If we believe the findings of a recent Ofcom report, that many people see no reason to upgrade to 4G mobile services and are unlikely to upgrade in the coming year, then the anticipated impact of 4G on advertising that I discussed with a number of people back at the end of 2012, is going to be delayed in it’s arrival. Add to that threatened increases in the cost of 4G networks proposed in a recent Offcom consultation, and you get the feeling that the road to mass 4G adoption in the UK is going to be potentially a bumpy one.
Nevertheless it will come eventually and when it does I’d expect it to change the way we approach advertising within our mobile products:
- As 4G is faster and more responsive than 3G, display advertising should benefit from new formats and will be able to make much more of rich media content than it does now. As users won’t be waiting stupid times for pages to load, you’d hope for better click though rates as well.
- 4G should provide the opportunity to run much bigger mobile campaigns on platforms/networks like YouTube, Facebook and similar video centric offerings. It’s likely that video content will play a very real and key role going forward, so if our brands have (or have access to) skills in using film and animation to deliver their messages, it makes sense that we could use these to gain competitive advantage.
- We’re seeing a shift back to mobile-optimised websites where they make sense within our group, as they can be developed using well established web technologies and provide (to varying degrees) multi platform access. If you consider the likelihood of browsing on mobile growing with the coming of 4G (because of the improved experience) I’d expect our own focus on mobile-optimised websites to continue and indeed grow too. If mobile sites become one of the primary customer touch points for our brands then high quality mobile-optimised websites and microsites will become a very valid channel for advertising.
Clever coding can offset some of the issues with rich media experiences over 3G, but the impact 4G will have on mobile when it becomes truly mainstream should still be significant. It’s worth taking some time now to prepare strategy and to consider the skills needed in order to harness the potential of 4G when it arrives… even if that big bang arrival is still some time away.