5G is Almost Here to Change Every Mobile Thing

In June, the 3GPP, the international group that governs cellular standards, officially signed off on 5G technology. The first 5G-capable phones from major brands like Samsung and Motorola will start to appear in early 2019 and wireless network operators are already prepping their infrastructure to handle 5G’s lightning-fast speeds. This game-changing technology will spur innovation around the type of content a consumer can access anywhere and anytime, especially on mobile apps.

While we don’t know everything that 5G will bring, we can assume that for marketers it means you’ll be able to do everything you’re doing now, only better and faster. Faster speeds equate to, among other things, faster downloads, lower latencies, and faster streaming of higher-quality media. Here are a few ways that can impact your plans:

  • The mobile web will just perform better. With lower latencies, when a consumer taps your ad, your site will appear much faster. That lag today, while minimal in most cases, can cause customers to click away, even if it is only a second or two. Your apps will perform better, your content will stream better at higher resolutions, and your mobile website will load faster and run more smoothly – so you’ll be able to do more with it.
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality are likely to experience rapid growth and adoption, after years of high hopes and a lot of stagnation. We’re likely to see advances not only in consumer adoption, but also in applications for gaming (obviously), education, healthcare and other industries.
  • Those ideas you’ve had for IoT applications might be actionable in the next year. 5G will power smart homes and smart cities, connecting all the “things” in faster, more effective ways, and paving the way for even more opportunities. In a recent survey by Gartner, 57 percent of respondents considered IoT the “most promising” niche for 5G mobile apps.

While we won’t know the capabilities of 5G handsets until they’re released and we don’t know what “unlimited” data plans will look like for 5G, we can make the assumption that consumer will actually be doing more with mobile than ever before. More consuming content, more calling Ubers, more buying gifts and booking yoga classes. That means more available data, more access to consumers wherever they are, and more mobile users to reach with your campaigns.

It also means that mobile advertising is going to have to accelerate to keep up. We can expect that there will be new multimedia formats, as well as new “premium” advertising options. As one agency director told Digiday, “Getting really granular with retargeting and hypertargeting is possible right now, but the depth of how we can communicate to consumers will expand, and with the expansion, comes more premium options.” Programmatic auctions will also have to evolve to keep up with the speed and volume of data.

The importance of clean data can’t be underestimated in this brave, new 5G world. With so much more data available, more poor-quality data will inevitably flood the market. It’s critical for marketers to ensure they’re only using the best quality, cleanest data on the market if they want to drive results. (Read about Blis’s stringent standards here.)

With faster speeds and more data than ever, best practices like segmentation and personalization will also be more important than ever. The opportunities to reach customers will increase, as will the ability to help them find what they need. It’s more than making a customer an offer of a discounted latte at Starbucks as they walk by; it’s the chance to notify them in their car or on their smartwatch that they’re near a store offering the sneakers they were shopping for online, enticing them with an offer to come in and buy them, and actually guiding them to the shelf where the shoes are located.

And of course, location data will continue to be important – and there will be more of it than ever before, opening more opportunities for marketers to learn about their target audiences, their preferences, and their behavior. Marketers, get ready: 5G is going to make our jobs a lot more interesting. Buckle up!

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