5G, “Fatter Pipes”, and the Impact on Mobile Advertising

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – “I went to MWC and all I got was a fantastic collection of 5G slogans.”

Applift team is at Mobile World Congress again this year and besides talking to a lot of customers and partners we dug into all the exciting (and some boring) tech offered up in 8 massive halls.

5G is by far the most talked about Thing this year although foldable phones from Samsung and Huawei offer some competition. What does 5G mean outside of the biggest mobile tech circus on the planet? How will it impact people’s everyday lives and what new opportunities will it give brands and advertisers?

By early next decade, marketers hope 5G speeds will fully realize big ideas like autonomous cars, connected homes and smart cities, not to mention smaller but potent tactics like letting shoppers virtually try on clothes. – George Slefo, AdAge

Tech analyst Benedict Evans is bang on with his analysis when he boils 5G down to a being “fatter pipe”. Yes, there might be additional benefits of lower latency and lower battery consumption but it’s all about data speed and volume.

Fatter Pipes are Good

Last time mobile data speeds saw a significant bump with 3.5G (and later 4G) we got Google Maps, Snapchat, video streaming services like Netflix, and multiplayer games like Fortnite in our pocket.

Advertisers got new mobile campaign formats like video ads, playable ads, and a much more robust programmatic platform. Ad delivery speeds, however, continue to be a challenge. Alex Rahaman from NEXDa makes a good case in the Mobile Marketing magazine that all the energy that goes into effective campaign creatives is wasted if the ad isn’t loading fast enough. For some clients, this can mean up to 30% ads not displaying (but being paid for, of course).

Poor load rates have become almost a ‘hidden tax’ on rich media ads in the programmatic space, because although the ads may be called and billed, the creative never gets a chance to appear on screen. We have heard from customers that heavy rich ads can mean that more than 30 per cent of paid ads never load before the audience moves on. – Alex Rahaman, Making rich media sing

Another Cambrian Explosion?

We’ve been here before – a new technology or enabler comes along and it takes a while for new ideas and applications to emerge.

Qualcomm stated in their booth at MWC that 4G was about consumers, and 5G is about businesses, and there’s a certain truth to it. For the autonomous future, smart and useful IoT and augmented reality to actually work, a lot of seamless, high-speed systems need to be put in place and most of the focus at Mobile World Congress was definitely on the business applications.

Consumer tech, however, is notoriously good at finding silly and fun uses for serious tech, meant for business. Initial silly “toy” ideas have a tendency of turning into massive, category creating platforms and services that touch hundreds of millions, if not billions of people.

The combination of smartphones, geolocation capabilities, and higher data speeds brought an explosion of new transportation services, for example. More and better sensors, image detection combined with machine learning algorithms and fatter pipes will inevitably lead to new ideas, new services, and business models.

This, in turn, will create new ways to reach, engage and convert people.

It might even disrupt the digital duopoly of Google and Facebook by arming telecom companies with unprecedented data for ad services. – AdAge

Telecom companies are doing an amazing job building faster, more robust networks but keep getting out-innovated by tech companies in all aspects – communication, data, and ad infrastructure.

We’ll keep a keen eye on 5G and other trends to tap into new behaviors, channels, new ad formats, and consult our clients on the best ways to benefit from this “fatter pipe”.

PS. My personal favorite 5G slogan from MWC? “Cloud robot is the killer application for 5G.” Throw “AI” into the mix and you have a perfect MWC bingo sentence.

Want to talk about reaching consumers even without 5G? Get in touch!

Marketer and long distance runner at heart. Curious about technology and its impact on our daily lives.