History of Digital Marketing

When you hear the word digital marketing what comes to your mind?

In this article, we will simplify it for you.

The Digital Marketing Institute, they define it as, The use of digital channels which are used to promote or market products and services to targeted consumers as well as businesses.” Another common definition is Digital Marketing is the promoting of services and products over the internet via any form of electronic media.

The word Digital Marketing was initially used between the early and late 1990s. The digital age took off with the birth of the internet and the evolution of the Web 1.0 platform. Essentially, the Web 1.0 platform enabled users to discover the information they needed, but it also didn’t permit them to share this information with the web interface. Prior to that time, marketers globally were still not sure about the digital platform. They were also unsure if their proposed strategies would work since the internet had not yet been used widely by as it is today around the world.

The first clickable banner went live in the year 1993, after which Hot Wired bought a few banner Ads for their advertising. This birthed the new transition into the digital era of marketing and because of this progressive shift, new technologies entered the digital marketplace in 1994. And in that same year, Yahoo was launched.

  • Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” by Jerry Yang and David Filo was one of the first insights into what you can do or find on the World Wide Web. Yang put up his golf scores, his name in Chinese Characters and a list of his favorite websites. Then in 1995, Yahoo was born earning close to a million hits within the first year. This prompted the wholesale game in the Digital Marketing Space, with companies revamping and optimizing their website to generate higher engine rankings. 1996 saw the launch of a couple new search engines and tools like HotBot, LookSmart and Alexa.

Google was launched in the year 1998. Microsoft then established the MSN search engine and Yahoo rolled out the Yahoo web search to market. A couple of years later, the internet bubble busted and all the micro search engines were either left behind or alternatively wiped out leaving more space for the giants in the business.

In 2004, Web 2.0 was launched. Web 2.0 became the second stage of development for the World Wide Web. It was a development and change from static web pages to dynamic or user-generated content. People became more active participants rather than just passive users. Web 2.0 permitted users to interact with various users as well as businesses. Labels like “super information highway” started to be coined as descriptions of the internet. As a result, information flow volumes which include the channels being utilized by digital marketers and saw tremendous increase. This was also the start of and growth of Social Media as we know of it today. By the end of 2004, internet advertising and marketing in the US alone delivered around $2.9 Billion.

In the year 2006, the digital marketing world saw its first abrupt surge. Search engine traffic was announced to have grown to about 6.4 billion in a single month. The digital marketing community, not wanting to get left behind, started to get very active. Microsoft put MSN on the back burner and proceeded to invest efforts further into the launch of Live Search to compete with the likes of Google and Yahoo.

Google was sensing an opportunity, it began to expand and introduce interesting and relevant products such as AdWords (Three line ads that display at the top of search engine results) and AdSense (A cost-per-click advertising campaign). Soon after Google realized the value of analyzing generated content and implemented structures for targeted ads that are based on the interests of the users which allowed them to become a major player in the world of business.

Not long after, the social networking sites began to arrive. Myspace was the first social networking site to arrive, then FaceBook. An industry realization occurred as new sites started springing up where new fresh opportunities were available for companies to market their products and brands to a wider audience. With new resources comes new approaches used to promote brands and capitalize on social networking platforms.

Cookies” are another pertinent milestone to the digital marketing industry. Advertisers had started to seek other methods to capitalize on the new technologies being introduced. A Cookie (or HTTP Cookie / Web Cookie / Internet Cookie / Browser Cookie) is essentially a tool that is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in the user’s computer through the user’s web browser while the user is browsing. This tool was used to track common browsing habits as well as the usage patterns of frequent users on the internet. The very first Cookie was used to record user-habits. Over the years, the use of the Cookie has changed and cookies of today are coded to give marketers different methods to collect user data.

According to the statistics from Nielsen, posting on social media had been the top online activity, especially in the US. It further explained that the average American spends at least 37 minutes daily on Social Media. Other interesting results they found from digital marketers were:

  • 99% make use of FaceBook to market their products and services.

  • 97% make use of Twitter

  • 70% make use of Google+

  • 69% make use of Pinterest

  • 59% make use of Instagram

Diving Deeper :

  • About 70% of B2C marketers have gained customers via FaceBook.

  • About 67% of Twitter users are far more prone to purchase from brands that they follow on Twitter.

  • About 83.8% of Luxury Brands have a presence on Pinterest.

  • And the Top Three social networking sites used by marketers are LinkedIN, Twitter and FaceBook.

The digital marketplace is in a steady state of change and adaptation. Why? As suggested by SEO Heroes, because technologies evolve and people’s interests or the way they search or use the internet starts to change too. It is essential for a digital marketing professional to discover new methods to keep up with this change. The marketer also needs to be aware and be on the lookout for emerging trends and the development of new and smarter Search Engine Algorithms.

With digital marketing, digital marketers can reach a wider audience within a shorter period. The technological and strategic approach has resulted in a huge strengthening of the customer-base of traditional marketing agencies and departments. Consumers have migrated to tablets, computers and smartphones which, is the space where digital marketers have gained the most ground.

About the Author:

SEO Heroes is an experienced online marketing firm in Bangkok active since 2009.

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