Market Trends

Written by The Marketing Team August 20, 2018

The latest in 5G: here’s what it means for social media advertisers

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Samsung last week unveiled the industry’s first 5G mobile chip, adding momentum to a movement already picking up pace. The chip is set to power the company’s next generation of 5G handsets, enabling faster data transfer and download speeds, for a more seamless mobile experience.

One thing is for sure – this movement is picking up steam, with the Samsung announcement hot on the heels of others, including Sprint and LG announcing  plans to release a 5G enabled smartphone in the US in early 2019. Other news suggested that the US is not the place to watch for early examples, with analysts saying that investment and infrastructure building in Asia is outpacing that of the US.

That got us thinking – what activity is more ‘mobile’ than social media. Not many! And for proof you only need to look as far as the top 10 most downloaded apps on iOS – 8 of which are social networking applications.

So what does the coming 5G revolution mean for social media? We covered a few points around 5G earlier this year, after we attended Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It was a major theme of that conference, but things have continued to progress since then.

Here are 3 of the many ways social media will be impacted by 5G:

More and better video

Social media, and the internet in general, is already all about video. 500 million people watch videos on Facebook every day and in 2019 80% of all web traffic will come from video. But we haven’t seen anything yet – 5G promises to make online and social video better and more enjoyable. Extremely low latency with 5G will mean poor user experience and slow load times are finally history.

Any sense of brands holding back on investing in more video content will also be a thing of the past. As 5G connections start to spread and become reliable, more people will be able to experience video the way it is designed to be consumed – wherever and whenever they want.

The possibilities this could spell for new video advertising formats, live streaming options and video calling on social are certainly very exciting.

VR and AR go to the next level

While a lot of brands have tested and had success with technologies like VR and AR, there’s a sense that what we seen so far is still just baby steps. 5G is set to allow for significantly greater immersive experiences, particularly in the realms of VR and AR.

When 4G first rolled out in 2010, the idea of mobile VR and AR was still in the realm of sci-fi. 4G was simply not built to handle these kinds of immersive experiences. Far superior bandwidth under 5G will provide higher resolution versions of yourself and the people you want to interact with, connecting you to them wherever they are so you can share what’s important to you both. It will also mean VR and AR experiences can effectively take place on the move, outside of Wi-Fi, and businesses will feel more confident building them knowing they’ll work well at shows, conferences or for users in remote locations where they may have previously failed.

5G will foreseeably make social VR a reality in the way Zuckerberg imagined it when Facebook purchased Oculus back in 2014. Seeing the experience ‘as-it-was-designed-to-be’, more reliably for more people could also signal moves to ad advertising to the immersive world of VR. We for one are excited to see what that might look like!

More and better advertising options

5G will also play a big role in the coming of age of the Internet of Things. Since 5G consumes a much lower level of power to other networks in the past, connected devices will conceivably be able to be put to use as a whole new scale. The vision of some is that sensors and computing devices will be a part of every building and consumer product, for example, playing a large role in making our day to day lives better.

For social networks like Facebook, the implications of this kind of world are wide and varied. Depending on continued privacy legislation and consumers’ collective interest in allowing it to happen, a 5G empowered IoT world would help to provide a whole new level of context-specific and timely information for ad targeting. Adverts could become so hyper-relevant that they consistently provide consumers with the exact offer they  want, at the specific time they want it. Imagine a world where all the advertising you see actually means something to you in your context. It could in fact result in a world where you see less ads, but that the ones you do see add value every time.

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