Foldable screens are no longer a flight of fancy, with Samsung and Huawei both launching foldable phones this year. Add to that the impending arrival of 5G, bringing better capabilities to power these even smarter phones, and the potential for mobile content becomes huge. All the pieces are now in place for an explosion of social video, if marketers take the opportunity.
Mobile and social are already recognised as the perfect advertising pairing. Mobile is where consumers spend most of their time — two hours and 28 minutes per day on average — and social dominates usage: this year, 3.26 billion global device owners will use mobile to access social. But when video’s high impact and reach are added to the mix, the duo becomes a trio with unprecedented power.
The only question is: what would this bring for advertisers?
Overcoming mobile obstacles
Social video campaigns are a growing component of marketing strategy; making up the bulk of last year’s $30 billion video ad spend pot. And it’s easy to see why: video has huge appeal for social users, with 1.2 billion videos viewed daily on Twitter alone. But maximising engagement has remained challenging, particularly on mobile.
Because high-resolution ads have a tendency to burden devices — draining batteries and data — marketers either stick with uninspiring standard formats or utilise ad types that seize attention without sapping resources by disrupting activity, such as pop-ups. However, rather than enhancing user experience, this often diminishes it.
Yet the introduction of 5G networks and versatile mobile technology could present a new way forward for video ads, where creativity and flexibility heighten resonance.
The impact of hyper-fast 5G
Talk of 5G and digital advertising mostly revolves around speed. With 5G projected to run between 20 and 1,000 times faster than 4G, and dramatically cut page-loading time, marketers expect a drop in latency.
But while the benefits of reduced lag are sizeable — fast loading will allow ads to appear before audiences lose patience and leave pages or activate blockers — they are not the only advantages of 5G. Amplified bandwidth capability will enable networks to support more web-enabled devices — 15 billion up on today — and run high-res content with less strain on mobile devices.
As a result, there will be opportunities for bigger audiences to view more intensive content on the go, and marketers to embrace more diverse mobile-friendly ads. For example, that might entail embedding click-to-play interactive 4K video ads in social newsfeeds to capture user interest without causing irritation. Or activities may cover wider ground; using 5G’s fast data processing to gather unique insight and instantly deliver personalised interlinked ads on many social platforms. That’s not to mention simultaneously tracking each ad and using performance data to bolster relevance.
What about foldable phones?
The role of malleable mobile in driving super-charged video ads will mainly be as facilitator. For starters, there is its convenient pack-away nature. The latest model from Samsung opens out to 7.3 inches from a closed size of 4.6 inches; the ideal setting for serving social ads in immersive forms, such as 360-degree video, augmented or virtual reality. Plus, with the ability to run three apps at once, foldable phones allow marketers to optimise exposure using synced ads that move across apps.
Finally, the new breed of smartphones brings significant power. The Galaxy Fold not only offers 12GB of RAM, but also two batteries — generating plenty of muscle to support multi-platform content consumption and interaction, at speed.
The eruption of social video creativity and innovation on this new tech will not be without its challenges. Both 5G and flexible mobile come at a high price; in terms of hardware and the myriad cellular towers needed for carrying short-range 5G frequencies. And these considerable expenses could mean the initial adoption phase is largely driven by market innovators with extensive resources: Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
But with networks increasingly launching 5G services, mass hyper-connectivity is on its way and marketers should seriously think about improving their social video game. Success will involve investing in the right ad space and delivering creative that is inspiring, integrated, and relevant. Cohesive strategies will be required, focused on both harnessing the opportunities created by next-generation mobile tech, and using smart data-driven tools to ensure video ad quality and variety adds up to a great user experience.
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