Why Verizon Media is poised for a 5G ad revolution
5G is coming and advertisers are doing everything in their power to stay ahead. Verizon has already launched 5G in roughly one-third of the 30 cities it’s planning to by the end of the year. At Advertising Week, Ad Age met up with Iván Markman, chief business officer at Verizon Media, the telecom giant’s content subsidiary (previously known as Oath) to discuss the impact 5G is going to have on its ads business, such as how it’s powering the company’s updated augmented reality ads.
“Think of any of these ads powered on steroids,” Markman says of the jump to 5G. “Essentially, you can do a lot more. It’s a lot more vivid, more instant … the type of experiences you can power are quite unique. We’re doing a bunch of experimentation.”
Verizon Media has its 5G Labs, which it uses to trial 5G concepts, and it opened its RYOT 5G Studio in L.A. in April, which is where the “experimentation” with new products and media formats that Markman speaks about is playing out. The studio has a full-motion capture stage and a “5G node” which is being used for speeding up wireless data transfers.
Verizon is also placing emphasis on its AR ads. 5G especially helps enable the interactivity between AR and live events. Verizon Media is launching AR ads on its full-screen native Moments ad platform, which serves ads across Verizon’s Yahoo apps, including News, Weather, Sports and Finance. It follows Verizon’s rollout of AR ads on Yahoo Mail over the summer where Verizon Media saw average engagement times of more than 60 seconds.
New updates to the ads themselves include the option for users to flip the camera to take selfies within the AR experience, while new “Face Features” allow them to try-on AR products like makeup and clothes. Macy’s will be the first advertiser to run a campaign using the new features, says Markman. Home Depot and Pottery Barn have previously run campaigns using Verizon Media’s AR ads.
The focus on AR is rooted in belief that native advertising is only going to continue its rise, says the company, pointing to an eMarketer finding that states U.S. advertisers will spend almost $44 million on it in 2019.