How The World of Digital Marketing Was Born

The world of digital marketing started with this.

First banner ad.gif

Today over 5 trillion banner ads are served every year in the USA alone – that’s a lot of ads!

If you want to blame someone for banners ads the surprising source is the tech publication, Wired magazine, who at the time had just created their website,

In 1994 their agency team had the idea of selling clickable ads on the website. They launched with about 14 companies (including Club Med, Volvo and MCI), but the first to go live is recognised as the “You Will” ad by AT&T.

The “You Will” campaign predicted what our digital future could be like. Interestingly, they got it pretty right – although oddly missed the prediction of mobile phones.

The banner ad deal was simple: they sold ad space, people clicked on the ad, saw the product, and then everyone was happy.

For the first year or so it pretty much worked like that. Digital banner ads even had a click through rate of approx 44%!

Today of course, it is a very different story, you’re more likely to be hit by lightning than click on a banner ad, and there is a whole industry built just to block or stop banner ads in some way shape or form.

Luckily the world of digital marketing has moved on somewhat from banner ads, we now have social media, video, email, blogs, influencer marketing, and everything in between.

Just as well too, as 2018 will be the first time in history where people will spend more time on the internet than watching TV. Below are our top five digital ad campaigns of all time, feel free to share yours in the comments section below.

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