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The history and development of digital marketing

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According to the Digital Marketing Institute, “Digital advertising is the use of digital channels to market products and services to specific consumers and businesses.” Simply put, digital marketing promotes products via the Internet or electronic media. In a globe where over 170 million people regularly use social media, every professional is expected to be similar with at least the basics of digital marketing.

People consume digital content every day. Soon, traditional advertising platforms will disappear, and the digital market will completely take over. Digital marketing offers several advantages. Unlike traditional advertising, digital marketing is more affordable.

You can reach a larger audience in less time. Technological advancements have caused the client base of traditional marketing agencies and departments to shrink significantly. An individual has moved on to tablets, phones, and computers, and these are the areas where digital marketers have gained the most ground.

The term digital advertising was first used in the 1990s. The digital age began with the advent of the Internet and the development of the Web 1.0 platform. The Web 1.0 platform allowed clients to find the information they wanted but not disseminate it over the Internet. Up until this point, marketers worldwide were still unsure about the digital platform. They weren’t sure if their strategies would work because the Internet was not yet widely available.

In 1993, the first clickable banner went online, after which HotWired bought some banners for its advertising. That marked the starting of the transition to the digital age of marketing. Because of this gradual transition, new technologies entered the digital market in 1994. That same year, Yahoo was launched.

Also known as “Jerry’s Overview to the World Wide Web” after its founder Jerry Yang, Yahoo recorded nearly 1 million hits within the first year. It led to sweeping changes in digital marketing as companies optimized their websites to rank higher in search engines. 1996 introduced several other search engines and tools such as HotBot, LookSmart, and Alexa.

1998 saw the birth of Google. Microsoft introduced the MSN search engine, and Yahoo launched Yahoo Web Search. Two years later, the Internet bubble ruptured, and all the smaller search engines either fell by the wayside or were wiped out, leaving more room for industry giants. The world of digital marketing saw its first steep rise in 2006 when search engine traffic reportedly grew to about 6.4 billion in a single month. Not to be left behind, Microsoft placed MSN on the back burner and introduced Live Search to compete with Google and Yahoo.

Then came Web 2.0, in which people became active participants instead of remaining passive users. Web 2.0 allowed clients to interact with other users and companies. The Internet received designations such as “super information highway.” As a result, the volume of information flow – including channels used by digital marketers – multiplied. By 2004, Internet advertising and marketing alone generated some $2.9 billion in revenue in the United States.

Social networking websites soon emerged. MySpace was the initial social networking site to emerge, followed by Facebook. Many companies realized that all these new sites opened up new opportunities for marketing their products and brands. They needed new approaches to market their brands with new resources and capitalize on the social networking platform. They opened new avenues for businesses and signaled the beginning of a new chapter for the business.

The cookie was one more significant milestone in the digital marketing industry. Advertisers began to look for other ways to capitalize on fledgling technology. One such technique was to track frequent Internet users’ general browsing habits and usage patterns to tailor promotions and marketing materials to their preferences. The first cookie was used to record user habits. The use of cookies has changed over the years, and cookies are now coded to provide marketers with various ways to collect literal user data.

Products that are marketed digitally are now available to customers at any time. Statistics collected by Marketingtechblog for 2014 show that posting on social media is the top online activity in the United States. The ordinary American spends 37 minutes daily on social media, with 99% of digital marketers using Facebook, 97% using Twitter, 69% using Pinterest, and 59% using Instagram for marketing. 70% of B2C marketers have acquired clients through Facebook. 67% of Twitter clients are far more likely to buy from brands they follow on Twitter. 83.8% of luxury brands an existence on Pinterest. Marketers’ top three social networks are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

The digital market is constantly changing. A digital marketing professional must find methods to keep up with this change. They must be able to keep an eye on emerging trends and the development of newer and more intelligent search engine algorithms. After all, no one can afford to be left behind in this race. 

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