Ron Lee James Zhang
Nov 6, 2020

5G: A realistic look at how it will impact marketing

Though it has been hyped prematurely, the 5G wave is starting to arrive, especially in China. MediaMonks Shanghai's business director and technical director offer a clear-eyed view of the ways it will change digital experiences.

5G: A realistic look at how it will impact marketing

While China has long considered 5G a top priority, the pandemic has accelerated its impact and development. Now, China is leading the world in the number of 5G mobile connections, making up seven out of every 10 5G connections in the world. And with 5G-connected devices becoming more affordable, the rapid connection standard is expected to reach all Chinese mobile users in the coming years.

In many ways, 5G will transform the way people interact with digital experiences. Is your brand prepared to meet consumer expectations? If not, now is the time to consider getting up to speed.

5G ushers in a new era of virtualization, in which digital experiences can take place anywhere and at any time. This will prompt marketeers to rethink the role of digital content in the customer decision journey. Traditionally, brands have used digital as a tool to achieve short-term goals. Once 5G connections are more commonplace (Beijing recently achieved full 5G coverage), brands will find new opportunities to infuse the everyday with immersive digital experiences that make greater, more personalized impact.

New ways to meet audiences

One of the biggest impacts 5G will make in the marketer's everyday toolkit is that it will completely change online display. For the most part, use of display ads hasn’t changed too much—static images and GIFs are still common, with carousel displays being relegated to social feeds and nowhere else. Display ads are definitely useful with a good media strategy, but they’re also easy for consumers to tune out if not immediately relevant.

Over the past year or so, we’ve seen more and more 3D display ads like the Google Swirl format, which serves as an excellent example of how display can become more immersive to boost audience interest and engagement. As users scroll, product models whisk around to give a 360-degree view to viewers–who can also tap to explore more in depth in a full-screen experience. 5G will make display ads like these much more sophisticated. Imagine, for example, if you could load a sophisticated WebAR experience with just a tap, giving consumers the chance to become truly immersed, whether the experience is focused on brand-building or highlighting the product itself.

And within stores, faster bandwidth offers an opportunity to show customers what they can’t see with their own eyes. When Volvo revealed its new Polestar sedan at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, we used the power of AR to give viewers a look at the mechanics and inner workings that made the model unique. Delivering an experience at this level has always required building an app, but a 5G connection could transform the showroom experience, opening it up to any location—using just your phone’s camera and web browser.

5G will streamline content production

5G will do more than just deliver content: it will also help power automation and AI by enabling faster transfers of data. This will not only continue to reshape the way people interface with devices—for example, smart-connected devices communicating with one another throughout the home with greater relevance and usefulness to the user’s daily habits—but also turbocharge content production.

We’ve already been using the Unreal Engine, built by Epic Games, to automate tabletop production using real-time rendering of 3D assets, producing regional variations of product labels at lightspeed. Given how important 3D content will be for brands and consumers in the near future, brands and their creative partners must be willing to embrace automation to boost production velocity.

In the Forrester report "The Agency Workforce 2023: Automation And AI Will Reshape Media And Creative Agencies”, by Jay Pattisall and J.P. Gownder, MediaMonks founder Wesley ter Haar rebukes creative partners who resist integrating automation into their workstreams: “You would expect agencies to be excited by automation and AI. But, ironically, an industry famous for innovation is holding back the tide,” he says.

Even the production of more traditional content like film and TVC will be profoundly transformed by 5G, whether translating motion capture to render fully animated figures in real time, reducing setup and shoot time with fewer crew members and equipment needed on-location, and streamlining post-production.

It’s clear that 5G will create new opportunities for brands to engage with consumers, elevating the role of digital experiences that build brand love and convert. But this will also result in a need for enhanced, more efficient content production. Again, 5G will streamline these efforts, helping brands keep up demand for an always-on audience—delivering relevance and resonance across the CDJ.

James Zhang (left) is business director and Ron Lee is technical director at MediaMonks Shanghai. 


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