we were presented with a tailored website experience with a very nice slider at the head. The bottom then featured the presentation options at the bottom, a really comprehensive list of templates. What we love about this landing page is there are categories we can choose from based on the presentation. 

The landing page definitely highlights a tailored approach from Canva. Featuring all the “marketing” based presentation templates. This is a great example of a good customer experience. A user could arrive at Canva’s landing page and realise the product can solve even more of their problems.

In an attempt to see the extent of Canva’s keyword depth, we chose a particular template, ‘Social Media Presentation’. We then searched for this on google, and the keyword wasn’t as strong for Canva. They did appear in the Google results organically, but not as high as before. They may be focusing on other templates that they see as more successful or popular. 

Choose and Edit instantly

Canva implements a freemium strategy that is echoed by their sign up experience. As a first-time user, very little stands in your way to using the product once you’ve come to the landing page. You’re offered a host of templates to choose from. When recording Flow State, Guillaume was offered this great range of templates. You’ll see it below from 5:22 – 6:22

When being introduced to a product, there is often plenty of friction to accessing or realising the genuine value. Canva has chosen to offer the value of its product almost instantly. The templates are well made and offer a host of colour, themes, and subject varieties.

When looking further into a specific template, the details and information do an excellent job of creating context. A user is given the information as to how many people have ‘liked’ this particular template. The social proof of this particular element really speaks to the value that Canva brings. The social proof adds authority and credibility to the platform too. When demonstrating the features that the templates have, they are a little general, but they’ve yet to do any funneling of the user who has arrived on the page.

Finally, the one barrier that stands between a user and them editing their template is a Call to Action. The CTA reads “Customize this template”. Canva has made sure that they are demonstrating as much value as possible, informing the user with great context and then only providing the smallest of friction with a CTA.

Use it once, need it forever. 

Canva really trusts the product. They trust it so much that they give a demo experience that doesn’t hold back. 

As soon as a user selects a template they want to use, Canva gives a guide to discover the tool without any sign up process. 

It is a bold choice but powerful. Canva is here to say, ‘we love our product and we think you will too’. It allows us as users to use the product without friction. It is a very open demo. We haven’t seen a lot of companies doing this. 

Once the user dives in, it allows us to have full control over the freemium model that Canva presents. This includes the features like graphic elements, shapes, stock images. Anything that isn’t an addition with Canva Pro is able to be used without even putting in an email, as we mentioned, is a bold choice, but Canva really backs their product. 

Once the design has been created, whether it be a presentation, social media post, or website graphic, the only time an email is required, is when we either want to share the design with someone as a collaborator or we wish to download the presentation as a file.

That is when the sign up flow starts…

Sign up that keeps you in the product

One thing we noticed with the sign up process. The call to action to sign up and login is very light and almost non noticeable. 

But either way, the user must sign up in order to download the work they have created. So let’s dive into what that looks like! 

The password experience 

For the signup experience, Canva opt for the email and password to sign up. 

Password wise, there is a very clear definition of what’s a good password, it asks for a fair amount of ‘rules’, which makes it easier to create a password. 

Email validation

Once we went through the terms and conditions (which seem pretty straight forward), then an email was sent to confirm the sign up. The experience is very mobile, which makes sense as more than ever people are using Canva on their mobile. 

What we loved about the validation experience is you stay in the signup experience the whole time rather than needing to go to the email, click the link, and end up on a different page. 

The validation code is a great way to keep us in the design we are currently working on, creating less friction. We haven’t seen this in many other sign up experiences. Often when users are faced with the “click the link in an email process” for validation, they are taken to another sign up page and the site they were currently on is then deemed useless. 

Canva has made it easier for us as a user to stay in our current design and still signup.      

The upsell 

Although Canva is free, they do have Canva Pro, which is the paid option and gives access to more features within the app. Once we have verified the account, there is a prompt for card information to access the free trial. 

Now, this is interesting. Canva prides itself on being freemium. So the fact they ask for payment information isn’t what we have seen before in Canva. But, if you finish the signup process by hitting “refresh”, you have successfully been given free access to Canva without the need to put in your card details for a “free trial”. 

Canva pushed hard for the Canva Pro upgrade, which might be something they are working on for their business model. We understand this is fair play, they have a great product and so offer a lot to the user.     

All in all, this is the end of the experience. And we’ve learned a lot, we’ve learned about smart ways to activate, like an email account without having to open a new window, clicking on a link, for example. 

Thank you Canva for the quality, basic, yet easy sign up experience. 

Recommendations

When analysing how Canva has approached its acquisition process, we can see a product-led strategy. They trust in the appeal and value of the product, letting it speak for itself. The lack of friction is partnered with this and really pays off in highlighting value to users as soon as possible. They have surely prevented plenty of user drop off as a result.

If there were any points to improve, we recommend focusing on showing more contextual information about the templates. In viewing the templates there isn’t a way to have one’s choice validated or drive decision making. For many users, their favourite colour and style may inform their choice more than what they may need from a presentation. Additional information about why a particular template is better for certain scenarios, would really help their brand positioning to that new user, making them see it as more than a design tool.

Final Thoughts

Canva has made some great decisions within their sign up experience. We were lucky enough to have two separate episodes with Canva employees on our Net Positive Podcast. We spoke to Charlotte Norman and Christian Iacullo and Canva’s product influence is readily available when it comes to their audience segmentation, funneling, onboarding, and sign up. 

Canva offers a tailored approach when it comes to their user engagement, from the beginning in keyword ownership, all the way through to offering an unmatched demo experience. Canva’s trust in their product garners success, as the customer’s awareness or interaction with the value is incredibly quick. The almost frictionless experience is one to model after.

If your business is looking to demonstrate the value of your product, rapidly tell your brand story, and better funnel your audience, Upflowy can help. When building within our no-code platform, it’s incredibly easy to maintain your brand story, contextualise all the information for your user and offer a personalised experience through conditional logic. Find out more at our website. 

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