The marketing landscape has transformed significantly over the past few years, with the introduction of new strands such as influencer marketing, which have rapidly changed the outlook of the sector. More than ever, consumers are being swayed by content creators in their decision-making.2019 saw a wave of the highest-quality visual content produced by influencers for brands’ marketing platforms – a trend likely to continue into the next decade as influencers begin to take control and act as their own ‘creative directors’ and adapt briefs to their signature style. However, without the development of new technology, this creativity will become stifled and content deemed unoriginal. Enter 5G. 

So, what is 5G?

5G is the latest generation of wireless network, operating more securely and much faster than its predecessors. Set to transform the use of technology, 5G promises to supercharge connectivity and automation, thanks to an increased network capacity and improvements in speed and latency. 5G provides a revolutionary architecture for data transmission, which provides a host of promising new opportunities for the influencer marketing sector. When rolled out fully nationwide, 5G will connect as many as one million devices per square kilometre. 

What does 5G mean for influencer marketing? 

As with any rapid change, those who act first will gain a considerable advantage by preparing for widespread 5G connectivity and accounting for it in their influencer marketing strategies. Thanks to 5G and faster connection speeds, there will be an increased number of interactive users and a greater consumption of content from both remote and dynamic locations. Paired with a bigger pool of accurate data sets, marketers will have the opportunity to be increasingly targeted in their methods of promotion. This predictive analysis will facilitate hyper-localised content delivery and multifaceted campaign strategies across a number of channels.Video advertising will become increasingly popular, thanks to heightened connectivity and greater bandwidth. This will also lead to quicker page loading and improved click-through rates, which influencers will be able to capitalise on, demonstrating significant return on investment for the brands they’re working with. Accessing analytics will become an increasingly efficient process, which will make campaign management and reporting more manageable. The true potential of high-resolution ads, such as 4k video will be established, paving the way for a new range of advertising formats. Content creation will become increasingly complex and diverse, providing influencers with the opportunity to explore their creativity even further. Creative control will take on an entirely new meaning, with the opportunity to explore innovative advertising methods and sophisticated channels of delivery that have been hindered thus far by slow-moving technological updates. The introduction of 5G provides content creators with an exciting new challenge far greater than platform-specific developments. The evolution of augmented reality (AR) will allow more impactful interactions with consumers and encourage influencers to push boundaries with the complexity and diversity of the content they are creating. While AR itself isn’t revolutionary, its capabilities have often been severely restricted by technology – streaming video with no buffering will finally become a reality, so influencers and brands will be able to explore immersive advertising mediums. This in itself will be ground-breaking and will open up a great deal of opportunity for the sector, especially considering Gartner’s predictions that AR shopping will grow to 100 million consumers this year. 5G will also facilitate the emergence of a new wave of influencer: the virtual influencer. Lil Miquela, the forever-19-year-old, first appeared in 2016 and has nearly two million Instagram followers. More recently, EE showed off its 5G network’s capabilities at the Baftas and introduced the world’s first AI-powered virtual stylist, Shudu, who appeared via holographic technology on the red carpet. 

Challenges to consider

While the opportunities promised by the introduction of 5G are unprecedented, widespread coverage appears to be a long way off. Content creators will need to be adaptable and prepare for a hybrid period where they’ll have to cater for both 4G and 5G users. The development of cohesive relationships between brands and influencers will be more important than ever in devising successful strategies to targeting every member of the target demographic. Both groups must plan ahead to take full advantage of updated technology and the 5G architecture. If they fail to respond to the developments brought about by the latest wireless network, they will find themselves in an uphill battle with competitors and fail to engage tech-savvy consumers. Adopting the imminent technological revolution will allow influencers to be more creative in their approach to reaching wider audiences. 
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