The World of Advertising

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Who ever thought we would live to see the day that Newsweek would go totally digital? At the first of the year every issue from here on out will be in digital format only. This gives us all a big clue as to the trend for future digital products and what is to be expected in the world of digital marketing. Even though digital marketing is an essential part of our daily lives now, it had some pretty humble beginnings.

Internet 101

Early 1990s brought us the beginning of the Internet and the Web 1.0. While this was the beginning of the digital age, the early web was only a one way street where users could obtain information, but not share it. There was no interaction except for reading content. But in 1993 the first clickable banner ad was displayed online and by 1994, the first company, Hotwired, purchased banner ads in large numbers. This was the first step in marketing shifting into the digital age.

Google was Born

From 1994 there began a rapid growth of new technology in the digital marketplace. Google was founded in 1998 and Blogger came on the scene in 1999. By this time Blackberry had launched their mobile email program and social networking sites began showing up. MySpace was one of the first to hit the scene followed closely by Facebook. Companies soon began to realize the opportunity for expansion and started to reach out to use this new form of communication. Businesses continued to search for ways to utilize web marketing strategies in order to capitalize on the newfound digital world.

Google expanded and improved their internet search engine and smart marketers learned how to use search engine optimization tools and strategies to get their sites to display higher in the rankings. Google also added AdWords and AdSense to their marketing possibilities. Google also began to analyze content entered through search queries that they could use to target the user with a relevant ad. Even though they were not the very first to incorporate targeted ads, they were instrumental in developing algorithms which helped prioritize search results.

Enter the Cookie

It didn’t take long for advertising networks to find a way to capitalize on the new developments. The “cookie” was developed so that they could analyze browsing habits. It has become an essential part of e-commerce as it is the way businesses and marketers collect real user data. Amazon continues to use this method to target audiences by offering them products similar to their search histories. This has made a significant impact on the world of digital marketing.

The Web 2.0

The real changes occurred when the Web 1.0 became the Web 2.0. The audience no longer sat and passively took in information but it became an information highway where users could interact directly with other users and businesses through the use of social media networks. Early in the 2000s there were multiple networks and platforms developed through which users could connect. WordPress, LinkedIn… were on the scene and by 2004 Facebook had graduated from Harvard. And shortly after that, social media began to thrive. Flickr, Digg,Gmail and Skype all made their appearance around 2004. By the last quarter of 2004, revenue from internet advertising in just the United States hit $2.69 billion. By 2005 YouTube weighs in and now every month more than 3 billion hours of video are watched every month. In 2007 iPhone changed everything. While the Web 2.0 is still expanding and undergoing changes, digital marketing has made the next step into mobile marketing. In 2010, mobile advertising brought in somewhere around $650 million.

The Next 10 Years

It is hard to believe this rapid growth spans slightly over 20 years. Digital marketing has undergone many changes during this time and there will likely be many more. Web marketing campaigns are essential parts of an SEO campaign which will use a variety of tools. Some of the original search engines no longer exist and it is imperative that the digital marketing and SEO specialist keep up with the many changes and trends that are shaping our digital future.

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