History of Digital Marketing

Throughout the centuries there are key events that have shaped our definition of marketing and this unique form of communication between company and consumer.

Although not a new concept, marketing has evolved significantly since the start of the digital age. With the internet boom and the creation of different online mediums, digital marketing has either accompanies or has entirely replaced traditional, offline marketing.

Take a read through our interactive MintTwist Digital Timeline and discover more about these pivotal moments.

The Birth Of Pinterest    

Joining many other start up tech companies in Silicon Valley, Pinterest is born in March 2010. The platform revolves around photo sharing, encourages its members to group ideas together in mood boards and inspires fellow registered Pinterest members. 


Buy With Bitcoin    

Bitcoin is introduced as a digital currency. Invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin requires no middleman but allows transactions to occur between seller and buyer directly. 

Zappos Acquired By Amazon    

Clothing site Zappos is acquired by Amazon on 1 January, 2009 for $928 million. 

Google Caffeine    

Google tested ‘Caffeine’. The web indexing system allows for faster results for web searches, thus increasing speed for sites crawling, indexing and ranking.

Bing Is The New Yahoo    

To improve its search engine algorithm, Yahoo replaced its ‘Live Search’ with Bing. 

Google Introduces Relevant Search Result    

Google Suggest is launched, offering searchers more appropriate content based on historical keyword data. 

Tweetdeck Is Introduced    

Social media management tool TweetDeck makes managing Twitter accounts more simple. The platform allows users to schedule tweets to be pushed live automatically. It works by interfacing with the Twitter API.

New Advertising Options On YouTube    

In November 2008, YouTube introduced promoted videos and pre-roll ads.

Google Buys DoubleClick    

For roughly $3.1 billion, Google purchased the advertising platform DoubleClick which provides ad management technology in March 2008.

Facebook Features Social Adverts    

Facebook’s social adverts aim to make ads seen on the platform much more relevant for users of the site. They are served dependent upon user interests and actions their friends have taken.

YouTube Launches Advertising    

Advertising becomes YouTube’s money-maker. Being the second most used search engine after Google, YouTube has become a great platform to promote businesses and brands.  

From DVD Rentals To Streaming    

In 2007, Netflix introduced streaming, allowing members to view TV shows and movies instantly. No longer is Netflix a DVD rental site, but the most used streaming platform. 

The First iPhone Is Launched    

The first of the revolutionary Apple iPhone was launched on 1 January, 2007.  

Google Gives BMW The Death Penalty    

BMW was blacklisted by Google for attempting to manipulate its search rankings for the term “used car.” BMW’s page rank was reduced to zero, guaranteeing its search keywords not appearing at the top. 


Google Checkout Debuts    

Google Checkout was launched in 2006 to simplify the online paying process. Allowing users to save their personal information in their Google account, Google Checkout makes the next purchase much easier. However, the function ended in November 2013. 

Facebook Launches Its ‘News Feed’ Feature    

Facebook launched its ‘News Feed’ feature, showing more posts that are related to users such as updates from friends, pages liked and but less “sales-y” content. 

Twitter Is Born    

Twitter, the up-to-the-minute, topical social channel, was launched a decade ago in 2006. Today, the platform has over 310 million monthly active users. The 140 character limitation for tweets was based on the site being founded as the ‘SMS of the Internet.’ 



YouTube’s First Advertisement    

In 2006, YouTube entered their first advertising partnership with NBC. Gone are the days where users could view a YouTube video clip without pressing ‘Skip Ad’ after 5 seconds of an advertisement playing. 

Google’s New Algorithms    

Google released two new algorithms called ‘Jagger’ and ‘Big Daddy’ to combat link spamming. Along with these algorithms, sites with suspicious inbound links will automatically lose ranking positions. 

Combat Spam    

The NoFollow tag is created to disavow un-trusted inbound links. Webmasters are given greater control to stop spammers from directing useless traffic to their sites’. 

Google Analytics Is Released    

For digital marketers, Google Analytics was just the tool needed. Providing data on a site’s visitors customer journey and behaviour, the service was offered by Google in November 2005. Now, companies can view and report upon their online marketing campaigns and turn insight into appropriate action. 

The First YouTube Video    

YouTube, the second most used search engine after Google and the most popular video-sharing website was launched in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees. It was later bought by Google in October 2006 for $1.65 billion. The ‘Me at the zoo’ video started it all off.

Reddit Is Launched    

Founded in 2005, Reddit is an entertainment and social news website. Users can vote to decide the post entries’ position on the page. The platform now has 542 million monthly visitors, ranking #25 in the world. 

‘The Facebook’ Becomes Facebook    

The ‘Facebook.com’ domain was purchased for $200,000 on 1 August 2015. Both Google and Yahoo offered Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg $2 billion, which he declined. Today, Facebook has more than 1.65 billion users.

What’s PCI DSS?    

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was introduced to assist in guaranteeing credit card security and avoid fraudulent online activity in 2004. This global standard covers all the major cards and allows users to better control and protect their personal data. 

MOZ Is Released    

Rand Fishkin launched SEOMOZ, now known only as ‘Moz’ in 2004. Since its introduction, it has become the SEO industry authority to determine a site’s rankings for search engine optimisation. Although companies were once only concerned with having “good” SEO, now relevant content must also be considered for searchers and site visitors to enhance the user experience.

The First Multimedia Email Is Sent    

In addition to colloquial acronyms such as ‘LOL’ and ‘OMG’ being added to the dictionary, in 2004 the first multimedia email was sent. Thus, the basis of email marketing and how we receive subscription emails from brands and companies today, was set. Email is dead, long live email! 



Google Goes Public    

The search engine Google went public in August 2004. 19.6 million shares were offered at a price of $85 per share. With the search engine going public, some employees who had large stakes in the company became instant millionaires.

Digg.com Is Born    

Digg.com, the news aggregator, came into existence in 2004. Delivering trending and engaging stories featured across the internet. The site was redesigned in July 2012 to enhance social content sharing capability.

Flickr Is Released    

Launched by Ludicorp in February 2004, the photo-sharing site became an instant hit. Early versions of Flickr featured a chat room called FlickrLive, where users could exchange real-time photos. Today, Flickr introduced 1000 GB of free storage for all users accounts to maintain the increasing image storage demand. In addition to Flickr, the site has rolled out other features such as Flickr App, Flickr Camera Roll and Uploadr are very popular among users. 

April Fools! Google Launches Gmail    

Gmail, an email service, was launched on April Fool’s Day, 2004. Known by the code name Caribou, the project was the brainchild of Paul Buchheit. Initially, the use of the email platform was limited to Google employees, but was made publicly available in February 2007.

Facebook Arrives    

Facebook was launched by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, as a social networking platform to upload one’s personal profile and virtually connect with friends. With 1.65 billion users today, Facebook was initially limited to Harvard students and then to those who attended a higher education institution in the U.S. It was made public in September 2006 to everyone with a registered email address.


Although Amazon was founded almost a decade prior, the site only posted its first yearly profit in 2003.

MySpace Bursts Onto The Social Scene    

One of the first social networking sites, MySpace offered users the ability to share personal profiles, photos, music and videos. Additionally, MySpace provided users the space to engage with groups and blogs. In 2006 in the U.S, the social platform was more visited then Google. It was acquired by News Corporation in 2005 for $580million.

The Favoured Blog Platform Is Launched    

WordPress, the most used and user friendly blog-writing channel, is launched in 2003. The emergence of this simple PHP platform allows everyone easy access to create and share. 

Apple ‘Panther’ Is Released    

Safari replaces Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the default web browser in OS X Panther.

Never Buy A CD Again    

On 28 April, 2003 Apple launched the iTunes Music Store, an online music store that allows customers to quickly find, purchase and download an exact song or album for a minimal price, without subscription fees.

Google Grants Is Introduced    

Adding to the already massive popularity of Google, Google launches Google Grants, which provides non-profit organisations with $10,000 per month of in-kind AdWords advertising to promote their initiatives.

Google Launched AdSense    

Google AdSense is an advertising placement service. The platform allows publishers to present specific advertisements on specific website pages with the aim of earning revenue every time a visitors views or clocks the ad. 

Blogger.com Is Bought By Google    

Google, the world’s most-used internet search engine, acquired Blogger, a web service which has fuelled the rapid rise of the web journals popularly known as weblogs.

eBay Acquires PayPal    

The digital tech industry wouldn’t be complete without company buy outs. eBay acquired online payments company PayPal in a deal valued at $1.5 billion. It then phased out its own competing service, eBay Payments. 

MintTwist is Born    

The most interesting of all our timeline’s entries occurred in 2002, when our digital agency officially burst onto the scene. Founded by childhood friends Alexis Pratsides and Elliott King, our full-service digital agency based in Kentish Town, North London now boasts over 20 digital strategists.

Google Re-Launches AdWords    

In February 2002, Google introduced a new version of AdWords. Google once again established itself by launching the new version of AdWords and rewarding advertisers with ‘positions’ based on the relevance and bid pricing of their ads.

mCommerce Is Introduced by Amazon    

Amazon realised the upswing trend of mobile usage. In 2001, Amazon presented a mobile commerce site, with a trolley in the logo.

Launch Of MailChimp    

MailChimp, an email marketing service, was founded in 2001. Beginning as a paid service, it is now the world’s leading email marketing platform. By 2014, the platform was sending out over 10 billion emails per month.  

Kingston Communications launches KIT    

Kingston Communications, a regional telecommunications operator in the UK, launched KIT – Kingston Interactive Television. KIT was one of the first companies to launch video on demand. Unfortunately, the KIT service was terminated when subscriber numbers fell from around 10,000 to 4,000 in 2006.