Twitter polls have been a terrific quick pulse mechanism for me and my team to gauge where marketing folks’ heads are at on any given martech innovations subject. I recently wrote about how the introduction of 5G will give brands a winning customer experience advantage. And then I thought…I have some 5G questions for marketers. My latest Twitter survey polled the super-regional area of Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio gathering marketers’ responses to a six-part series of general 5G readiness and awareness questions. Out of 14,000 impressions delivered (some paid Twitter magic at play in here), our survey respondents demographic breakdown looks like this: 67% Male, 33% Female; top lifestyle type: online buyers followed by premium brands; income, $75,000 and up.
Let’s take it from the top with a quick 5G definition. According to Wikipedia, 5G (short for 5th Generation) is a commonly used term for certain advanced wireless systems (and not to be confused at all with Wi-Fi 5Ghz). The first fairly substantial deployments of 5G are happening this month (April 2019) in the US. Additionally, in various parts of the world, carriers have launched numerous differently branded technologies like "5G Project" or "5G Evolution" which advertise improving existing networks with the use of "5G technology". However, these pre-5G networks are existing improvement on specification of LTE networks that are not exclusive to 5G, and thus they are being described as "misleading.”
To put it into perspective, the iPhone launched offering 2G speeds. Think of that as similar to when Netflix did their primary business shipping DVDs. Many users may have not noticed the shift from 3G to 4G to now LTE, but technology was able to gradually advance right alongside the content--just like users were able to accept streaming-only as more options became available and DVDs became more antiquated. This switch to 5G is expected to not be as seamless, however, and could create some connection disparities across the world. Publishers, media, and marketers need to be prepared to keep up, but, according to our recent poll, many aren’t sure where to start.
There is one feature of 5G our responders seemed ready for: Faster video speeds. Fifty-nine percent of poll takers believe that faster streaming options are just around the corner as one of the most beneficial outcomes of operating on a 5G network. For content creators, this opens a new door for all sides of the speed equation – downloads, connectivity, playback and overall reduced lag time.
While faster video is an obvious next step to our 5G future, it will require some proactive thinking from marketers. Changes to production, technology, and strategy will all need to be considered to produce quality content on par with 5G speeds. To make it slightly more complicated, the switch won’t happen right away.
The shift to 5G will shed light on disparities in America. The Federal Reserve estimates employment between 25-54 year old’s is less than 80 percent in rural America. This paired with limited connectivity across less populated areas, including farmlands, means 5G could be slower-moving than the flourishing coasts. So, every industry that has plans to leverage 5G will have to find a balance between fully adopting higher speeds while still offering quality experiences to lower connected areas. The good news is, when 5G does finally become the norm all over America, it has the potential to revitalize many of the country's struggling towns and communities.
To get a good sense of the many benefits of 5G for consumers (and in turn content marketers) that go well beyond video performance, check out Digital Trends’ ‘How 5G Could Change Your Life in 2019, and in the Future’ to get a great perspective on its many applications.
Almost 40% think making the usage and ability to deploy AI-driven solutions will become more of a reality and make a difference in the marketing programs with the deployment of 5G. The leap from 4G to 5G may see a more natural adoption-progression of marketing AI technologies come into play for their brand or business.
This fast-pace race to new AI technologies isn’t expected to be small, either. A widespread 5G world means the possibility of complete “smart cities.” This means everyday items and occurrences will have some sort of IoT technology attached to them. So not only will the cars we drive will stop accidents before they happen, but something as mundane as a sidewalk could be a smart device. For marketers and media, this means every day experiences now have the option to be monetized.
I’ll just give away the ‘how to’ white paper idea right here. Across the rest of our poll questions relative to marketers’ decisions wrapped around 5G planning in general, its impact on paid media strategies, and messaging and content strategy preparation for the advanced user experience changes to come (quickly), 50-60% of the time respondents said, ‘haven’t thought about it.’
While it makes sense, many stakeholders haven’t considered 5G yet, the technology is on its way faster than we think. Not only will it require production norms to shift, but it will also bring an even higher prioritization on user experience. Just because a smart city infrastructure and a faster digital ecosystem is on its way, it doesn’t mean humans are willing to be advertised to ad nauseam. Marketers are going to start thinking how to create experiences that offer meaning and can sustain revenue.
So, it’s time to start brainstorming these changes together. To get to the bottom of our questions about content marketers’ true thoughts and application of 5G in the creation strategies and production methods, we’re lining up one-on-one interviews with experts in the space. Please watch for our upcoming Q&A series to better understand and dive into ways brands are starting to make the most of 5G and what you can do to be thinking about this for your brand going into 2020.