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The Future of Online Marketing
January 20, 2021

The History of Online Marketing

Digital advertising is 25 years old and developed in the mid-’90s; this was the year of dial-up and very slow connections. However, throughout the 25 digital advertising years, there has been a huge period of growth that can be divided up into 3 specific eras.

First Era

The first era is known as the golden age of marketing and was between the years of 1995 to the 2001 dot-com crash. The first era was the age of portals and running big display ads on portals. Some portals included platforms like AOL and Yahoo, and these portals really helped navigate the web. In this era the prices of the ads were extortionately high, therefore a lot of companies became rich very quickly. In this era Google was founded in 1998, however, at this point, it was only a start-up. In fact, Google tried to sell to AltaVista for $500 million, however, they declined this as the price was too high. This is the era that destroyed the dot-com crash as a lot of the valuations and media spend was not producing anything and this, therefore, killed off some of the original players like AltaVista and Ask Jeeves.

Second Era

The second era is known as the direct response era and was between the years of 2002 to 2010. This was the year where everyone started to do a lot more tracking of sales. In this era everyone was based on desktops and laptops; a lot of things had sped up in this era such as broadband and dial-up had gone. A lot of big platforms were born in this era such as Facebook who now dominate and later on in this era we had the birth of Youtube. We also had the birth of the iPhone in this era which later developed into a tablet. The iPhone really started to push phones as a device beyond the average laptop and desktop.

Third Era

The third era is known as the programmatic marketing era and was between the years of 2010 to 2020. This is the era where mobiles really started to take off and Facebook was dominating mobile ad spend. In this era, we had the birth of more major online platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok. We also had the birth of online radio advertising with Spotify and others taking over and video advertising became a lot more important. There was a huge amount of growth in this space and a lot of it was underpinned by cookies and mobile IDs also known as MAIDs. However, there were increasing concerns of privacy in this era as a programmatic world meant that from all these ads being sold, you are effectively broadcasting IDs to thousands of ad tech companies that consumers have never heard of. However, GDPR is starting to come into force for many companies. Towards the end of this era there has been a rise in connected TV, for example in the last 12 months ITV has been doing a lot of TV on-demand online. From this, we can see that connected TV is growing very fast.

What do we expect to come?

Despite this huge amount of growth that we have already seen, global growth is still to come. So far the online marketing revelation has focused on the US, UK, Western Europe, Japan, and other parts of South-East Asia, therefore a lot of the world is still yet to become an online marketing world. There are also emerging opportunities that are coming round the corner:

  • Virtual Reality- VR has not had the impact that people thought it may have, however as technology develops there is still the opportunity for this to really take off, especially as a lot of people are now working from home.
  • Internet of Voice- The internet of voice has grown massively over the past years, for example, many people have an Alexa, Siri, or an equivalent in their homes. This gives us the opportunity to have digital connections with the online world without interacting with it as it is just a voice search.
  • Augmented Reality- With augmented reality, we are at the early stages where companies are starting to build their own versions. For example, Microsoft has built The Hololens which is their take on augmented reality. We are at a stage where augmented reality can be built into contact lenses which can really change the game.

We are only a few years from the next big change, we cannot predict what this may be, however, there are signs of where the change may come from. People need to be aware that change will come sooner than they think and we need to think about what the implications of those changes may have.

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