One of the ironies of growing up in an era of digital marketing is that it’s easy to take previous innovations for granted. We get so immersed in new things emerging in the here and now, whether that’s Tik Tok, smart speakers or Artificial Intelligence (AI), that we tend to forget some of the huge changes our profession has already negotiated – often with a speed and an instinct for applying new technologies that’s hugely impressive.
That’s why any marketer feeling overwhelmed by new platforms or overburdened by new regulations should take a quick look at the infographic below. It’s been created by Adobe’s CMO.com content hub, and in its simple, straightforward way, it’s very inspiring.
A Look Back at 25 Years of Digital Advertising starts its story with the first ever digital display ad, which appeared in 1994. That ad was purchased by AT&T on hotwired.com, a digital offshoot of Wired magazine. It appeared on an internet that couldn’t be searched, since the first search engine (Yahoo, not Google) didn’t appear until the following year. It had no animation, since Flash, the first programming language to introduce rich media to advertising, would only launch in 1996. And, perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t a pop-up. That unwelcome digital advertising innovation didn’t arrive until 1997.
Despite this lack of technical tools and wizardry, marketers were finding ways to make creative use of the internet from almost the instant it entered the mainstream. They reacted with speed and foresight whenever a new platform or new possibility came along.
It’s fascinating to look back through this timeline and imagine a world of digital marketing without Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which only emerged as a discipline after the arrival of Google in 1998, pay per click advertising (arrived with Google AdWords in 2000), social media (LinkedIn launched in 2003 and Facebook in 2004) – and broadband internet. Prior to 2005, anyone encountering digital advertising was doing so over a dial-up connection. We’re accustomed to thinking about the launch of the iPhone in 2007 as a major turning point for digital – but it’s impressive how many other major turning points digital advertising had already negotiated by then.
Anyone who doubts…