There’s growing curiosity over what 5G will make possible. A friend of mine in Mumbai told me her son can’t wait for “killer speeds,” and has his eye on a new VR headset. She meanwhile, is looking forward to fewer or no dropped calls, hoping her daily annoyance will end when 5G comes to India. While consumers have an inkling of want 5G could do for them, marketers are just beginning to scratch the surface.
Every new wireless generation raises the game for digital advertising. 4G made video ads, connected consumer experiences and programmatic possible. 5G, however, will be a giant leap forward, a game-changer. Brands will be able to constantly reimagine how they tell stories on a shape-shifting canvas. They will have innovative ways to draw people into their world, in different environments. They will be able to create connected experiences that are relevant to consumers, delivered precisely when and where they need them.
In this new era, India holds incredible potential as a fertile ground for advertisers. But marketers must start thinking now about 5G, to capitalize on the opportunities when it launches commercially next year.
Video without the pain and buffering
Seamless video streaming with 5G will coincide with a nation of consumers hooked to video on mobile. Cisco estimates that by 2022, there will be 829 million smartphone users in India – more than double the number from now. ‘Marketer behaviour’ is following this briskly growing user base on mobile, according to KPMG’s 2018 India Media and Entertainment Report. Mobile advertising spends are increasing and as importantly, marketers continue to allocate a larger share of their budget to video, because it’s what consumers prefer, the report finds. Against this backdrop, 5G will bring benefits like consistent, better quality streaming and higher definition video content, opening up new opportunities for advertisers.
Today, most digital experiences are still 2D, with users ‘watching’ videos. In 5G India, a cricket match will not be the same. Audiences would have moved on from ‘watching’ to ‘interacting’ with gaming and experiences during a live game. Advertisers will be able to leverage more immersive video ad formats, increasing a customer’s involvement and engagement through greater interactivity. As a bonus, it will also eliminate a huge gripe for consumers – buffering ads that send them reaching for ad blockers! With low latency and speeds roughly 20 times faster than what is possible with 4G, even rich media ads will load fast, taking away the pain for users.
Immersive breakthrough experiences, when and where they matter
Imagine if you could create millions of interactive experiences that are customized for individual preferences. In a 5G world, 100x more connected devices will give rise to exponentially more data. Marketers will potentially know much more about their customers, which can guide them to serve genuine consumer needs through personalized, immersive experiences at scale. When XR meets 5G connectivity, advertisers will have an exciting digital playground to work their creative magic in. XR can give people information where they need it and when they want it, by mapping the web onto the real world and connecting real world interactions to the web. 5G accentuates this benefit with advancements in real-time location-based targeting. (Are you already working out the personalization possibilities?)
For brands, XR marketing – encompassing 3D, 360, Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Realities – will offer a platform for rich, immersive and engaging experiences. Since all aspects of AR, VR, and MR are data-heavy and need superlative connectivity, the faster the connection and lower the latency, the better the experience. Mass adoption will open the floodgates to innovative consumer experiences. Gartner predicts that 100 million consumers could use augmented reality (AR) to shop both online and in-store by next year.
Alongside the cool factor, 5G-powered XR experiences will be able to offer deep value and utility for the next generation of Indian consumers. During the 2018 online festive season in India, a big chunk of shoppers were from tier II and tier III cities, many of them first-time buyers. Brands will have the opportunity to deliver what newer audiences want through 5G-enabled elevated experiences. With AR, customers can browse through a catalog to see how clothes or accessories like bags or jewellery look on them and buy it from right within the ad experience. Or they can visualize a brand’s furnishing line in their actual home environment, to unfailingly make the right choice. A 360 degree video of the interior of a car can help customers decide if they want to test drive it. Immersive XR solutions powered by robust connectivity can address the real needs of consumers in a meaningful way, to drive higher engagement and purchase intent.
The customer journey is going to evolve dramatically in the near future. Brands will have to respond with experiences that are cutting edge and imaginative, but also relevant and helpful in the moment. The good news is, advertisers can take advantage of 5G to deliver both the innovation and usefulness customers crave, to bring them back for more.