Digital marketing passed the stage of “niche concept”, which was almost ten years ago. It has become an inevitable part of marketing strategies of big and small businesses alike. The growing number of internet users promises a stable future for digital marketing on the next decade.

Digital marketing basically helps a company to promote its products or brands through various online channels so that they can reach out to the targeted customers without any hassle. Marketers use various digital spaces to make it possible, including social media, search engine platforms, emails and more. The best advantage of digital marketing comes with the ability to target specified customers of the products. These customised, and personalisation features result in improvements in businesses.

Since people are now becoming tech-savvy and are using smartphones, laptops, and tablets, hence they are preferring digital marketing over the traditional marketing.

Some advantages of digital marketing are,

  1. Provides two-way communication, making marketing interactive.
  2. Extraordinary visibility, with assured returns.
  3. Very affordable and profitable.

Everyone is aware of the benefits of digital marketing. But do you have an idea about its history and origin? If not, keep reading as we discuss the history and evolution of digital marketing.

The term Digital Marketing was first invented and used in the year 1990At that time Web 1.0 platform was developed, which helped users find necessary information. However, it had limitations on sharing data over the web, and marketers were unaware of the potential of digital marketing. They were not sure it would be successful due to the limited popularity of the web.

Then, in 1993, the first clickable web-ad banner went live.  At that time, HotWired purchased a few banner ads for their promotion and advertising. This marked the beginning of the digital marketing era.

In 1994, some new technologies (First e-commerce transaction was done over the internet) were invented and entered the market with a new mission. Yahoo was also launched in this year. Within one year of its launching, it received 1 million hits.  Yahoo changed the definition of digital marketing, and the companies started optimising their websites to rank better in search engine results.

In 1996, some more search engines and tools like HotBot, LookSmart, and Alexa were launched.

The first social media site was launched in the year 1997.

The year 1998 was the golden year for digital marketing as Google was launched in this year. Moreover, in this year also Microsoft launched MSN, and Yahoo launched Yahoo web search.

Two years later (in 2000), the internet bubble burst and all the smaller search engines were wiped out. This creates more space and opportunities for the giants in the business.

Then, the professional social media network LinkedIn was launched in 2002.

The year 2003 was witnessed the release of WordPress and the launch of MySpace.

In 2004, Gmail was launched. The same year Facebook has gone live, and Google went public.

Next, YouTube was launched in the year 2005.

The year 2006 was another remarkable year because search engine traffic was reported to have grown to about 6.4 billion in a single month. This year Microsoft launched an MS live search and simultaneously, Twitter was also launched. At the same time, Amazon e-commerce sales have crossed near about $10 billion.

In 2007, Tumblr was launched. Moreover, web streaming service Hulu was also founded in this year. Mobile giant Apple launched its iPhone in the same year.

In the year 2008, Spotify was launched and Groupon went live.

In 2009, Google launched Instant for real-time search engine results. Google introduced products like AdWords, which are 3 line ads that show up at the top or to the right of search engine results, and AdSense which is a cost-per-click advertising scheme. In time, Google started to target ads based on the interests of the customers and thus became a key player in the world of digital business.

In 2010, Whatsapp was launched along with Google Buzz.

In 2011, Google+ and Google Panda were launched. People have already started to spend time on these mediums, and these mediums have surpassed the television viewership too.

2012 is the year of social media. The companies have increased their social media budget up to 64%, and Google knowledge graph has also launched. Myspace and Facebook are the popular social media sites among the people. The companies have realized that these sites will help them in spreading up their businesses over the internet and thus, they were desperately trying to promote their products and brands on various social media channels. They have also tried to leverage social media to their businesses.

In 2013, Yahoo acquired Tumblr.

In 2014, the number of mobile and smartphone users had surpassed the number of PC users. Facebook messenger app along with tailored ads on LinkedIn and iWatch was launched. During this year, Facebook acquired Whatsapp.

In 2015, Snapchat has launched its Discover feature. In this year several new technologies like analytics, wearable tech, and content marketing have also been invented. Facebook also launched its “Instant articles” this year.

The cookie was another significant milestone in the field of digital marketing. The first cookie was designed to record user habits. The use of the cookie has changed over the years, and cookies today are coded to offer marketers a variety of ways to collect literal user data.

Popular social networking sites in 2017 are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc. Facebook has a user base of 2.01 billion (as per the record of June 30, 2017).

AI began its influence on digital marketing in 2018. It provided enhanced personalization, automated tasks, and improved data-driven marketing. AI-powered chatbots made customer communication easier and auto e-mail campaigns.

In 2019, the rise of video content-sharing apps like TikTok made video marketing an integral part of digital marketing. This continues to grow into micro-influencing, which has smaller but more engaged audiences.

2020 is a crucial year in the history of digital marketing due to the rise of Covid 19 pandemic. People spend more time on social media, pushing businesses to accept online channels to connect with customers. Social Media became vital in marketing, while email and video marketing grew significantly.

A notable development in digital marketing sector in 2021 is the emergence of experiential marketing. It creates an interactive and emotional marketing experience with the help of Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR).

The concept of Metaverse, a virtual world that combines social interaction, entertainment and commerce, came out in 2022. Brands like Facebook Meta have already announced their experiments with Metaverse. Meanwhile, the next version of Internet, Web 3.0 released with more opportunities for marketing.

Popular social networking sites of today are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc. Facebook continues its dominance in social media with a user base of 2.989 billion (as per the record of April 2023).

The integration of Artificial Intelligence with digital marketing is paving the way for next-generation strategies. Technologies like Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR) are still left to reveal where marketing is heading.

Every progress brings a chunk of opportunities to marketers and businesses alike. If you want to establish your presence in this digitalized era, you need to update and apply new opportunities that are getting updated daily.

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