A Brief Overview of the History of Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing

Here’s a fun little exercise: picture what life would be like today if the internet didn’t exist. For starters, you wouldn’t be reading this. There would be no email. No searching. Can you picture running a business without even having a website to refer people to?

Of course, you probably remember a time before the internet. But, even if you do, it’s difficult to fathom a world without it anymore. After all, the internet is so important in our everyday life. We rely on it for information, communication, and, most crucially, it powers a large portion of the contemporary economy.

Tech-savvy entrepreneurs have used the internet to develop their businesses and reach new clients since its inception. And, just as the internet drives business, marketing contributed to the creation of the internet as we know it. Indeed, the internet would not have become such a significant part of our lives if it had not been for internet marketing.

The Original Internet Marketers

Given the internet’s importance today, it’s easy to forget that it’s still a relatively young technology. The first website, in fact, was not launched until August 6, 1991. It was little more than an outline of how the World Wide Web project operated and some instructions on how to use it, posted by internet researcher Tim Berners-Lee.

Personal internet use skyrocketed with the release of the first web browsers in the early 1990s. Marketers were there from the beginning. Computer Literacy, a Silicon Valley bookshop, began selling books to local customers on the internet in 1991. Amazon swiftly ran with the concept in 1995, with the modest modification that they would sell books to individuals everywhere in the country, so contributing to the development of contemporary e-commerce.

The Original Search Engines

W3 catalogue, which was introduced in 1993, was the first search engine that allowed users to easily discover online pages. It was followed in 1994 by Altavista, the first web search engine to allow users to perform natural language searches, which meant that users could simply write a query or phrase into the engine and locate what they were searching for.

Google established their website in 1998. Google was able to produce quicker and better results than any other search engine by using revolutionary algorithms to crawl and rank millions of online pages. Within a few years, Google had established its current dominance. By 2006, the Oxford lexicon had included the verb “google,” demonstrating how closely the English-speaking world associated Google with online searches.

Once again, advertising enabled search engines to stay free to users. However, Google’s ranking system has introduced a new difficulty for digital marketers. Now, material had to be optimised to avoid becoming buried in a sea of search results.

And, when search engines increased web accessibility and brought new users online, marketers were compelled to react to a new transformation in the digital world.

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Web 2.0

By the year 2000, people were talking about “Web 2.0.” Web 2.0 sites, which sprung from the ashes of the first Dotcom bust, were expected to do more than simply offer content; they were also supposed to connect with their users. Comment sections began to appear on practically every website, allowing people to engage with one another directly.

And, as websites got more dynamic and social media became more prevalent in everyday life, businesses were forced to engage with their consumers more directly. As companies required a more personal touch to communicate with the public on these new platforms, social media managers became an essential aspect of digital marketing.

Because of this close contact between businesses and consumers, marketers had greater direct access to their target demographic. However, it also meant that businesses had to be more attentive of their public relations. Because of widespread connection, firms had more possibilities – and potential PR catastrophes – than ever before.

The fact that users were no longer bound to their PCs fueled the emergence of Web 2.0 connection. With the rise of smartphones, anyone could access the internet from anywhere.

The internet was becoming more mobile.

Mobile Marketing

The smartphone appears to be a relatively new device. However, it is almost as extremely old as the internet itself. IBM produced the first smartphone, the Simon, in 1992. It has several current smartphone characteristics, such as an LCD touchscreen.

The Simon went on to sell over 50,000 copies. However, given the lack of internet use at the time, the $899 price tag (about $1,500 today), and the fact that the Simon was the size of a brick, the gadget never really took off.

It wasn’t until 2007, with the introduction of the iPhone, that smart device use became widespread. The iPhone radically revolutionized how we access the web, thanks to a touchscreen that could be browsed with a finger, a massive number of apps, and a fantastic marketing effort. Approximately 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone. And the prospect of living without a smartphone causes most people some concern.

It Demonstrates How Important The Technologies Are In Our Life.

And, with the growth of smartphones, digital marketers could no longer ignore the mobile marketplace. Users now shift to easier-to-access sites if a site lacks mobile optimization.

However, the combination of social media and mobile device use opens up a plethora of potential for marketers. Businesses may now develop marketing campaigns that, when powered by social media and mobile devices, can achieve incredible results. But today, learning digital marketing is not an option but almost a necessity for many people. There are various digital marketing institutes too that provide courses both in online and offline mode.