With such colossal expectations, it’s no surprise that everyone is eager to embrace 5G. Almost every tech firm from Samsung to LG is busy building smartphones, cars, and homes that will use super-fast 5G networks to change our world. Even chancellor Phillip Hammond has pledged to spend £16 million on a hub to prepare the UK for 5G’s initial arrival in 2020.
But what will this mean for marketers?
While the benefits for consumers are clear (lightning-speed networks that make virtual reality (VR) accessible anywhere and download speeds 1000 times faster than 4G) the advantages for marketers are less easy to decipher. Yet, with close enough inspection, it’s clear 5G will bring plenty of new opportunities for marketers and advertising.
The ‘Internet of Everything’ boosts personalisation
We’re already living in the Internet of Things (IoT) era; but with 5G will come a new phase in our increasingly digitalised existence: the Internet of Everything.
As a result, the number of connected things will balloon, totalling 29 billion by 2021, and so will the volume of insight available to marketers. By accessing data produced by consumer interactions with in-store beacons, smart city services, and home appliances, marketers will gain a more granular view of individual habits, likes and dislikes – enabling them to deliver personalised insight with a new level of understanding, resonance, and effectiveness.
For example, MasterCard and Visa have joined forces with connected car manufactures to make electronic payments available through smart vehicles. Used in conjunction with location targeting, retailers can offer special discounts to drivers as they approach a store, enticing them to enter and make a purchase.
Faster downloads open new format possibilities
It’s true that, at present, online advertising doesn’t have a huge need for 5G, mostly because formats just aren’t sophisticated enough. But a lot can change in three to five years, so let’s look at the potential.
One of the key attractions of 5G is its speed. Qualcomm’s new 5G-enabled chip, for example, is purportedly 400 times faster than its 4G predecessor. And 5G trials at Nokia’s Bell Labs unit have reached download speeds of up to 10Gbit/s (sufficient to download and upload an HD movie in less than one second). So, 5G will be faster than any network that has come before it and, for marketers, this means two things: less latency and more interactive formats.
Latency has so far been one of the biggest barriers to widespread adoption of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), with 4G latency of up to 60 milliseconds making it impossible for data-hungry ads to run smoothly. Yet 5G is intended to cut latency down to around four milliseconds, which will open up a host of new advertising opportunities.
At last, advertisers will be able to utilise rich media and interactive formats (such as VR and AR) to tell tailored, cross-channel stories that develop closer bonds with consumers, rather than eating up their data allowance or leaving them waiting for content to buffer. What’s more, when combined with insight gained from individual activity, these immersive ads will help to convey highly personal and engaging messages that significantly improve individual experiences, and enhance their enjoyment of the medium.
While we may not yet be sure exactly what the 5G standard will be, or how far its influence will reach, one thing is for certain: 5G is going to change the world, and the way we advertise. With greater data processing capacity and speed, there will be no limit to what marketers can achieve, which means its time to start getting creative.