Ann RubinVice President, Branded Content and Global CreativeIBM
Although TV still prevails among media platforms, audience screen time is shifting as digital video becomes more prevalent. Ann Rubin, vice president of branded content and global creative at IBM, spoke with eMarketer’s Danielle Drolet about how best to reach the fragmented viewers on any screen.
eMarketer: How does your budget shake out for digital video vs. TV?
Ann Rubin: Overall, the industry is still significantly more traditional TV than digital video. For us, it’s a matter of buying the right kind of TV and digital video. Our digital spend is half our total spend. And within that, video buys and using video on all of digital is a very high percentage. We understand the importance of digital video and all of online—critical to reach our various audiences.
TV remains critical, too, especially the way we buy TV, which is to reach our specific audience. We’re also buying in places where timeshifting is less, particularly live sports, such as the Masters, US Open and NFL.
eMarketer: With audience fragmentation, an integrated cross-screen endeavor is ideal for marketers. But there are challenges in customizing content and cost. How can brands overcome these obstacles?
Rubin: It’s a good point, and something that we think about a lot. Today in the industry, content is becoming more and more important. And it’s targeted, individualized and personalized.
It’s becoming less about creating some TV spot or advertising content. Instead, create content that could be reused and repurposed. Also, manipulate the content in separate components that can be repurposed in lots of different ways and tailored. Create elements that can be put together, whether it’s a video for mobile, YouTube or for a TV spot.
eMarketer: What are the most effective ways of reaching your audience with fragmentation?
Rubin: It’s a matter of understanding the data and being able to apply the data differently in our marketing. Deliver the right content to the right person at the right time no matter what device they’re on. Get rid of the barriers of platform, time and device. Figure out ways to use technology and data to deliver the right content at the right time regardless of platform.
eMarketer: The 18-to-24 age demo is spending more time with digital video than older people. However, they’re still watching TV. When this demo gets older and has families, will their behavior will change at all?
Rubin: That’s a really great question. I really don’t know. It could. But it also depends on where the industry goes from now until then. For example, what’s going to happen with the industry? These people are 24. When they’re 49, the landscape is going to be so different. When today’s 49-year-old was 24, there was no social media. Things change so fast. It’s hard to predict.
eMarketer: Taking into consideration all the age groups, and thinking about Netflix and Amazon Prime video, how much of people’s video time is spent in ways in which they are inaccessible to us?
Rubin: There are always ways to tie into things even if you don’t have an ad on a show, on Netflix. There are things you can do, such as second screen. There’s social. You can always tap into the interests of people in some way. You just have to be more creative about how you tap into those interests.
eMarketer: Of the different screens for digital video—desktops, smartphones, tablets and even connected TV—what are the pros and cons of these screens for ad and marketing campaigns?
Rubin: It’s less about pros and cons and more about the ability to understand what type of content our different audiences want to consume on each of those platforms. Look at what they want to consume on a desktop and what point during the day might be very different from what that same person wants to consume on connected TV at night. The same person might show different behavior at a different time of day.
Understand your audience, their journey and how they want to use each of those platforms.
eMarketer: In the next one to two years, what are the most important implications for marketers due to this audience fragmentation across screens?
Rubin: Don’t lose sight of the most important thing, which is what the customer wants to consume at any given time. And, whatever platform they’re on and the point of the journey they’re in—provide what content they need at that time.
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