A 5 minute take on 5G

New technology is always exciting, not least for advertisers. It tends to open new possibilities for targeting consumers, whether it be through new channels or existing ones. For example, the rise in AI technologies has seen a dramatic change in addressability courtesy of programmatic advertising, allowing advertisers to more accurately target the right consumers, in real-time, via online display.

However new technologies also create a responsibility for advertisers and media owners to respect the user experience, especially with concerns of brand safety and privacy being raised in recent times. It is something the industry must keep in mind as advertisers around the world prepare for arguably the most important tech-evolution this century…the introduction of 5G!

5G – the fifth-generation of mobile internet connectivity” (which promises faster data download/upload speeds, wider coverage and more stable connections) – will present a host of opportunities for advertisers as it connects individuals and businesses like never before. Although its capabilities are still being understood, 5G is set to revolutionise the way information is used and consumed, from seamless video streaming all the way to building smart cities and more. For the advertising industry, it represents opportunities via faster page loads, greater ad interactivity, use of larger creatives, and accelerated adoption of new media channels. The number of visitors dropping off because of delays in page loads will also decrease through higher data capacity and lower latency. It will also drive increases in media consumption through mobile, fuelling the trend of increases in mobile advertising spend (£6.9bn in 2018 vs £5.2bn in 2017).

All this sounds great, except for wary consumers who already feel invaded by mobile ads, pop ups and unwanted ad exposure. Research by Kantar found that two thirds of consumers found ads to be more intrusive than they used to be, whilst a third of respondents found ads more irritating than three years ago. The introduction of 5G could complicate matters even further given its capabilities, straining the perception of online ads even further (which I’m sure advertisers do not want). Programmatic advertisers for example are likely to see benefits in terms of data processing, which should increase their capabilities of providing more relevant ads. However, with only 11% of UK consumers reported to have enjoyed advertising, media owners must ask themselves “what is best for the consumer” rather than what looks best financially.

Advertisers and media owners need to think of how they can switch these perceptions around in ways that work for all parties. Using the best of what 5G can offer in more non-intrusive ways will be a good start. Consumers like to see relevant ads, but don’t like the feeling of being exploited. As new media channels emerge through 5G (VR, AR, video streaming, enhanced programmatic, etc), it will give advertisers the opportunity to make ads more interactive, personal, and emotional, something great for consumers and brand story telling. As the industry comes to grips with 5G and everything that comes with it, advertisers should be prudent in their use of new formats, as consumers come to grips themselves.

5G will do amazing things, but when it comes to new technology, I think it’s always sensible to remember (especially in advertising)…just because we can, does not mean we always should!

Mitesh Mistry - Junior Digital Executive

Author: Mitesh Mistry - Junior Digital Executive

Mitesh graduated from De Montfort University with a degree in Marketing Management and is a Junior Digital Executive at Total Media Connect. He loves going to a cinema and is a fan of all things Disney!