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Does TikTok's move into OOH advertising make sense?

Does TikTok's move into OOH advertising make sense?

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Social media powerhouse TikTok is taking its ads off your phones and bringing it out into the world with its new out-of-home (OOH) solution titled "Out of Phone". The new feature will allow partners and brands to leverage TikTok content beyond the platform, bringing it into the real world through screens on billboards, kiosks, in cinemas, bars, restaurants, automobiles, airports, gas stations, retail stores, and more. 

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With this new feature, brands will now be able to activate on TikTok and physical out-of-home advertising through "Out of Phone" which takes existing campaigns and amplifies them onto billboards, cinema screens and other screens all over the world. That means brands can kick off a campaign on TikTok, generate authentic growth within communities and creators, and then amplify their work, reaching new and far-ranging audiences, according to TikTok in a statement. 

TikTok's move towards OOH comes shortly after Google launched digital out-of-home ads for all display and video 360 users in August last year. With the new addition to its ad features, brands can now, under a single plan, reach people on stadium screens, airports, bus stops, shopping malls, elevators and more. 

The popularity of social media as a means of advertising is undeniable. According to Mediaocean's Advertising Outlook Report, which was published in June this year, the world is fast approaching five billion social media users worldwide. It found that more than half of marketers surveyed said that they would increase spending to remain competitive. 

"Regarding short-form video, we’re seeing heavy adoption of the format to enable full-funnel advertising from brand-building to shopping," said Mediaocean in its report. 

So why is TikTok choosing to move into OOH advertising, and is it a surprising move?  According to Jeslyn Tan, managing director of Stellar Ace, the move isn’t an unexpected one.

“We know OOH is here to stay and is on the path to growth so its only natural online players will turn to offline spaces to create an omnichannel experience,” she said.

However, she warns that the devil is in the detail. “Advertising on social media versus OOH is vastly different and the main difference comes in measurement,” she said.

While platforms such as TikTok rely on a lean in aspect of advertising, offline is loud and in the faces of consumers. Moreover, the success of an OOH campaign is also based on placement and footfall, which isn’t always controllable unless there are activations driving crowds to the locations.

So, what does Tiktok gain from the collaboration? Having such a partnership will definitely help TikTok’s own reach and awareness, said Tan.

For brands, it could help with brands creating UGC content. “But what is needed for it to be a success is clear metrics and measurement because OOH has a life of its own with its own peculiarities especially when it comes to data,” Tan added.

Agreeing with her, Patrick Ong, head of business at We Interactive, said that the challenges faced by OOH and marketers using them is the ability to hold the interest and view time of their audience.

"OOH is often seen as static and this marriage means that something static now has the holding power of social media to engage consumers longer."

He added that social media, on the other hand, now has the opportunity to reach out to people who are seldom on their mobile or not actively exposed to social media and convert them to active users by showing them how "addictive" social media can be.

It is, essentially, a win-win situation for not only platform owners but also marketers who can better combine their needs across traditional platforms such as OOH and social media.

He added that the integration between OOH and social media is an inevitable one and that one might even consider it a natural evolution considering its synergies and how it can complement each other, 

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