Case Study: Dwell Rate Skyrockets with Microsoft Advertising Filmstrip


ADOTAS – Let’s say you’re a major brand looking to build awareness of what you can offer — even if your parent company is a household name. What can you do to send a winning message over the millions of user you’re capable or reaching? That’s the core issue Microsoft Advertising in Canada wanted to confront last year. Sure, everyone knows what Microsoft is, but what can Microsoft Advertising do  for its clients? Digital advertising campaign management company MediaMind and advertising/marketing network Wunderman Toronto worked with MSA to develop a rich media online ad campaign, using a film strip with “multiple interaction points” that was designed to communicate both advanced creativity and a sensible, tasteful design. Users could peruse the slides, and the ad unit could note which slide the user looked at last — which helped gauge their progression through the ever-important funnel. And the campaign worked — it drove dwell rate up to 1401 percent the industry average, and interaction up 816 percent of the industry average. Below, find the text of the case study MediaMind prepared to illustrate the campaign’s goals and successes:


Microsoft Advertising/Wunderman:

MSA Uses Filmstrip to Demonstrate Innovation, Dwell Rate Breaks Benchmarks


Despite its rank as one of the top digital media publishers in Canada, Microsoft Advertising is always in search of fresh ways to build brand awareness and solidify its reputation as a thought leader. The company knows that being at the top of its market does not automatically equate to being top-of-mind among advertisers and media professionals. So, how do you educate advertisers and agencies on all the innovation and insight you offer? You practice what you preach.


MSA’s branding strategy used its own media solutions and insight to promote its brand and demonstrate its capabilities through a combination of media, creative and experiential marketing. The goal of the campaign was to drive a statistically significant increase in Microsoft Advertising total brand awareness and top box ratings on Leadership and Knowledge.

The Plan

In October, 2011, MSA Canada launched the MSA Story Forward initiative, an innovative campaign designed to walk the walk of MSA’s three-part brand promise:

Connection – The MSA CA network (96% reach of online Canadians) provided the scale required to reach the target audience and accounted for 51% (1.9M) of campaign impressions. The team then targeted the remaining media across Marketing Mag, Media in Canada and eMarketer. In total, the campaign drove 1,500 visits to the campaign landing page.

Relevance – On-network hyper-targeting drove relevance and scale to deliver the MSA brand message to Tier 1 Agencies, Top 20 Advertisers and Creatives and created a 138K strong custom behavioral targeting segment for future communications.

Creativity – MSA insight on dwell on branding made innovative rich media a cornerstone of the campaign. The IAB Filmstrip, a Rising Star unit co-developed by MSA and MediaMind, was the campaign’s flagship creative and a media first for Canada’s top three trades. The unit is divvied into five 300×600 segments with multiple interaction points and opportunities for rich media and videos. The format packs a lot of rich media punch into a compact and clutter-free unit.

“This campaign allowed us to show — not tell — marketers what MSA does best: deliver innovative user experiences based on deep understanding of the medium and backed by results. MediaMind and Wunderman helped us get the most out of this unit from both a functionality and a brand building perspective. There’s definitely a movement within the industry where people are talking about building brands through digital, and this requires innovative ad units and new forms of measurement.” — Andrew Assad, Marketing Manager, Microsoft Advertising

The Execution

MediaMind worked closely with the Wunderman Toronto team to develop this campaign’s filmstrip execution. The intelligent, multi-level ad lets a user flip through slides and remembers what slide a user saw last, thus guiding them through the engagement funnel whether or not they interact with the ad. The Filmstrip template is built in a way that advertisers can easily make changes without worrying about predefined filmstrip functionality. MediaMind also provided guidance on using the MediaMind Data Capture component, which embedded a contact request form within the unit for lead generation. Filmstrip functionality included:

Creative state component (enables ad to “remember” what slide the user saw last)

Data capture component (enables collection of data submitted by user via online form)

Video component allows utilization of multiple videos within the two-box ad boundary

Video performance metrics included:

Number of video starts

Number of times video played to the 25%, 50% and 75% marks

Number of times video fully played


The innovative execution delivered significantly above industry averages Dwell +1401%, Interaction Rate +816%, Time Spent +164%. This campaign delivered numerous media firsts, showcased MSA innovation and achieved outstanding performance.

“There’s definitely a movement within the industry where people are talking about building brands through digital, and this requires innovative ad units and new forms of measurement.” — Jacqueline O’Sullivan, Marketing Director, Microsoft Advertising


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