5G and the Future of Mobile Experiences

Feb 12, 2019

Article ImageNetwork speed can make or break a mobile experience. According to Google, to fully load a mobile site, “it still takes about 15 seconds, according to our new analysis. Thats far too slow when you consider that 53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.” Of course, not all of this is the network’s fault, but a poor connection doesn’t help—which is why plenty of people are talking about 5G.  

Capacity and Speed. They are the main differentiators from 4G to 5G,” says David Zapletal, EVP of Media Operations at Digital Remedy. “G, which stands for 'generation' has in the past indicated a new feature. 2G allowed users to send messages. 3G allowed them to access the internet. 5G isn’t a new function as much as it is an ability to do all mobile functions with incredible bandwidth and speed. For everyone annoyed that their social feed won’t load, or their SMS didn’t go out: those, in theory, will be thoughts of the past. Another aspect of this is the door opening for new internet providers to support the home directly, without any of the existing infrastructure. As an example, Verizon will be entering the PHL market to support homes via 5G.”

It's no coincidence then that Verizon Media surveyed “advertisers and consumers on how they expect 5G to transform experiences” and found that awareness is considerable—“70% of people have heard of 5G and are somewhat familiar with its benefits.” And the thing respondents are most excited about is faster data transfers. Improvements to video streaming—including higher definition video—are also high on the list.

According to the research, 33% of advertisers plan on using 5G, and 47% see it as an opportunity to dive into new creative formats. Nearly half (46%) of respondents say they also see opportunities in real-time, location-based targeting.

But are marketers really ready for a second mobile revolution?

Users are doing more on mobile, and theoretically less on other screens. Desktop has often won (outside of the ease of a full keyboard) on speed and cost. Still, some creative and experiences don’t live up to their hype on mobile,” says Zapletal. “And for good reason: carriers throttle bandwidth, location impacts connectivity and speed, and load times have been proven to be a deterrent to engaging with content. Today, mobile remains an important component of a successful digital media mix. With 5G, there is a potential to see mobile usage increase even more, decreasing the value of other screens (namely desktop), and increasing marketers pressure to create rich, unique advertisements and experiences for their 5G-ready audiences.”

The good news is that marketers have time to get ready, but if you want to be ahead of the curve when the time comes, you'll have to start investing now. “Are budgets being realigned to support the production required to support the creative necessary to break through to 5G?” asks Zapletal. “We haven’t seen much budget alignment around the benefits of 4G, so it will be interesting to see if marketers are willing to break from their current norm to support a future mobile state.”

Assuming you're ready to realign your budgets, what do you do with the dollars you've allocated for 5G? Zapletal says, “That means revisiting the standards of creative specification limits, as many of today’s specs predate 4G and the typical internet connection. The restriction on file sizes are not sliced by device and connection speed, so there will need to be a bar set for regulation. It will be most interesting to see how cell carriers prepare and react to this shift, in addition to advertisers or streaming providers.”

The 5G future is coming, and smart marketers are already preparing for inevitability. We know that consumer expectations change quickly, and if you're lagging behind your competition when it comes to 5G experiences, it may not be long before your customers notice.

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