5G promises to be a major step forward for mobile internet connectivity according to the BBC.
It promises to give users faster download data, upload speeds, wider coverage, more stable connections and enable more devices to access the network at the same time.
But while 5G’s promise has been talked about widely from a theoretical level, there has been little chance to think about how exactly it works in practice and what that will mean for businesses.
That is, until now. Verizon has started its 5G rollout across the United States. A number of networks in the UK have launched their first 5G services. And China, the mobile internet powerhouse, is naturally pushing its fifth-generation mobile network out rapidly across the country.
For consumers, this will mean that they will soon be set to unlock the benefits of 5G for their personal mobile consumption.
And this opening up of hyper-fast connections to customers around the world represents a real opportunity for mobile marketing and advertising businesses everywhere.
The 5G consumer revolution
Before turning to the ways that 5G could shake up our industry, we have to think first about the way it is set to revolutionize the way consumers interact with mobile apps, services and games.
We’ve touched briefly upon the broad benefits of 5G already, but it’s important to drill a bit more deeply into how those points will level-up the consumer experience.
First, when we say that there will be increased download and upload speeds we really do mean a noticeable bump In an interview for Diginomica, Salesforce’s John Carney makes this point neatly.
A film that takes 20 minutes to download in a 4G world will, in a 5G environment, take a matter of seconds. And latency, the bugbear of gamers across the world, will dramatically drawdown from a not too shabby 50 milliseconds to under one.
The impact of this is simple: it will enable consumers to experience richer content offerings much more quickly than they’ve done so before. It will reduce loading times on eCommerce sites to nothing, make accessing media content easier than ever and enable gaming experiences – such as game streaming or mobile VR – that have been limited until now.
While the current mobile experience will be optimised greatly with the support of 5G, the second way it’ll change the consumer experience is by revolutionizing the wider world.
CP Gurnani, MD of Tech Mahindra, makes this point eloquently on CNN Business. The emergence of 5G will likely transform the world, he argues, because it’ll make the promise of a connected ‘internet of things’ style infrastructure truly possible.
Much vaunted developments such as driverless cars, real-time personal health tech data and the ability to smartly manage your home have all been possible in 4G. But with less latency, a broader spectrum for devices to occupy and faster upload speeds, the viability of these sectors – and many others across fields – increases rapidly.
5G doesn’t just promise to enhance the current consumer experience; it potentially changes the world. And with that, opportunity knocks for marketers and advertisers.
The 5G mobile marketing and advertising opportunity
The most important reason why 5G will provide a real opportunity for mobile marketers and advertisers is that it will only increase the importance of mobile device usage in consumer lives.
By unlocking an internet experience that is comparable – or even comparatively better – than most wired internet connections worldwide, mobile devices will likely decisively become the primary device for users worldwide.
This presents, naturally, a real opportunity for the existing mobile advertising ecosystem.
5G will allow advertisers to run richer advertising formats – such as high-quality video or interactive adverts – in a less disruptive manner. Advertising exchange speeds will increase (and so will the speed with which users access apps), growing the market further. And 5G will lessen the disruptiveness of adverts because richer formats will load and run while taking a comparatively smaller share of a user’s accessible data.
But marketers and advertisers need to think more boldly than that. 5G matters because it will put mobile firmly at the heart of the entire global economy.
It will eradicate the barriers between a traditional formal mobile experience and those experienced, say on a TV or on a computer screen. By levelling up the network infrastructure so rapidly, the opportunities for mobile advertisers will be no less than the chance to drive data through every traditional advertising format possible.
As users stream live sports through their mobile devices seamlessly, advertisers could run truly personalised ads in the breaks in play.
Native in-game advertising could go from being a minor mobile gaming footnote to an integral part of the industry, as top games get streamed to mobile devices through Google’s Stadia.
And artificial intelligence could become a genuine player in mobile marketing and advertising, with hyper-connected networks facilitating the rapid dialogue it needs to succeed.
Resetting the field
Yes, there is still much to happen before 5G truly takes over the world. Its roll-out remains relatively limited worldwide; the number of people accessing it is not the critical mass necessary to change the rule book completely now. In short, its potential will not immediately be tapped.
But that potential will be tapped. Whereas fields like health tech, AR/VR or advanced streaming each have different chances of success, 5G will inevitably push forward because it’s the next evolution of mobile’s central infrastructure. The benefits it delivers will be realised in time, it’s simply a question of when.
Advertisers and marketers should, therefore, look to improve their existing mobile efforts to capitalise on it. But they should also encourage teams to think about what mobile advertising could be in a 5G world.
The fifth generation of internet connectivity will radically transform the online environment. Make sure that your business is thinking big to take advantage of it.