In the latest in our series of predictions pieces running between Christmas and the New Year, Adam Singolda, CEO of Taboola, says 5G will be a positive development for mobile marketing.

Smartphones and tablets already account for three-quarters of the time UK adults spend online, so we could be forgiven for thinking mobile’s ascendancy is reaching a peak. But with 5G connectivity on the horizon, we’re only just starting to realise mobile’s full potential – a revolution is coming. 5G is going to be the principal talking point of mobile marketing in 2019. Major networks such as EE, Vodafone and O2 are trialling next-generation connectivity with a view to rolling it out to major cities over the course of the year, and most mobile device manufacturers are working on their first 5G enabled handsets. So what do the next twelve-months have in store as we prepare for the arrival of 5G? 

Interactive ad formats 
The incredible speeds offered by 5G will, at the very least, solve latency issues that are currently holding back mobile marketing, but the impact of 5G will go far beyond optimising the current user experience. 5G will enable a wide range of innovative, interactive ad formats that rely heavily on data processing, allowing brands to reach consumers through inventive and immersive experiences such as gaming.

Some are predicting the downfall of virtual reality, but when looking at augmented reality, 5G is quite perfectly aligned with it for brands as they can enhance real-world situations without users having to invest in costly equipment.  Just as the step change from 3G to 4G resulted in a massive increase in mobile video viewing, and an associated rise in mobile video advertising, the imminent arrival of 5G will herald enormous growth in interactive ad formats.

Even more personalised 
Today’s consumers expect personalisation, whether that’s choosing a tailor-made health insurance plan over a one-size-fits-all policy, or selecting customised products instead of mass-market goods. Consumers buy into an experience as much as a product or service, and brands that get personalisation right will be rewarded with long-term customer loyalty and lasting relationships.

This expectation naturally extends to marketing, and mobile is the ultimate device for personalisation. Because smartphones, perhaps the most ‘personal’ thing we own, are always at hand and accessed with impressive engagement – about 28 times per day in the UK, they produce a vast amount of contextual data about where the user is, and what they are doing, that can be combined with other data points in real time to predict immediate needs and deliver tangible value.         

Mobile also connects the digital and physical worlds. For instance M&S recently launched mobile checkouts in some London stores and a mobile-driven Amazon Go store is planned for the West End. This crossover between the real and the digital enables brands to offer consumers something that is pertinent to their environment, assuming they can activate data quickly enough. The data transmission speeds enabled by 5G will increase the effectiveness of real-time personalisation, ensuring messaging is delivered when and where it is still relevant. 

Diversification breaks down walls
Both brands and publishers are increasingly pushing beyond the walled gardens to build a meaningful and mutually-beneficial relationship with the consumer. In an age where direct-to-consumer is flourishing, brands and publishers want to control the entire user experience, offering information or entertainment customers can engage with and participate in. 

The coming months will see a change of dynamics, where both sides look for opportunities to diversify their relationship with consumers, mainly making it more direct. Brands are seeking to embrace the open web, while maintaining the quality and safety of mobile ad placements, and publishers are beginning to consider long-term factors such as the lifetime value of visitors.

Over the last 20 years, web traffic has moved from portals to search engines to social networks, but the journey doesn’t end there. Supported by the 5G rollout, the next stage is likely to be driven by mobile carriers and mobile device manufacturers using their valuable customer data to create customised content feeds in partnership with premium publishers. Mobile users are continually looking for those “moments of next,” and mobile providers are well positioned to deliver a dynamic, personalised content experience to their customers when they are most open to discovering new information and services. 

Next generation 5G connectivity won’t be available to all UK mobile users by the end of next year, and 5G-enabled devices will only just hit the mainstream in time for next Christmas’s gift lists. But the gradual rollout of 5G networks over the coming months will have a huge impact on mobile marketing strategy, helping to deliver interactive, personalised experiences outside of the walled gardens. It’s going to get exciting!