July 18, 2019 Last updated July 17th, 2019 1,583 Reads share

The History of Digital Marketing

History of Digital MarketingImage Credit: Deposit Photos

Firstly, What is Digital Marketing

To truly understand what is digital marketing you first need to understand what is meant by digital and marketing individually. The definition of digital in this context can mean something online, or electronic. Marketing is the process of putting information/products/services in front of potential customers by means of promotion. The end goal is normally market research or to gain sales. 

So, what is digital marketing? Digital marketing is the action of promoting and selling products and services online, digitally.

When Did Digital Marketing Become a Prominent Way To Market

Digital marketing is so prominent now because the internet provides users with instant accessibility. Without having to think for more than a second, users can compare the price of thousands of products to get the full shopping experience. The ability for businesses to interact with customers immediately has meant that eCommerce is now one of the most superior methods to gain revenue. A successful digital marketing agency can implement a successful strategy to bring relevant customers to your site.


    • Researchers have found that the phrase digital marketing was first used in 1990, this is along with the launch of the first search engine ‘Archie’. 


    • 1993 witnessed the use of the first clickable ad banner. 


    • 1994 was the beginning of the e-commerce era, the first-ever transaction was made over Netmarket. It is now estimated that there will be 1.92 billion global digital buyers in 2019.
    • 1994 was also the launch of Yahoo!


    • In 1996 search engines were becoming more prominent, during this year a few search engines launched. These were HotBot, LookSmart, and Alexa. 


    • In 1997 social media was unheard of, this is the year that all changed with the introduction of sixdegrees.com the world’s first social media site.


    • This was a huge year for the digital marketing industry, Google was born, Microsoft launches MSN and Yahoo! Launches web search. (Google now are home to 90% of search engine searches)


    • In 2000 the smaller search engines began to be wiped out and the first social media site sixdegrees.com shutdown.


    • In 2001 the first mobile marketing campaign launches!


    • 2002 was the official launch of business social central; LinkedIn. 


    • 2003 was significant because this was the year that MySpace got launched and WordPress got released.


    • In 2004 Google had a massive update and they go public whilst also launching Gmail. This was also the launch of ‘The Facebook’ that inspired the 2010 film starring Jesse Eisenberg ‘The Social Network’.


    • This was the year that YouTube launched, Google was quick to spot the power YouTube possessed and acquired them in November 2006.


    • 2006 was a busy year, Amazon sales cross $10 billion, split testing in marketing was introduced, Twitter launches and Microsoft launches MS live search.


    • 2007 was the launch of Tumblr, iPhone, and Hulu.


    • China’s development grows and grows, causing them to overtake the US in the race for the number of internet users. Music giants Spotify launches in this year and Groupon goes live.


    • A big step for organic rankings as Google introduces real-time search engine results.


    • 2010 is the birth of WhatsApp, they had a good run before being bought by social media giants Facebook in February 2014.


    • Snapchat is founded.
    • The real power of the internet is proven with web-use overtaking figures for TV viewership among the youth. 
    • 2011 made life a lot harder for seo specialists with the introduction of Google Panda. The Google Panda algorithm update was to reward high-quality websites and diminish the presence of low-quality websites in Google’s organic search engine results.


    • The mobile era… Mobile has now exceeded PC internet usage. Facebook acquire Whatsapp and the official facebook messenger app is live.


    • Snapchat launches ‘Discover’ feature, Facebook launches instant articles and wearable tech becomes normality! 2015 was also the year that content marketing really was the top strategy for successful marketing campaigns. 


    • Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 to try to regain market share.


    • AMP for Ads ramp up. Google launched a beta that enables advertisers to point their mobile search ads to AMP-enabled landing pages, this is now out of beta!


    • Facebook receives negative press over its data privacy practices. Google algorithm update announced that the mobile-first index was finally “rolling out.” Signifying the importance of having a website optimized for mobile devices.


    • 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily, organic search is moving away from desktop and mobile devices and are now heading towards voice search devices such as the Amazon Alexa.

What Are The Different Methods of Digital Marketing


To put it simply, search engine optimization (SEO), is the optimization of your site and pages to rank higher for relevant search terms on search engines such as Google – A good SEO professional should also improve user experience in the process.

If you have a website, blog or an online shop, SEO can help your business grow and meet the business objectives.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a defined audience that best suits your business. The end goal is to increase sales and expand brand reach.

User Experience Analysis (UX Design)

A User experience analysis (UX design) is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability, and function.

Conversion Rate Optimisation

Conversion rate optimization is an important task for a business, if you have been successful at getting traffic to your site and the traffic isn’t converting into paying customers then you may need to consider CRO. conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing your conversion rate. This could be by targeting more relevant traffic in SEO or simply making it easier for a user to find the ‘BUY NOW’ button. 

Social Media Management

Social media management is the process of creating, scheduling, analyzing, and engaging with content posted on social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. A social media manager may be employed by a brand, individual, or business to reach new customers online or to improve and maintain their reputation.

Pay Per Click

Pay per click (PPC) is a way for businesses to purchase advertising to increase traffic to their website. The benefit of PPC is that a fee is only paid when a customer clicks on the ad, meaning that impressions are free. Pay per click can be found on Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn and more!

Alternative digital marketing strategies

Alternative digital marketing strategies include email marketing, traditional marketing, PR management and brand management.

Digital Marketing – Deposit Photos

Jessica Sellers

Jessica Sellers

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