Digital Marketing Evolution Over the Years
Digital Marketing in simple terms, refer to the marketing of the offerings made by a company digitally via electronic mediums. With the wide penetration of internet and telecom connectivity and consequent smartphone penetration, people are consuming digital content as if there is no tomorrow. The average time that people are spending on the internet has been on a steady rise, so much so that it has reached almost 4 hours of the day. With people spending more and more time on the internet, it is quite a prudent move to shift the marketing attention towards the internet, than on the other mediums.
However, digital markesting itself has also gone through a massive evolution. The main aid for this evolution has been the integration of Artificial Intelligence (A.I) to automate marketing activities. AI and Machine Learning have also opened up avenues that seemed impossible for the human mind to think of. In this article, we will elaborate upon the evolution of Digital Marketing and a glimpse of what can occur in the future.
The Early Roots
Banners were the most popular means of marketing amongst companies during the 90s. It was almost no brainer that the world’s first digital marketing product was a clickable banner. The banner was considered a hit not because of the sales it generated but the instant attention it caught on the internet. The same year the company HotWired purchased a few banner ads, moreso for experimental purposes.
Launch of Search Engines:
Yahoo was launched in the year 1994 and was an instant hit with close to 1 million hits. Many search engines were launched between 1994 and 2000 like Google, HotBot. LookSmart and Alexa. These search engine launches boosted the digital marketing space and provided it the required initial headstart. After the Internet Bubble Burst of 2000, the digital marketing space witnessed its biggest surge in the year 2006. In 2006, reports suggested that the search engine traffic surged to a then-record of 6.4 billion in a single month. Marketers realized the potential of this space and went in full force towards pursuing digital marketing as one of the main marketing techniques. The scope of digital marketing was limited to Clickable Banners, Single Line Advertisements, and such. But even, with such fewer verticles companies were able to generate considerable sales volume.
Introduction of WEB 2.0:
Web 2.0 allowed active participation by the users onto the search engines, rather than just being a passive user as in the case of Web 1.0. This boosted internet user growth up to a new high and consequently the digital marketing agency adoption and use to even greater heights. Internet was being termed as the information superhighway where any possible thing could be researched upon. Such was the boost on the internet that in the United States alone, digital marketing brought in revenues of around $2.9 billion.
Credit: Research Gate
Rise of Social Media and AI Integration
Social Media Marketing:
The launch of social media platforms like Facebook, and Twitter, with instant success further opened up new avenues for digital marketing companies. Facebook, for instance, gained close to one billion active users by the end of the year of its launch. Marketers were very fast to react and began digitally marketing their products on these social media platforms. These companies made Attractive Posts, Created Virtual Invites for their Product Launches, and even created their Custom Business Profiles. Facebook also launched its self-service advertising platform in the year 2007, and the revenue was close to a record-breaking $700 million. Not only Facebook, but Google’s revenues also through digital marketing too shored off the roofs in these years. This showed the paradigm shift in the marketing behavior of the businesses.
Digital Advertisers began to look for more ways to gain the advantage of a rise in social media usage and soon they got their hands on cookies. Cookies were designed to track the general user browsing habits and usage patterns across sites. Over the years cookies were modified by digital marketers in a way that they continuously tracked user statistics, for the companies to provide a more personalized experience.
Search Engine Optimizations (SEOs):
SEOs have become the most important feature for Digital Marketers in recent times, to facilitate better brand/ product discovery on the search engines. Due to intense online competition, it is very tough for a particular brand/product to always remain on the top of the search results on search engines and even in the search boxes of e-commerce companies. SEOs optimize commonly used keywords related to the brand/product to direct them onto the links of the company’s offerings. These boost impressions, clicks, and consequently the associated sales. Over the years, SEOs have become an important marketing tool amongst the companies’ digital as well as the overall marketing mix.
Videos now have started incorporating the mix of both products focusing as well as feature focusing. The quality of videos now shot, both in terms of audio and video output has been evolving continuously. Usage of 4K/8K Resolution camera recorders, Dolby Audio/HighRes Audio are all aimed at providing crystal clear marketing messages to the audiences. Facebook and Instagram have launched their Watch and IGTV features respectively. These video platforms were launched keeping in mind the interests of both the users as well as the marketers.
Trends and Ways Going Forward
Rise of WEB 3.0:
WEB 3.0 is the new age of the internet, with a large focus on data privacy and a win-win model. This model provides the customer the option to share his/her private data with the companies in exchange for certain rewards/benefits. WEB 3.0 is fast gaining users’ interest and digital marketers are devising every possible scheme to capture this tide.
Brave Browser is the ultimate example of a product that has gained acceptance basis this model.
Metaverse is a virtual/augmented reality world that designed to provide real-life-like experiences. Metaverses built through the usage of Supreme AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning Codes. Many companies have started showcasing their offerings on these artificial worlds to offer real-life-like work experiences. IKEA, for example, showcases its product on its virtual reality platform for better user engagement and consequently higher sales volume.
Marketing based on Algorithms:
In recent years, marketers have kept the repetitive processes associated with digital marketing like e-mails, push notifications, and marketing messages on automation. These automation run on set user algorithms developed as per the user’s app usage history. These algorithms also help the marketers in capturing the target user’s attention from all possible means.
Collaborating with the Influencers:
Influencers are the persons who have gained big popularity on social media platforms. A collaboration with these influencers helps to market the products to a wider range of audiences. These influencers have a more personal connection with the audiences due to their interactive content. These influencers are present on a wide range of digital platforms and thereby have a wide marketing reach. Newer age brands and start-ups like Mamaearth, Wow, The Souled Store have all gained sales from these collaborations and made big during their launches.
Digital Marketing has evolved a lot from its initial stages and now has become the major marketing medium amongst companies. Digital marketing now accounts for more than 60% of the total promotional spending incurred by the company. Now, with the increasing mobile user penetration and consequent internet/data usage, it is almost certain that the scope of digital marketing is going to expand by leaps and bounds. With the integration of AI and Machine Learning new avenues for digital marketing is opening up. These marketing avenues are far more cost-effective and productive in generating sales volume for the company.