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.

Online Ad Spend Reaches New Heights    

Global ad spend on desktop and mobile now accounts for 28% of all advertising spend – more than newspapers, billboards, magazines, radios and cinema.

Instagram Ads For All    

Instagram advertising, which was previously only available to large brands, is now rolled out for all brands. The Facebook advertising platform is used for audience targeting, so advertisers creating ads don’t have to worry about learning how to target audiences on a new channel. 

Enhanced Campaigns In AdWords    

Google AdWords launches enhanced campaigns to support better multi-device user experiences.

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.

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. 

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.

Google AdWords Is Launched    

Google AdWords launched with just 350 customers. The self-service ad programme assists Google in monopolising search engine rankings, by providing advertisers with specific keyword targeting and performance feedback.

And Then There Was PPC    

Can you remember where you were when PPC came into existence? In February 1998, Jeffrey Brewer of Goto.com, a startup company, presented a concept that would evolve to become PPC advertising at the TED conference in California. 

Online Ads Take Another Leap Forward    

DoubleClick, an online ad-services providing agency provided online advertising, creating a way to track banner ad clicks and consumer behaviour so that return-on-investment (ROI) could be properly reported. 


Coining ‘Banner Advertising’    

In October 1994, the founders of Hotwired were brainstorming ways to pay their writers when they lit upon the idea of selling ad space in large quantities. Thus the term ‘banner advertising’ was coined. AT&T were one of the first companies to purchase ad space to promote themselves in the web magazine. 


The Birth Of The Online Ad    

Global Network Navigator was the first commercial website to sell a clickable ad. Sold to the law firm Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, the ad linked to a news centre and product catalogue.