Staff Writer
Apr 12, 2021

Verizon Media APAC Growth Summit: 5G is a democratising force

The two-day event looked at some of the hottest tech and digital marketing trends in APAC and beyond.

Verizon Media APAC Growth Summit: 5G is a democratising force

It goes without saying that we live in an omnichannel world, with people on multiple devices - often at the same time. Covid has no doubt accelerated some of these practices, with people working, shopping, learning and entertaining in the digital sphere a lot more. 

All of which has led to a spike in interest in ‘5G’, with its promise of greater speeds and more seamless connections. 

For agencies, brands and marketers, 5G presents an exciting opportunity. 

With greater speeds comes the promise of richer content and greater storytelling. After all, that’s the goal of every marketer: tell great stories that resonate with your audience, as Mark Melling, head of RYOT Studio, 5G Lead EMEA, Verizon Media said at the Verizon Media APAC Growth Summit 2021, which took place virtually on March 23-24. 

Aside from talks given by Verizon Media’s top executives, the two-day event also featured a case study on Kam Kee, a Hong Kong restaurant group that made use of digital out of home advertising to appeal to inbound travellers at the Hong Kong International airport, and a panel around diversity in ad tech. 

Here are some key takeaways from the event. 

Taking an omnichannel view of your customers 

With the shift to data comes the proliferation of consumer data. While this means that “consumer attention is ripe for picking, as John McNerney, director of platforms, Verizon Media ANZ says, but it also comes with increased scrutiny, especially in a post-GDPR world. As such, it has never been more important for marketers to find partners that are future-proofing. 

John McNerney

Sitting between walled gardens and independent DSPs, McNerney notes that Verizon Media’s DSP benefits from a premium supply of first-party data, allowing it to provide marketers and buyers with a single view of their audience. 

This single view helps advertisers send tailored and engaging messaging programmatically across different channels, including DOOH and connected TV. 

With omni-channel activation, marketers can better put out relevant and non-intrusive CTAs providing real value, and build direct connection with consumers through innovative ways such as gaming. One example of this was a virtual treasure hunt Verizon Media created for Vodafone, where customers ‘hunted’ for virtual ad-ons and coupons to get free prizes. 

He also emphasised that the tech facilitating the brand-consumer relationship needs to be objective and transparent. “Media supply inadvertently floods DSPs with duplicate supply. DSP tech needs to crunch the best supply path that is the most cost-effective.” 

For him, tools like Verizon’s Omniscope offers advertisers a honest view into inventory supply and audience before any contracts are signed-and is particularly attractive in an age when marketers need to increasingly prove ROI. 

Building first-party data while being consumer-first

One theme that kept coming up during the Summit was that first-party fully-consented identity is empowering for both advertisers and consumers. 

With 87% of consumers wanting brands to serve personalised offers yet respect privacy at the same time, per a Verizon study, it’s crucial for marketers to provide that value exchange. 

According to Dan Richardson, head of data, Verizon Media ANZ, consumers want to know if their privacy will be respected, second, if this exchange means they’ll get fed more relevant content. On top of that, they also want marketers to recognise cross-channel behaviour and purchase history.

Dan Richardson

He noted that Verizon Media’s three-pronged approach helps marketers gain a better understanding of what channels their customers are on at any given moment in time, whilst respecting their privacy. 

First, the approach is consumer-first, that is, user experience and choice are always top of mind. Second, Verizon Media has a powerful system recognising 200-billion cross screen data signals from 158+ million users across APAC. This allows marketers to gain a comprehensive view of identity, and with that, to better connect with consumers on any device. Third, Verizon’s ConnectID means they can support advertisers to buy, measure and optimise ads on one hand, and publishers and advertisers, all while maintaining a single user match pool that offers better transparency and audience insights with no wastage.

5G will drive immersive experience

But what do consumers want? 

It’s clear they want immersive experiences. 27% consumers have tried some kind of  immersive experience, with another 36% expressing interest to try that, according to a Verizon study, which surveyed 4000 consumers across Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and the UK. 

These experiences appeal to consumers because they are fun, inspiring, provide learning and interaction opportunities, noted Francis Che, head of data, CRM and Insights, International Market, Verizon Media. 

Francis Che

The top 5 occasions are related to entertainment, shopping, lifestyle, and even real estate. While e-Commerce has taken the lead, Che also highlighted the consumer interest in seeing immersive tech being adopted in electronics and furniture. 

Are marketers responding to this spike in demand? 

58% companies are likely to adopt immersive tech by 2025, with 64% brands beginning to invest in immersive experience for commerce today. 

Though it is also clear that there is room for accelerated adoption, with 84% consumers feeling that immersive experience is in early stage. Over 70% of consumers react more positively to brands adopting immersive technology, no matter in terms of knowing more about the brand, having more positive perceptions, and more likely to consider the brand.

It goes without saying that experience needs to not only deliver real and interactive experience but also be seamless to operate — all of which rely on advanced technology. 

5G makes other innovations possible

5G’s democratising power shouldn’t be undermined. As Mark Melling put it succinctly, 5G takes the “processing power out of expensive hardware and put it in cloud, giving SMEs, startups and individuals the same access to same level as larger enterprises.” 

Mark Melling

Immersive experiences was previously a prerogative of bigger companies due to high set-up costs. 5G will enable more and more SMEs and startups to adopt immersive technology to engage with customers-and for consumers to experience ever-richer - interruption-free. 

The demand for these tools are expected to continue post-Covid, with 79% adults saying they’re interested in attending live events virtually where normally they’d attend in person. 

Melling notes, “Last year we created a proof of concept, a new era of virtual fashion show, “The Fabric of Reality”, with the London College of Fashion. First we were able to replicate what we’d hope to achieve in an actual physical event - 150 VIPs attended in VR from the comfort of their homes or offices, but here’s where it gets interesting - an additional 1.8M live streamed the event in real time or shortly thereafter - buzz generated lead to numbers that otherwise we could only dream of for an event of this size, and quite frankly, cost.”

In a future where marketing and customer engagement will exist as much in the digital as physical spheres, 5G is set to be a key driver of business growth. 

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