How Will 5G Technology Change Marketing?

Wow! 5G is truly amazing. Not only is it changing marketing, but it's also signalling to the BillGatesChip2000 stuck in our brains, and also causing global warming.

Wait, only the marketing thing is true? C'mon, you're saying a Facebook group would just lie to me like that?!

Copy of CRO

5G is offering us a glimpse into the future. In terms of allowing for new technological capabilities for a consumer, it's a real door-opener.

From allowing for access to advanced AR experiences, to facilitating the metaverse, to just connecting more people more frequently, to allowing everything to run at faster speeds, 5G changes the game. 

In the past, technological limitations, including slow networks and unreliable connections, have made smooth digital experiences difficult. Buffering media and advertising content doesn't do any good for communicating swift messages to busy customers. 

So, it's no surprise that more than 90% of marketing professionals worldwide expect 5G to have an impact on their industry over the next decade. 

After years of waiting, 5G is finally becoming a possibility. Though the networks aren't widely available, it's hard to deny that, when they are, it has the potential to improve the digital experience in myriad ways. And with this, comes the ability to provide excellent marketing experiences, using personalisation. 

The phone in someone's pocket is the most exciting piece of technology to come out of our generation, so to provide a way to make this technology greater is what makes 5G great.

From providing locational information through AR, to pinging a customer when they approach a store or product, 5G facilitates the progress of the mobile device, and permits marketers the ability to use it to its fullest extent. But let's get started, by asking:

What is 5G?

5G tech is set to change not only the way data is used and transferred, but also how we interact with each other. It'll allow for AI-controlled cars, fast-learning personal assistants and even seamless VR/AR. All of this relies on fast data speeds that 5G can provide.

5G stands for the 'fifth generation wireless network', and is enabled by an entirely new technological architecture to the networks that came before - 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G. With each new iteration, data speed and latency rates have improved tremendously, allowing the applications for data and the internet to evolve alongside it. 

5G is the biggest leap forward to date. 

For example, 3G averaged around 2 megabytes per second. 4G brought the ability to have (kind of) stable video calls, wireless gaming, and webpages that loaded in under a second, and averaged around 20mbps. 

5G is expected to have speeds of between 10-60 GIGABYTES. These speeds will allow for much more complex data and media to be transmitted. 

And it's estimated that 15% of the world's mobile users, or 1.4 billion devices, will be on 5G networks by 2025. So the opportunity is there. 

Gallup Global Internet Access Apr2020

5G is particularly exciting due to its ability to bring latency speed, which is basically the time between a command and an output, down to near-zero. So, for developers, this offers the chance to create apps and programmes that are quick, seamless, and exciting. 

Right, then. That's all well and good, but how will it change marketing? Well, 5G is likely to offer:

Improved Experiences

With 5G, we could see digital ads on more screens, more surfaces, and even in alternative realities. 

With 5G tech, wireless internet will be faster and more abundant, even in rural locations. This means that digital ads could appear in more areas, providing a seamless and consistent branded experience for your customers. The visuals and media in each ad could also be improved, advancing due to high network speeds.

Pop Tv GIF by Schitt's Creek

In fact, 5G facilitated Gartner's forecast that 100 million consumers will shop in AR online and in-store. And it also aids in the change in consumer attitude towards these technologies; 64% of consumers want a virtual shopping assistant that combines AR and artificial intelligence (AI), and one in five consumers already expect retailers to have AR tools.

Marketers will be able to experiment more with these immersive, advanced technologies with the proliferation of 5G networks. So, the customer experience has the opportunity to become far more interactive and fun. 


Data collection, under 5G, is likely to improve rapidly. 

Often, in order to find out more about your customer, it takes a bunch of time. You might not have the ability, or resources, to track down tons of data, or load multiple analytics reports. But people want their personalisation. 

These issues could be fixed with high speed connections and wireless internet. Plus, with 5G, competing internet providers will be launching faster Wi-Fi, so there should be less lag time however you connect to the internet. 

With 5G data transfer speeds, hyper-personalised experiences that merge detailed customer data with real-time analytics becomes possible. 

Mobile devices connected with 5G will generate a massive amount of data, thanks to the seamless, constant connectivity. So, this is good news for marketers. 

Canadian Comedy GIF by CBC

This data has the potential to provide high-quality insights about their customer base, plus each individual customer. 

Customers might, as we've mentioned before, have access to far more personalised experiences in real life. 5G may allow them to walk into a store and find that the staff have a bunch of information on their preferences, providing them with a rich, tailored shopping experience. 

So, basically, 5G is allowing for the accessibility and use of the internet of things. With 51% of the world’s top marketers expecting IoT to revolutionise the industry, 5G will become essential. So, not only will 5G connect more people and devices, but it will collect high quality, hyperlocal, granular data. Which means better personalisation. 

Speaking of IoT, let's move to the next marketing technique facilitated by 5G:

Wearables and IoT

Moving beyond the screen, some marketing experts have suggested that brands might experiment with alternative reality ads, where people wearing AR glasses or using AR apps on their phones, will be able to see an ad pop up in their location. Whoopee, we're taking pop-up ads into the future. 

Proud Schitts Creek GIF by CBC

For quite a few years now, brands have been experimenting with AR and VR; from Snapchat, to Instagram filters, to videogames, the new tech has allowed for innovative and interesting ad experiences. 

So, as internet speeds get much faster with 5G, marketing technologists are expecting the introduction of more VR and AR into daily life, in a seamless fashion. So, you can expect more experimentation in this way. 

But it's not just about ads. Marketing content could also get far more interesting. 5G can improve the ability to interact with high-quality content, thanks to the lack of buffer time and other technological limitations. 

IoT device functionality will see significant improvement on a 5G network. Although many devices can function on 4G, connections between devices can't rely on transferring huge amounts of data, due to the limited bandwidth.

5G's improvement on this, and faster speeds, solves this issue, and allows for deeper connections between devices. So, more devices, more people, more data, more personalisation and contextual ads. 

Online Presence

5G offers far more connectivity, even more so than we're seeing already. 

With higher loading speeds, and better connections, people will consume more online content on their phones and other devices. 

So, it's pretty important for brands to develop a stalwart online presence. But how do you do it?

Well, be sure to create or optimise profiles on the major social media networks, as well as launching or improving a website, blog or videos aimed at brand awareness. 

5G will improve so many aspects of the features mentioned above, with the ability to use higher-quality images, animations, and video. This means richer content, and richer experiences. 

Video is already the most consumed content on the internet and, with 5G, it's only going to rise. By 2022, Cisco predicts that video traffic will account for 82 percent of all web traffic. Beyond this, mobile video is set to be the primary driver of digital video ad revenue.

Online Video Consumption Continues to Rise Globally - Marketing Charts

Plus, 84% of consumers say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.

But one of the biggest challenges faced by the medium is bandwidth - both in terms of allowing for watching and sharing content. If a video takes too long to load, a customer might just skip it without watching. 

So, 5G will solve this issue. 5G networks decrease buffering times significantly, and reduce lag times. 

Verizon Media actually found that, when consumers were asked about what they found most exciting about 5G's potential, 57% were excited about higher definition content and 54% were excited about consistent and better quality video streaming. In fact, WARC’s 2020 Marketer’s Toolkit ranks online video as the top category for increased investment.

Mobile commerce

Mobile commerce sales are projected to reach $3.56 Trillion this year alone, with eMarketer estimating that mobile will make up 73% of all e-commerce sales

This means that almost three out of every four dollars spent on online purchases are coming from mobile, and it's set to increase. 

Schitts Creek Comedy GIF by CBC

Despite this, shoppers still see issues when shopping online, with the biggest frustration stemming from latency. 

In fact, 41.9% of people surveyed cited low performing websites or apps as their largest disappointment. 

So, as networks speed up with 5G, zero latency will eliminate this issue. So, this gives brands a window to prepare by streamlining shopping apps and improving their customer experience. 

5G will allow for mobile devices to be positioned at the centre of the digital experience. This means many brands must shift their approach, and consider mobile-first marketing, advertising, and ecommerce.  That might mean using gamification within marketing, or in-app ads, or encouraging real-time connections between customers that feature branded conversations, user generated content, and recommendations.

Plus, mobile phones have turned into the main device for checking email for 85% of users. For those aged 25-34, that rate is even higher, at 90%. 

So, 5G would remove concerns about email load times. This means marketers could potentially use retina and even 4K images in emails, as well as large animated gifs, in order to promote products or services.