What is a Filmstrip ad unit?

The filmstrip is a relatively new ad unit classified as a “rising star” by the IAB. Though it fits into a 300×600 ad unit, the total ad is five times as tall. Visitors are able to scroll through the five segments to see new messaging. Typically, advertisers build filmstrip ad units with each segment corresponding a a deeper move down the purchase funnel:

Example of a Purchase Funnel

In other words, the filmstrip would progress from a generic message highlighting the brand to a specific action item (the fifth segment may correspond to feelings of loyalty, or repeat purchases).

Below is an example of this filmstrip ad unit in action:

As shown above, filmstrips are typically equipped with rich media that allows for some sort of interaction by the user.

Mobile Filmstrips

There is also a mobile version of the filmstrip that can be displayed primarily on tablets. The functionality here is generally similar, with the added option of a full screen video popping up after some of the prompts:

Filmstrip Specifications

The IAB rising stars filmstrip will load in three distinct phases

  1. Initial File Load whereby the Base Ad Component loads and a “hidden frame” of the Full Page Ad Component also loads. This hidden frame enables the rapid deployment of the Full Page Ad Component before additional files download.

  2. Subsequent User-Initiated File Load, where the “resting state” of the Full Page Ad Component loads. Importantly, this resting state is essentially one layer deep in that it presents the full experience to the viewer, but has not loaded additional files that may be called upon with further interaction.

  3. Subsequent Additional User-Initiated File Load. This includes all files that load as a result of the viewer further interacting with the Full Page Ad Component.


What is a filmstrip ad unit?

filmstrip is a “scrolling, multi-panel ad experience designed to provide a content-rich interactive canvas for storytelling

How does a filmstrip ad unit work?

Filmstrip can move down one subsequent frame. Each panel can be used to let the user interact with your brand without the need to leave the webpage.

What are the benefits of filmstrip for advertisers and publishers?

Publishers love it because they have very high engagement levels (which advertisers are willing to pay for in terms of higher CPMs), and Advertisers love this new ad format because it means that they have more canvas space to work with.