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The Evolution of Advertising

Updated on January 29, 2015

Technically, advertising has existed in one form or another since 3,000 B.C., when the ancient Egyptians used papyrus and wall paintings to create sales messages! While advertising was used for thousands of years, it died down during the Middle Ages when the main way to make announcements shifted to town criers. In the 15th century, the printing press was invented, and this helped develop mass-produced advertisements in newspapers, with the revenue from the ads used to fund these publications.

The Birth of Modern Advertising

However, we need to fast forward to the 19th century to find the world’s first advertising agency, which was opened by Volney B. Palmer in Philadelphia in 1841. Within two decades, New York had 20 ad agencies, and the world of advertising continued to grow into the 20th century. In the 1920s, radio advertising became a new phenomenon, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that advertising really became widespread thanks to the affordability of televisions and post-war affluence. It was during this era that the nation’s consumer culture really took off.

When cable television became popular, it was a game changer for ad agencies, as there were suddenly a huge number of TV channels available, many of which attracted specific audiences. This allowed agencies to come up with targeted ad campaigns, which were a tremendous success. For example, there was the Food Network for foodies and ESPN for sports fans; each segment had their own interests, and this was like manna from heaven for ad networks.

The Internet Age

In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, and the entire advertising landscape changed once again. Now it became possible for people to make purchases from the comfort of their own home. However, with new technology came new demands, and marketers had to come up with brand new strategies to take advantage of this huge potential market.

In October 2000, Google AdWords was launched to 350 customers, and things were never the same again. This online advertising service allowed companies to place ad copy at the top, bottom, or beside search listings, and it quickly became the search engine giant’s main source of revenue. In 2012, for example, Google earned more than $43 billion from total ad revenues.

After another decade went by, social media networks, led by Facebook and Twitter, got in on the act. Companies could advertise their wares on these sites to hundreds of millions of potential customers. In 2012, Facebook earned over $4 billion from advertising.

Now it appears as if Big Data is the latest advertising tool, as more data should theoretically allow advertisers to create more accurate analysis. Today, there are three Vs used when describing Big Data: variety, volume, and velocity. In simple terms, Big Data describes a volume of data so large that it is hard to process using traditional software and database techniques. Ninety percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years, with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created daily! Businesses hope to use Big Data to improve their selling techniques and attract even more expenditures from consumers.

The History of Advertising in 60 Seconds

While we have come a long way in the field of advertising, it almost feels as if we are just getting started. Hand in hand with ever-changing website developments, online media companies are among those at the forefront of employing the latest technologies to help their clients research and refine the tactics that drive interested shoppers to their websites and turn those prospects into paying customers.

Learn more by contacting a prominent web solutions company like Phoenix Online Media that offers the latest guidance in search engine advertising.

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