The History of Digital Marketing

 I think it is clear by now that the world of technology, digital marketing and social media is having a significant impact on our lives and how we behave socially, act as consumers and how we do business so it could be fair to say that any business that does not adapt to the new era of marketing and communications is in danger of losing out. So where did social media come from? Where is, it heading? Read on to find out the history of social media.

 

Digital Marketing started out back in 1990 when the term “digital marketing” was introduced, there was then also the launch of the first ever search engine called Archie. We then move forward to 1993 when the first ever clickable web ad banner was created. Moving on to 1994 and the search engine Yahoo was launched. We then move on to 1996, this year saw an increase in smaller search engines being launched such as HotBot, LookSmart and Alexa, sadly this didn’t last long with these smaller search engines being wiped out in 2000.

 

1997 proved to be a big year on the social media front as SixDegrees.com, the first ever social media website was launched. Sadly, this did not last long with the website being shut down just 3 years later in 2000. 1998 was a massive year in terms of digital marketing, as a certain well-known search engine called Google was born, this wouldn’t go live to the public until 2004 however. 1998 also saw the birth of a former giant of the social media world, as MSN was launched to the public and would continue until October of 2014, when Microsoft shut down MSN messenger, after losing out to other social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. Whilst all of this was going on Yahoo also launched Yahoo! Web Search. 

 

We now move forward to the year 2000 which some might say could have been the death of the internet why? Well, the first ever social media website sixdegrees.com was shut down, practically all the smaller search engines were also shut down, only the major ones such as Google and Yahoo survived and the internet bubble was well and truly burst, or was it? 

 

Evidently not otherwise we wouldn’t have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and countless other social media sites. We will now move on to 2001, this was when digital marketing started to go mobile, with the first ever mobile marketing campaign being created by Universal Music. This was a ground-breaking moment as it showed businesses we don’t only have an audience on the desktop anymore, but that the future could very well be mobile.

 

2002 saw the launch of a unique social media website, as LinkedIn was launched, this gave business managers and professionals alike a platform to communicate with one another to set up meetings, post blogs about subjects they are passionate about, and so much more.

 

2003 was yet another productive year for digital marketing, with wordpress.com being launched, this allowed people to build websites without having to hand code everything, this, therefore, made it a lot easier for anyone to create a website as it wasn’t just an exclusive group of people anymore. Also in 2003, we saw the launch of another fallen giant of the social media world, as MySpace was launched to the public, the website is still active now. However, it hasn’t been popular since 2011.

 

2004 was quite possibly the biggest year for the future of social media, the reason? Well, the current giant of the social media world Facebook was launched, it has come a long way since then, with new expansions such as Facebook Live and much more being introduced, but we will talk more about that later. Also in 2004, Google went public and they also released Google Mail in the same year giving people a simpler a way to email each other.

 

2005 then saw the launch of the first major video site with YouTube being launched to the world, and to date, it has over 3.25 billion views each month. 2006 was yet another successful year for both social media and digital marketing in general, yet another major player in the social media world today, Twitter was launched.

 

 

We also saw Amazon cross the $10 billion mark for e-commerce sales. We were also introduced to a new method of testing for marketers, as split or A/B testing started in order to gain opinions on social media campaign ideas from a test audience.

We now move on to 2007, this was the year that the multimedia blog and social networking site Tumblr was created, we also got one of the first streaming websites as Hulu was launched so that the public could watch TV on stream.

 

We also got the first iPhone in 2007, this opened a whole new world for mobile marketing as the access for phones on social media was far better than anything previously built. 2008 was yet another step in the right direction for digital marketing, as China overtook the US for the most internet users in the world, this showed marketers that they need to be targeting the global audience, not just continental. We also got the music streaming website and desktop app Spotify in 2008.

 

In 2009 Google launched Instant for real time search engine results, now Google ranked websites on more than just the quality of the website, but also how up to date the website is as well. No one wants to be reading an article that is outdated, people want the most up to date news immediately. 

 

At the start of the new decade, Google continued its changes introducing Google Buzz, Buzz was a social networking site that was created to challenge the dominance of both Facebook and Twitter, however, this did not last long as Buzz was discontinued on December 15th, 2011. We also got the social media messaging app WhatsApp in 2010, this enabled people to instantly message and phone each other via the internet for the very first time.

 

2011 was yet another year of change for Google, why? Well as mentioned before Google Buzz was shut down, Google+ was then created to fill the void that Google Buzz had left, Google also updated its algorithm with Google Panda, Panda made it so that people could not appear at the top of Google based solely on the number of backlinks they have, instead they based it on the quality of the links that they had to their website. We also saw web use figures overtake figures for TV amongst the youth of the world, this was a signal that the future of entertainment was online.

 

2012 was a big year of progress for the social media and digital marketing world, this was because budgets for social media campaigns had been increased by 64% this was a massive jump. It was also yet another year of change for Google, with Google introducing Knowledge Graphs. 2013 was a big year for businesses in social media, this was mainly down to the fact that the company Yahoo acquired Tumblr, this showed that companies were turning towards the now increasingly popular social media platforms.

 

In 2014 it was a year of change for Facebook, in order to keep up with other forms of communication such as SMS, Facebook launched the Facebook Messenger app, for all android and iPhone’s, it had previously been introduced on the Blackberry in 2011, but now the whole world had a new way to communicate with one another. We also got tailored ads on LinkedIn, this was the first time that a company used a system to advertise relevant programs, products etc. to its audience through social media. Back onto the subject of Facebook, they not only released messenger in 2014, but they also acquired a certain app by the name of WhatsApp, they also launched the Look Back option on Facebook, this enabled people to look back at their memories that they have shared on Facebook.

 

2015 was deemed the year that saw the rise of predictive analytics, wearable tech and content marketing, we also saw Facebook launches Instant Articles, meaning that yet again we got more tailored ads. We also saw Snapchat launched the discover feature, which allowed people to keep up to date with the latest news from around the world.

 

So now we have talked a bit about the history of digital marketing and social media, what about the future? What do you have to do to succeed in the digital marketing world in 2017? Well, the first takeaway from this is that video is about to hit its peak. By now you will have noticed businesses are moving away from the traditional method of posting as much and are heading towards more video based posts. Why? Well its simple if an image is worth 1000 words, then a video will be worth 1000 images (mainly because that is quite literally what it is) many businesses want to do video so if you can get on the trend before the vast percentage, you can leverage video to your own advantage.

 

Another takeaway is that nobody has left Facebook, a good 93% of marketers use Facebook, and 91% of them use Facebook ads, this shows that Facebook is obviously the key to being able to increase sales in this modern era, and that is more than enough reason to stick around.

 

So that was my blog on the history and possible future of digital marketing, I hope you found it inspiring and interesting.

 

 Limitless Digital the SEO specialists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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