5G will transform social media experiences

On Sunday, Taylor Swift’s ME! video broke records for the number of views (65.2 million of them), streams and Alexa requests in a single day, with 65.2 million views.

Our consumption of online video increases every year. Cisco predicts that more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic will be to online video by 2022, and 44 percent of all traffic will be from a smartphone.

We’re watching those videos on YouTube and Facebook – with Facebook quickly catching up and likely to overtake YouTube, according to Hubspot. Hubspot also says that video is the type of content that consumers prefer to see from brands. And it doesn’t have to be high-quality: consumers prefer ‘authenticity’ over quality.

When 5G hits the US this year and the UK in 2020, it will radically change how and when we consume content, creating an even bigger shift in consumer behaviour than the change driven by the change from 3G to 4G. It could mean the end of public wifi as we know it. Connection speeds of between 10 and 20 times what we’re currently used to will mean we’re more connected than ever, and able to do more and more from our mobile devices.

Of course, it means doing everything we do now (like streaming or downloading video, using video calling, and accessing all forms of content from a smartphone), will be much faster, and without the interruptions we’re used to when we hit a poor network area. But it also means the ability to use new technologies in marketing and on social media, such as VR and AR, and others we haven’t even dreamed of yet.

There will be some great opportunities for marketers. A consumer might watch a video of a fashion show on Facebook and then use VR to try on the designs they’ve just seen on the catwalk, for example; or see how a sofa will look in their sitting room using AR on their mobile, sharing it with friends on social media to get their opinions. Social VR and interactive video will become normal. And when everything is connected through the Internet of Things, ads will be able to be targeted so precisely that every ad we see will be relevant to us. Those ads will be in new formats, focusing on experiences rather than just information. Film, TV, music, gaming and live events streaming will be transformed.

For brands, this is the time to plan for a much more dynamic social media marketing strategy, and an opportunity to let their imaginations run wild with creative content.

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