Advertising at the speed of 5G

February 23, 2021

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Jeremy Sadwith

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Whether it’s the newest TV, computer, tablet, or—the most notorious device of all—the everchanging smartphone, as consumers we rush to purchase the latest and greatest in tech, oftentimes without even understanding how the tech has changed and the true benefits gained. For many, I assume the same can be said for the long awaited arrival of 5G. So, what is 5G? What can users gain from it? And, how should advertisers be leveraging it?


What is 5G?

4G is the mobile network bandwidth most utilized to make calls, send messages, and access the internet through your device today. 5G is the fifth generation in mobile network connectivity, promising speeds of up to 100x faster than 4G on your mobile device. At this speed, you could download a two-hour movie in just 3.6 seconds, versus 6 minutes on 4G or 26 hours on 3G. That means users will have access to faster download speeds with lower latency and an overall better internet experience. On 5G, you’ll have less video buffering, faster loading websites, lightning-speed downloads of large files, and overall a more streamlined experience.

There are some limitations to accessing it, however. To access a 5G network, you need to both be in a region and on a device that supports 5G. Currently, 5G is mostly available in large cities and limited to the newest mobile devices (for example the Apple iPhone 12). The limitation in availability is mostly due to cost, as mobile carriers have to make massive changes in infrastructure to enable 5G. Overtime, we can expect 5G to become more widely available as the costs to enable the technology decrease, and user demand increases.

Beyond that, the transition will be seamless, and the only difference you’ll notice (besides improved download speed) is the “5G” icon at the top of your phone. One thing to note: If you see a “5G E” icon on an older device, it's really a souped up 4G network in disguise - this isn't the same as a true 5G network. This is also why you might see “5G E” on an older device even though the device doesn’t truly support 5G.


Why should we care about 5G?

So what does 5G mean for advertisers? Once 5G is rolled out on a larger scale, we can expect to see network requests respond more quickly, ads loading faster, and videos starting more quickly. This means reduced discrepancies, more opportunities for your ad creatives to be viewed before a user has scrolled past them, and higher video start rates. Advertisers will be able to reach users in new, creative ways with more advanced ad units without the fear of slow loading times!

With that said, these benefits don’t mean that advertisers should start drastically maxing out bandwidth with higher resolution videos, larger images, more frequent network requests, or larger JavaScript files. We still have a responsibility to ensure that we’re not taking up a large chunk of a user’s bandwidth (remember, not everyone has unlimited data) and advanced creatives can still cause websites to lag or browsers to crash, creating a poor user experience overall. Many web browsers such as Google Chrome have already put advertising restrictions in place to combat this behavior, and they won’t be lifting those just because of the capabilities of 5G. 

Per the famous Spider-Man quote: “With great power comes great responsibility.” While 5G enables us to run better and more efficient advertising, first and foremost, we need to do so while respecting the user.


Questions? Reach out today to learn more about Kargo's creative solutions and how we can help you crush your digital advertising goals.

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