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Celebrating 25 Years of Digital Advertising


Recognize this? Perhaps not!
Would you have clicked on such an ad today? Certainly not.

On October 27, 1994, a simple yet brilliant call to action (“Have you ever clicked your mouse right here?”) by AT&T marked the birth of digital advertising. So 25 years later as we usher in The New Decade, it is perhaps a good time for us to take a pause, look back and take stock of what transpired in the world of digital advertising over the past 25 years.

Celebrating 25 Years of Digital Advertising

1994 – The first ever Banner Ad was born. With a CTR of 44% this humble banner ad etched its name in the history of digital advertising.

The Web Cookie, a tool used to track online user behaviour debuts in the world of digital. Till date, cookies are the most popular tool for online tracking & measurement.

1995 – Yahoo became the primary search engine for commercial use

1996 – The term “Content Marketing” was formally introduced at a round table event for journalists at the American Society for Editors.

Macromedia introduces Graphics and Animation Platform Flash 1.0

1997 – The pop-up ad is invented with the pop-under ads soon to follow.

1998 – Google debuts with its advanced algorithm driven search engine. Introduces the concept of Search Engine Optimization. Becomes an instant hit among internet users.

1999 – GoTo.com, a popular search engine back then, introduces the “Pay-For-Placement” concept, ushering in the era of search engine monetization.

2000– Google wows the world with “AdWords” and the concept of “Pay-Per-Click” advertising. Google PPC ads start appearing on the right-hand side of the Search Engine Result Pages of Google Search.

A Finnish news company offers advertiser sponsored Short Messaging Services (SMS). Introduces the world to “Mobile Advertising”.

2001 – The Dot-com Bubble busts!

2002 – The first ad blocker code is written. Soon released as a browser extension that empowers visitors to choose what ads they see.

2003 – LinkedIn the worlds first B2B networking platform launches. The rest is history

2004 – Facebook makes its first appearance on Feb 4th, 2004!

2005 – YouTube launches, and the world’s content consumption behaviour starts shifts towards videos.

High speed broadband users over take dial-up service users. This makes videos and rich media content a viable option for brands.

2006 – Facebook introduces demographic and interest based hyper targeted ads.

Twitter launches and draws the world to itself with the innovative concept of 140-character tweets and #

2007 – A tipping point for the mobile advertising industry! Apple launches the 1st iPhone. Brands adopt the “mobile first” design strategy.

The launch of GPS enabled devices gives way to location-based services, marketing, and advertising

2008 – The iPhone App store opens door. iPhone 3G is launched soon after. Brand marketers get innovative with mobile advertising

Digital agencies become mainstream offering end-to-end services like digital marketing, SEO, SEM, SMM, PR & branding

2009 – While the world was recovering from the 2008 financial meltdown web ad impressions soared to an impressive 21%

Influencer Marketing was born after Ad.ly
reportedly paid Kim Kardashian $10,000 per post on her Twitter handle!

2010 – Instagram makes an exclusive debut on
iOS and becomes an instant hit among known social media platforms

Apple launches the iPad. Marketeers rethink
responsive designs & ad formats

2011 – Snapchat a multimedia messaging app with
augmented reality filters takes the world by storm!

2012 – The Internet of Things is on the rise and has a direct
influence on digital marketing and advertising

2013 – Social conversations around specific # becomes the buzzword and
Real-time marketing finds its place within!

2014 – Increase in smartphone usage attracts
marketers to in-app advertising

Amazon introduces voice enabled search technology (Alexa) with Echo

2015 – Mobile traffic surpasses Web traffic for the
first time. Video content consumption is also at an all time high.

2016 – Pokemon-Go becomes a sensation worldwide.
Gets 45 Mn users. Marketeers make note of the potential of augmented reality on mobile devices.

2017 – Apple and Google announce platforms to support mobile AR advertising.

Digital advertising accounts for more than 50% of revenue for US ad agencies.

2018 – Michael Kors becomes the first brand to
test AR ads on Facebook.

EU’s GDPR mandate comes into effect

2019 – IoT, AR/VR, AI, Machine Learning, Big Data and NLP extend the horizon of digital marketing & advertising.

Understanding customer behaviour and customer experience management is the most crucial thing for CXOs

From a humble banner ad to artificial intelligence, digital advertising has come a long way in its never-ending quest of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. Thanks to the constant technological innovations one can only sit back and wonder what the next Ad tech marvel coming our way will be!

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