Will 5G be the catalyst for digital advertising?

Digital advertising will take a big leap with 5G rollout as video, voice, OTT, gaming, and personal targeting will see a sea change in India, say experts

e4m by Kanchan Srivastava
Updated: Dec 1, 2021 12:15 PM
Digital advertising

Nearly a decade ago, the debut of 4G in 2010 led to the emergence of Google Maps and Snapchat, and other apps, that dramatically shifted how people leverage the function of mobility in online environments. 

There will be much more to see when the 5G network will be rolled out in India as the speed of data in 5G is set to reach around 10 GBPS (gigabits per second). The COVID pandemic had deferred the government’s 2020 5G roll-out plans. The new timeline for spectrum auction is April-May 2022.

“While we can keep debating on when 5G will ‘actually’ arrive, there is plenty for marketers to drool on when it does. For instance, many smartphone manufacturers have already launched 5G enabled devices that allow users to access maximum download speeds,” says Aparna Tadikonda, Executive Vice President (South), Interactive Avenues.

To leverage 5G, ad agencies are gearing up to bring a change in their media-mix strategies with more focus on digital space.

Faster loading: Rapid surge in OTT & short videos

Mobile advertising suffers from lag times. Slow loading often robs advertisers of the opportunity to connect with the right consumer at the right time. What appeals to advertisers is 5G’s faster data loads. Remember how broadband Internet-fueled digital media consumption on desktops, subsequently drove digital advertising opportunities? Faster speeds mean more content to view – web pages, apps, games, and more. It will then translate to more advertising opportunities on mobile devices.

Tadikonda says, “5G technology will fundamentally change the way we consume content. It will not only enable richer user experiences but also revolutionize the content accessible to the average Indians.”

“This means the ongoing democratization of entertainment through Gaming, OTT video, and Short-form Video formats will see a rapid surge and own the lion’s share of time spent on media by consumers across devices, especially mobile. Marketers need to be mindful of this shift when designing their media mix in the future,” she notes.

Harsh Shah, EVP, Business- North and West, Dentsu Webchutney, adds, “How well a brand is able to create a truly connected environment will make the difference. A great example of that is Jio with its cellular services, retail services and experience centres. That moment in time when your physical world will meet the virtual world, the latter probably becoming a lot more lucrative than the former, is what brands should plan for.”

So, a digital ad can go beyond being a banner, an image or even a video. It can be an entire experience across the digital and the virtual world, Shah notes.  

Videos on mobile to take centre stage

With issues like buffering, rendering taken care of, videos especially on Mobile could go mainstream with new levels of interactivity like playable shopping video formats, AR-led interactive ad formats, etc.

“Data science will need to be at the core of advertising. It will play a crucial role in delivering immersive and personalised experiences on mobile and also provide precision location data that will drive disruptive advertising experiences. High-quality audio, visual and voice-based experiences will further lead to a mobile-first approach”, Tadikonda explains.

Sabiha Khan, EVP - Creative Strategy & Account Planning, WATConsult, agrees with this. She says, “Video is already important but will take centre stage from an interactive and immersive point of view - think about richer graphics, more immersive environments and experiences which include a live shopping experience but embedded in a video. Additionally, with video becoming so seamless and buffer-free, audiences can definitely be expected to be hooked to the phone a lot more. This would mean an increase in the average time spent online leading to always-on consumers and thus, always-on multi-moment interactive marketing opportunities.”

Voice will get more voice

Voice will also become extremely prominent because of the 5G network and not just in the way we know or experience it at the moment, experts say.

Sabiha Khan opines, “Due to 5G, the latency speed would no longer be an issue and this would greatly improve the experience of voice commands as user reactivity would increase. As a result, this would have an impact on voice commerce, knowledge transfer and definitely the use of voice assistants, thus, paving the way naturally towards interactive voice ads which would be personalised at scale.”

AR and AI

5G is expected to transform the way consumers interact with augmented reality. In addition to offering more immersive Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) experiences, 5G may expand the connected functionality of remote-control drones, cars, and robots. Since connected spaces will expand, marketeers will have greater opportunities to expand their reach.

“With issues like buffering, rendering taken care of video especially on Mobile could go mainstream with new levels of interactivity like playable shopping video formats, AR led interactive ad formats etc. Data science will need to be at the core of advertising. It will play a crucial role in delivering immersive and personalised experiences on mobile and also provide precision location data that will drive disruptive advertising experiences. High-quality audio, visual and voice-based experiences will further lead to a mobile-first approach.

Easy Data Mining will boost personalised targeting

5G would help marketeers with targeting and segmentation possibilities. Data mining will become extremely effortless, opening up massive opportunities and possibilities to conduct personalised campaigns, predict consumer behaviour and even interests based on just how individuals search online, Sabiha Khan says.

She adds, “There will also be ways to collect data from offline sources to map/ integrate online on a real-time basis (through the use of IoT) and make real-time decisions on how to change your marketing/ apply your communication/ give real-time offers etc.”

Bharat will have to wait where new marketing opportunities lie

Tadikonda points out that while we can keep debating on when 5G will “actually” arrive there are plenty for marketers to drool on when it does. Many smartphone manufacturers have already launched 5G enabled devices that allow users to access maximum download speeds.

“With brands now chasing the next set of internet users who typically reside in Tier 2/Tier 3 cities and consuming content in vernacular languages, there will still be a lot of dependency on lower bandwidth infrastructure. So in a true sense, 5G and its enhanced experiences may be relevant to a few pockets of affluent audiences and not the Bharat where the next set of marketing opportunities lies,” says Tadikonda.

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