5G core is giving marketers a network data renaissance

Every day, we get closer to the moment when Google pulls the plug on third-party cookies. There isn’t going to be one single replacement for this huge source of marketing data, but some alternatives are showing more promise than others.

Anonymous mobile network data is fast maturing as a way of gaining actionable insight into customer behaviour. Better yet, it’s about to get a massive boost in effectiveness and popularity. Here’s why.

Why is anonymous mobile data replacing cookies?

To talk about why anonymous data from mobile networks is about to get so huge, we’ve got to cover what it’s already doing for advertisers right now. The profiles we can extrapolate from data without identifiers are advanced enough to allow authentically granular targeting. The algorithms are there, the technology is proven.

Mobile data is incredibly agile; you can get travel insights 24/7 in real time and track behaviours as they evolve. The partnership between telcos, data companies and marketers is established and substantiated. Forward-thinking marketers are already doing the legwork to optimise how we use all these millions upon millions of data points.

Now, what if those millions became billions? What if consumer uptake of mobile technology suddenly skyrocketed, with people engaging more often with a wider range of advanced mobile services?

That’s exactly what’s about to happen. Telcos are on the cusp of radically changing the experience they provide to customers. The amount of secure, anonymous data these telcos collect is going to go supernova, meaning unprecedented levels of insight for marketers. It all comes down to the dawn of 5G.

Telcos are bulking up their core

…Wait, what? But we’ve had 5G since 2019, right? Well, sort of. We’ve had 5G technology running on a core network that’s still 4G. That certainly improved the services telcos can offer, and the amount of data they can generate for marketing.

4G core can support 5G ideas like smart homes. But once telcos upgrade their networks to run on 5G core, things are going to change to the same extend as they did when 4G was first unveiled. When that happened, entire communities of previously underserved consumers came into the marketplace. It translated into a telco boom for the early 2010s.

For marketers, 5G core will totally eclipse that surge for one straightforward reason. It allows so-called ‘network slicing,’ where connection speeds can be tiered to cater to different services. Previously, users all got their data from the same big bucket. By and large, that meant the same speed for everyone whether they’re trying to stream a film or send a tweet.

So it’s not only that a more advanced network is going to unlock more sophisticated services and bring in more customers. The way these services get delivered will also be optimised, giving us a deeper knowledge of exactly what large cohorts of people are doing at any given moment.

5G core is changing how we do mobile

When telcos bet on 5G core, marketers win too. According to McKinsey, leveraging this new tech could raise average revenue per user (ARPU) by at least 16-20%. Simply upselling more customers to 5G speeds could secure a 3-6% raise alone, but new customers might not come on board for speed alone.

It’s the unveiling of new services and partnerships which will bring in the fresh faces and new data. 74% of people feel at least neutral or even positive about the idea of paying more for the ability to stream faster when you need it. What’s that going to look like in practice? Right now, the market is eyeing up three big possibilities.

Tiered data plans and impulse buys

Plenty of users simply want a faster connection at certain times and they’re willing to pay for it. They don’t need a connection capable of streaming HD films 24/7, but when they are streaming an HD film, the necessary data speed can be only a button press away. Likewise, if you’re about to nail a job interview on Zoom, it’s worth a quid or two to ensure your connection will remain stable.

You can think of any number of use cases calling for faster speeds. For some customers, those higher speeds will become the norm and they’ll pay more for a faster baseline connection. Telcos, thus marketers, get to know exactly what prompts people to use more data, along with when and (roughly) where.

5G experiences

Connectivity alone is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what 5G core can do. Immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality, as well as real-time translation and faster online gaming are all set for a considerable boost.

Things will become possible in these arenas which older networks weren’t able to support. It becomes a much easier sell to new customers if they’re able to tie the option of faster connections to tangible experiences. Despite all being niche interests, they could collectively push ARPU up by as much as 9.5%. And remember; when telcos win, marketers win.

Friction-lowering partnerships

Not everyone will be happy handing over more money to their phone provider, of course. But content providers have the credibility and relationships to serve as middlemen for tiered services. Nearly three quarters of gamers, for example, would be happier to pay in-game for connection boosts than to buy a faster speed from their network.

Bundling higher-tier speeds with the price of a digital experience should entice large cohorts of new customers to at least trying the upgraded service. These bundles might even work both ways; marketers could end up benefiting from these third parties’ own bodies of marketing data as well as the telco’s.

A data goldrush on the horizon

Mobile network data has already proved itself as a solid alternative to third-party cookies. As telcos reveal the future, they also reveal how the data they make available to marketers is getting more accurate, more granular and more cost effective than ever.

Few understand the extent to which 5G core will change mobile broadband services. But when it happens, people will be quick to move. Marketers who start using anonymous mobile data today will be the first to reap the rewards of this new digital goldrush and steal a march on the competition.

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