The advent of 5G has the potential to be massive for marketers. When it does hit, mobile download speeds are expected to average 100mbps, and latency will drop to near zero. Consumers in dense urban environments will suffer fewer problems with overloading networks, and those in remote regions will experience new levels of connectivity.
5G is an opportunity for brands and marketers to reach more consumers, to be even more innovative with how they engage people, and to strive to be more responsible as customers give over more of their private space to a swathe of newly connected devices.
Here’s a sample of the ways in which 5G is set to change the game for the media industry, and marketing more broadly.
New types of streamable content
Faster data speeds and lower latency will, in the first place, see even faster streaming capabilities. Video will need to buffer less and content will be more consistently of a higher quality.
This will give marketers more opportunity to distribute HD content, as well as newer forms of video including virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-degree film. Enriched video content will be massively deliverable.
4k streaming will also see live video reach more consumers. This is significant for media programmers such as sportscasters, but brands can also see potential in one-to-one video calling as an increasingly dependable channel for customer service.
We can expect such communication to proliferate in a similar way to how we have seen live chat and social media make great changes to customer service in the 4G era. Customers will, once more, expect to speak with brand representatives face-to-face across this more dependable network.
Downloading to make a comeback?
While 4G connectivity meant consumers began streaming more on their mobile devices, faster data exchanges across 5G networks will mean download speeds can begin to match the immediacy of streams. To date it still takes a number of minutes to download a feature film in HD, while 5G promises the same size of files to arrive within a matter of seconds.
Marketers and brands could see fresh opportunities available with a customer base who are keen once more to download and own content, rather than just streaming it.
For instance, in mobile specifically we might see investment swing back towards apps and in-app advertising and away from mobile web which boomed during the 4G era. Faster access to cloud storage will eliminate the barrier of device capacity.
More connected devices
5G could also be the connectivity evolution that will see the Internet of Things (IoT) hit the mainstream.
A recent report by Ericsson, Opportunities in 5G, predicts some massively important changes to the automotive industry brought about by reliable high capacity 5G networks: ‘Deploying large networks of sensors, such as vehicle sensors on a road, becomes more practical—with greater network capacity and longer battery life for the devices on the network.’
This gives an indication of just how connected the real world could be with 5G. It won’t just be a major selling point for hands-free home devices such as Amazon’s Alexa (especially if the touted partnership with Dish comes to fruition). Innumerable items within the household – from lightbulbs, to central heating boilers, to refrigerators – will potentially be able to benefit from a new, more dependable mobile network.
For the consumer and marketer/brand relationship, faster and more convenient ordering of household products and services is a clear opportunity.
Customers will potentially not even need to reach for their mobile phones to make an order, using instead one-click smart buttons (which we’re already seeing) or simply relying on the automated technologies to know when a new product is needed.
However, for marketers this increasingly connected private space calls for responsible behavior and efficient responses to potential misuse, technical errors or cybercrime. Consumers will not appreciate unwanted intrusions into their lives – particularly from poorly-targeted advertising.
Additionally, customers will need to be assured that there are outstanding aftercare and returns options in the event of having a negative experience.
In the 5G era, brands and marketers will be forced to up their game
5G is certainly exciting for marketers. There are fresh opportunities for engagement and innovation. There will be more tools with which to promote products and services, and more efficient means by which customers can purchase.
Consumers will likely be quick to trust 5G technology, but they will also need to be able to trust the brands using them. I think that with this next generation of connectivity, we can predict higher expectations of customer experience (before, during and after purchasing), and it will be the brands and marketers who are responsible with this new level of access to our lives that will lead the field.