Why the 4G Revolution is big news for marketers
This is big news for marketers, as finally brands and agencies will not be hampered by the constraints of slow internet speeds – broadband will have caught up to mobile capabilities.
What does this mean in practical application? Well, it’s pretty obvious that consumers presented with quicker speeds are going to use their mobile more. Those who previously wouldn’t have bothered taking one minute to check a price in-store against that of a competitor will be more willing to do so if it only takes a couple of seconds.
A low attention span will be less of a debilitating factor when it comes to mobile video, as buffering becomes quicker – we’ll see more videos watched on mobile with more frequency. This doesn’t mean to say that mobile will become the de facto platform for video – there’s still better (read: bigger) viewing options like tablets, desktops and televisions - but we’re certainly going to see an increase, particularly for shorter clips and news-based items that people want to watch on the go.
And it’s good news for advertisers: while consumers will put up with waiting for their favourite episode of Family Guy to buffer, they switch off very quickly if they’ve clicked through to an ad and it takes time to upload.
But what is most exciting for me is the prospect of a new level of creative richness on mobile – one that we’ve never experienced before. Let me give you an example of how this might work. The Museum of London’s great Street Museum app allows you to use augmented reality, the mobile camera and location services to view certain areas of the city through your mobile as they would have appeared many years ago. This is a lovely creative idea, but the fact it had to be used when out and about, without Wifi, meant it was hampered by slow 3G speeds.
Now, with the advent of 4G, creative ideas such as this should reap rewards from engaged consumers. 4G will allow mobile to come to life using other platforms – augmented reality, location services, 3D audio and visuals. It’s an exciting turning point.
And as with any revolution, there will be winners and there will be losers. Consumers will be able to use their mobiles to do more than has ever been possible before, phone manufacturers will see the technological potential of their handsets unleashed and agencies will be able to make their creative dreams a reality.
As for the losers, voice calls will decrease as internet calling becomes quick enough to provide a real alternative and SMS messaging services will become less commonplace if we have a high speed web connection. Although, the biggest losers at the moment are set to be the more traditional brands or agencies – those that haven’t already done so are going to have to put some real movement into mobile.
You can’t just make do with a smaller version of your desktop site and call yourself ‘mobile optimised’. As 4G becomes more prevalent and mobile increasingly becomes the consumers’ first choice of platform, a glitchy, awkward site is not going to win anyone any business. And spare a thought for the mobile widows whose other halves will be delighted at the prospect of a faster internet connection to entertain them over dinner.
4G is indeed a new frontier, and I for one, am happy to go along with the hype. It’s an exciting time when creative ideas that have been restricted by something as simple as slow broadband speeds can finally become a reality.
Mark Freeman is creative director at Movement