Inside Digital Marketing: October 2023

Nov 3, 2023


At a Glance...

TikTok takes a step beyond our phone screens, Musk commemorates a tumultuous year of Twitter ownership and Meta continues its scuffle with EU regulation.

Branching into the Real World: Tiktok’s Out of Phone

TikTok continues to grow its digital ad capabilities with its latest offering: Out of Phone. The social media company is branching beyond your phone screen and bringing TikTok content into the real world. This comes with exciting new possibilities for Brands, who can now activate on OOH advertising in 3 main areas:

Out of Phone: Billboard – Advertisers can take existing campaigns and amplify them onto billboards all over the world, reaching new and far-ranging audiences.

Out of Phone: Cinema – Replicate the on-platform experience on the silver screen, capturing engaged audiences during the pre-show with a segment of TikTok’s top content that brands can advertise alongside.

Out of Phone: Other Screens – TikTok have built bespoke partnerships to enable placements on screens in a variety of venues and spaces including bars, restaurants, airports, petrol garages, and retail stores.

With billions of screens across the world, Out of Phone enables advertisers to expand the TikTok experience beyond mobile. It will come at price, though, and will require working closely with TikTok’s account managers to ensure brands end up with the most relevant placements and to tailor creative accordingly.

Talk to us if you’re interested in discussing these placements!

A whole year of Elon Musk

It’s been just over a year since Elon Musk purchased X, formally known as Twitter, for $44 billion. A year of controversial moves, from firing 80% of the workforce, to charging for the blue tick (a feature since adopted by Meta) to rebranding the well-known blue bird to a black and white X, Musk and the platform have remained firmly in the news. But what impact has this had on its ad space and advertisers?

As soon as Musk took over the platform, he set to work relaxing restrictions on hate speech and restoring previously banned accounts – including Donald Trump’s. As brands feared featuring next to hateful content, many of them pulled out of advertising on X, when at the time, about 90% of Twitter’s revenue came from its advertisers. According to the latest data Guidelines in August, ad revenue has declined 60% year-over-year.

It’s no surprise that the turbulent year has impacted the value of X. Recently, employees received equity in the company which showed its total worth to be around $19 billion. This indicates a 55% drop in value since it was purchased last year.

However, during an appearance at Vox Media’s Code conference in September, managing director Linda Yaccarino stated 1,500 brands had returned to advertising on X in the past 3 months, and that 90% of the top 100 advertisers were back on the platform.

So what’s next for X? Musk’s long-term plan is to turn it into the “everything app”, taking inspiration from China’s WeChat. Yaccarino laid out the plans in June 2023: “X is the future state of unlimited interactivity – centred in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking – creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities”. While this marks an interesting and even exciting change for the app, Musk desperately needs to rebuild its reputation. Ultimately, he will rely on advertisers, subscribers and trust to turn a profit.

Meta faces extended ban on targeted advertising in the EU

The European Data Regulator has announced an extension on a ban imposed on ‘’behavioural advertising”, a process in which Meta uses personal data to inform the ads it displays. The ban covers audience targeting in all EU locations. The data regulator in Ireland, Meta’s European HQ, has imposed a permanent ban on the use of behavioural targeting the the EU, to be enforced by mid-November.

At the end of October, Meta had already stated their plan to give users in the EU the opportunity to consent. They also announced their plan to roll out ad-free subscriptions in the region in November, to offset advertising losses off the back of further targeting limitations for advertisers – the European Union accounts for 1/3 of Meta’s ad revenue. The ad-free subscriptions will be priced at €9.99/month on web and €12.99 on mobile. “While people are subscribed, their information will not be used for ads”, Meta added.

Will users be making use of this feature? At In Digital, we’re sceptical this initiative will take off, given the price – especially for web.

This isn’t the first instance of new regulations being imposed on Meta’s use of user data. In May, for example, the EU slapped Meta with a record $1.3 billion fine and ordered it to stop transferring users’ personal information across the Atlantic by October. Meanwhile, the tech giant’s new text-based app, Threads, has not yet rolled out in the EU due to regulatory concerns.


Stay tuned for November’s instalment of INside Digital Marketing, as we continue to monitor the digital trends of 2023 and the evolution of Paid Media. Follow us across LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for more.

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