For publishers and advertisers, it’s always important to stay on the cutting edge of mobile advertising technology. As the technology advances, it’s beginning to surpass the infrastructure needed to deliver the multiple content platforms available on smartphones and tablets. Merely browsing the Web is no longer enough. In fact, streaming standard HD video may not be enough for much longer. For the past 5 years, 4G LTE (“long term evolution”) has been the standard for cellular service, but soon 5G will take over. In the U.S., 5G is expected to be the standard no later than 2020, and in the U.K., the government is spending £700 million in public funds to build its network of 5G infrastructure.
First, what is 5G? The “G” stands for generation. The technology began with 1G, which was introduced in the early 1990s, and expanded to 2G when cellular companies began to allow text messages. This worked well for feature phones, but the rise of smartphones made that technology obsolete. Next, 3G allowed users to browse the mobile Web, succeeded by 4G, which made streaming video popular on mobile devices. Most recently, LTE has been added to 4G, making connectivity even faster. As of now, 4G LTE is the standard, and 5G will build on that platform.
You may be wondering how big a difference the newest generation of wireless technology will make. Speed is the biggest selling point. While it takes about an hour to download a full HD movie on 4G LTE, that time will be cut down to a matter of seconds with 5G technologies. This means massive amounts of data (think 4K or virtual reality) going straight to your mobile device without the need for a wi-fi connection, or waiting around for a significant portion of your day.
The decrease in latency, or the time it takes to transfer information, will significantly increase the possibilities associated with the Internet of Things as well. The IoT is already having a massive impact on mobile publishers, as location data provides another way to target readers with personalized messages. Wirelessly connected machines like driverless cars and mobile beacons will benefit as well. The ecosystem of connected devices that surrounds us is booming, with 6.4 billion connected devices this year, and that number is expected to reach 20.8 billion by 2020.
In addition to the aforementioned importance of location data, 5G will provide access to new mobile advertising platforms. What 4G LTE has done for the reputation of mobile video advertising, 5G can do for augmented and virtual reality. AR and VR are expected to produce $120 billion in revenue by 2020, and mobile advertising will be a significant part of that total. For instance, with VR technology tied to your phone, a travel publication could virtually take you to your destination. Ikea is already using augmented reality to show shoppers what furniture would look like in their homes, all from their mobile devices. As applications like these become more commonplace on mobile devices, they will open up a world of possibilities for creative mobile advertisers and publications—all made feasible by the advent of 5G.
Using all the tools available to your publication or website translates into engagement and monetization. As the infrastructure and technology supporting 5G begin to roll out over the next few years, wise mobile advertisers will adapt and embrace all the possibilities it offers.