Life in the Faster Lane: 5G-Fueled Marketing & Autonomous Vehicles

Author: Josh Faytinger
Posted: Nov 15, 2018

It’s hard to believe that less than ten years ago, “4G” and “LTE” were buzzwords at consumer electronic tradeshows. In that short span of time, advertisers were given an arsenal of new mediums capable of reaching an increasingly powerful cohort of eager consumers. The yields of a 4G-connected world included easier mobile video streaming, the exponential growth of app stores, programmatic advertising platforms, and the genesis of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality. Now, these new capabilities have hit a ceiling — they can only perform as quickly as our rapidly aging communication infrastructure will allow.


In a 5G world, the consumer experience becomes seamless, frictionless and, most importantly, effortless.

The processing and exchange of data will be reduced from 100s of milliseconds to just a few, and with that, the introduction of ultimate, ubiquitous connectivity. By 2020, the number of connected devices is estimated to reach 50 billion, which means an even greater amount of data being exchanged each day. In that same time span, Cisco predicts global data usage to reach 30.6 exabytes per month — that’s 30.6 billion gigabytes for those keeping count.

One area of promising advancement, for customers and advertisers alike, comes with the introduction of autonomous vehicles. You have probably heard of a “journey map” or “customer experience map.” To sum it up quickly, a journey map is a holistic visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal. We can use this process to understand our customer and be aware of communication touchpoints with our brand. If you’re a business that has brick-and-mortar locations, then there is probably an area in your journey map where a customer transports themselves to a store location. Until now, companies have only been able to reach that stage of the journey via radio and out-of-home advertising. But even then, messaging was mostly restricted to the awareness subsection of the marketing funnel. Autonomous vehicles enhance that touchpoint by utilizing the advancements of 5G connectivity. Brands will be capable of reaching customers at different stages of the marketing funnel by providing them with highly interactive and actionable content right from their dashboard.

According to Statista, there were about 222 million licensed drivers in the United States in 2016. The U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center estimates each of those drivers spends about an hour driving each day.

With fully automated vehicles, millions of hours of the consumer attention span suddenly become available, and with that, a tidal wave of possibilities for brands to engage with their customers.

So, here’s a couple of thought-starters on how autonomous vehicles will help advertisers reach and engage target audiences like never before.

1. Personalized Hypertargeting
Targeting a consumer within a few strict parameters like interests and geographic location are capabilities already available within several DSPs (demand-side platforms). However, to see those ads, customers must have their mobile device in hand actively surfing their favorite websites. Imagine being able to display relevant content to consumers when they’re in proximity of an out-of-home digital placement from inside their vehicle. For example, if a customer is passing a digital billboard, and matches your campaign’s target audience, they could be given an option to instantly engage with your brand and its offerings.

2. Immediate, Actionable Content
With 5G connectivity, not only can advertisers improve the accuracy of consumer targeting, but we can also provide a simple call-to-action personally optimized for the specific device and consumer viewing the ad. For example, a brand could target messaging to a customer who programmed their store location as their destination. While they stream their favorite TV show, the “commercial break” would become a personalized shopping experience enabling the customer to add items to their cart before they even arrive.

To sum things up, 5G connectivity will revolutionize the way we communicate with one another. Autonomous vehicles introduce a highly interactive medium for brands and advertisers to communicate with existing and prospective customers. As advertisers, the ability to target customers with instant, dynamic and relevant messaging through a channel previously only reachable through traditional media has the potential to transform the user experience and positively impact our ROI.

Ad tech continues to evolve exponentially, and as industry-leading advertisers, our playbook should always be adaptive to the newest systems. While communication infrastructure is modernized to handle 5G speeds, let’s be forward-thinking in how this exciting new era will enhance the consumer experience. What other possibilities are lurking around the corner?

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