For some time now, the world has been talking about 5G — the next big evolution for telecom and connectivity. But if you’re like me, the terms 2G, 3G, 4G, 4G LTE, and 5G may carry little significance.
In short, 2G made way for texts (in my case on my Nokia 5110), 3G allowed web connectivity, and 4G made everything fast — expanding the possibilities for audio and video.
So why is everyone so excited about 5G, and what does this new standard mean for video advertising?
What is 5G?
The FCC states that 5G will be 1,000 times faster with 100 times less latency than 4G. Today, 4G towers send data widely, which can ultimately weaken the signal. 5G is expected to be more efficient by leveraging higher and more directional radio frequencies.
To put it simply by Mashable, 5G will be unimaginably fast and is expected to communicate in real time with 1 millisecond of lag time. By comparison, you and I react 150-300 times slower than that.
What does 5G mean for video advertising?
With better connectivity, we can anticipate an influx of internet-connected devices to come online. By 2020, Cisco IBSG estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices globally — up from an estimated 25 billion connected devices today, which opens up a rush of new opportunities for video advertising.
Less latency with 5G allows for a better user experience and more ad transactions to occur globally. With less lag time, we could also see a decline in the usage of ad blockers.
The IAB identifies latency and slow user experience caused by ads as one of the top reasons for ad blockers, so with faster load times we could imagine an ad blocker free future.
More content consumption
The influx of connected devices will increase the consumption of content with more eyeballs browsing, watching, and engaging online. Better wireless connectivity could also bring a new wave of late cord-cutters, adding to the shift in audience from linear to digital.
More traffic overall will lead to more data, allowing marketers to have an even clearer picture of their target audience. More data will also lead to an increase in personalization of ads.
Faster speeds will allow for an evolution in ad formats including opportunities for augmented reality and virtual reality. These formats were previously heavy creatives or needed to leverage special technology, but 5G will make these more mainstream. Imagine a time when you can engage with a product in real time via augmented reality.
Although 5G isn’t a new topic of discussion, the roll-out is still a slow evolution. Many large telecom providers announced they’d be supporting it in the U.S. by the end of 2019, but much of that development is still underway. Device manufacturers around the world are also releasing their 5G compatible phones, with six new phones coming onto the scene at MWC in February.
That said, we still have a long road before 5G is the standard. Apple announced waiting until at least 2020 to release their 5G-compatible phone, and although a number of carriers tout their support for the new generation, we realistically won’t need to buy a new 5G phone until sometime in 2020.
5G likely won’t pose any immediate changes for the video advertising industry this year, but as marketers we should be preparing now for its debut and expect big changes to come.
This article was written by Kezia Wong, VP of brand and digital marketing at SpotX.