5G Becoming Reality

3 Considerations for Forward-Looking Marketers

By Shannon Conway and Eli Reynolds

After several years of buildup, 2019 promises to make 5G a reality. Between wireless carriers rolling out 5G networks and the slew of 5G-enabled devices announced at industry events like Samsung Unpacked and Mobile World Congress, 5G is on the horizon. And with it comes a new age of marketing.

The advent of 5G technology will not only improve connectivity through faster network speeds and coverage, but also will revolutionize the ways in which people interact with digital platforms. Though widespread adoption won’t be realized for a few years, once fully adopted, 5G will improve companies’ abilities to send targeted, personalized, and relevant messages to a greater number of consumers. Below are three important considerations for marketers as they prepare for 5G.

1. 5G will give companies access to larger, more diverse audiences

Pictured: A larger more diverse audience being targeted for 5G connectivity. This allows more companies to have better access to younger audiences.

According to the Pew Research Center, one-fifth of US adults do not use broadband internet at home and rely mainly on their smartphones for internet connectivity. This group of mobile-dependent internet users is primarily made up of younger adults, non-whites, and lower-income Americans. Adoption of the faster 5G networks should improve this population’s ability to connect, and companies’ ability to reach them.

Marketing Impact. As audiences become larger and more diverse, it will become increasingly important for companies to adopt inclusive communication strategies. Before large-scale roll-out of new campaigns, companies will need to leverage market research to assess how different target groups react to various images and messaging.

2. 5G will further increase importance of mobile as an advertising channel

Pictured: Mobile users being targeted with the oncoming 5G connection. More time spent on mobile devices means more opportunity for marketing.

According to eMarketer, US mobile ad spend surpassed television ad spend by more than $6 billion in 2018 and is forecast to represent 43% of total media ad spending by 2020. More people are spending time on their smartphones and accessing the internet through mobile apps. This behavior will only increase with 5G technology.

Marketing Impact. As mobile becomes the primary online channel, companies will need to understand how target customers’ use and interaction will change. To hold the attention of consumers, companies will need to continue reinventing traditional mobile ad experiences through interactive content like live streaming, 4K video, or augmented/virtual/mixed reality.

3. 5G will improve the ability to send personalized, targeted ads

Pictured: Personalized targeted ads with a 5G connection. With faster data transmission, companies will more effectively be able to target customers based on location, recent purchases, social network activity, and more.

With faster data transmission, companies will more effectively be able to target customers based on location, recent purchases, social network activity, and more.

Marketing Impact. With real-time data capture enabled by 5G, winning companies will be those that understand how to use these analytics effectively to create timely, personalized experiences. But there are dangers in this era of personalization — companies need to be careful not to utilize data in a way that is ‘creepy.’ Using data to target customers needs to be done in a manner that is not perceived as intrusive.

Marketers continually have to adapt to technological advances — 5G is no different.  As it evolves and becomes more ubiquitous, smart marketers will have to learn how to harness its capabilities to their advantage. 

Reach out to Shannon Conway and Eli Reynolds to discuss how to leverage 5G technology in your marketing initiatives.