The Early Evolution of Digital Marketing

The Word Digital Marketing was first used in the 1990. It was the early age for the digital era with the introduction of the internet and of Web 1.0 platform, also known as the ‘Read-only’ web and the first search engine known as Archie. With the Web 1.0 platform, users were able to obtain information they wanted but they were not allowed to share information on the web. During that period of time, marketers were not sure about the use of digital platform for marketing. Three years after the introduction of the word digital marketing, the first clickable web-ad was introduced. Thus, marking the 1993 as the beginning of the digital era for marketing.quirk-fig03_001

In the 1994, there was an introduction of new technologies in the digital market, such as e-commerce transaction on Netmarket and Amazon and in the same year, Yahoo was launched.                                                                                           collage_fotorIn the first year of its launched, Yahoo was able to pull up to 1 million hits. This caused, a massive change in the digital marketing area, as companies started to optimize their websites to gain the higher search engine rankings. Because of Yahoo’s success, other smaller search engines such as HotBot, LookSmart and Alexa were lunch in the 1996.collage_fotorsThe 1997 was beginning of social media era with first one known as 1998 was the birth of the biggest search engine in the world, Google. The same year, Microsoft launched MSN and Yahoo launched its web search. It was during the year 1999, that the Web 2.0 was launched and started the Read-Write-Publish era. With the Web 2.0, people interact with the content on the internet.

This led to the internet bubble burst in 2000 which caused all the smaller search engines (HotBot, LookSmart and Alexa) to be left behind or removed. On the year, Google launched Adwords online advertising services.

The year 2001 saw the birth of the first mobile marketing campaign which was from Universal Music. In 2002 to 2006, social media started to extent with the launch of LinkedIn, WordPress, MySpace, Facebook, Gmail, Youtube and Twitter.   Moreover Google launched Adsense online advertising services in 2003 and went public in the year 2004. During the year 2006, E-commerce platform make a surge in the digital marketing with the Amazon’s sales of $10 billions and that search engine search traffic was analyzed to have increased to 6.4 billion a month. On this same year, Microsoft tried to compete against Google and Yahoo with the launch of Live Search.

During the upcoming years from 2007 to 2016, Social media had grown a lot, through the introduction of new social media tools such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat’s Discover features and much more.

A digital market is always changing. A digital marketer should find a way to keep up with the changes and more importantly keeping an attentive eye on the emerging trend and development of new smarter Web platform. After all, no one want to get left behind or forgotten in this race.


Ankit Oberoi. 2013. “The Story of Online Advertising.” ADPUSHUP BLOG.

CBS. “Then and now: a history of social networking sites.” CBSNEWS.

Flat World Business. “Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0 vs Web 3.0 vs Web 4.0 vs Web 5.0 – A bird’s eye on the evolution and definition.”

Rick Walkers. 2016.”The Evolution of Digital Marketing In The Enterprise.”Business 2 Community.

The history of e-commerce. “The history of e-commerce.” SquirrelHosting.


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