In the United States, an estimated 244 million people used social media in 2018 and digital marketing can give businesses access to those users. Every modern business is expected to be familiar with digital marketing and to use it to reach their customers.

Digital marketing is the promotion of products or services over the internet or any other form of electronic media.

  • Digital marketing dates back to the mid-90s when the first clickable web-ad banner was purchased by HotWired in 1993.
  • Within a year, the first eCommerce transactions, the launch of Yahoo!, and introduction of smaller search engines brought on the growth of digital marketing.
  • 1998 brought us Google, Microsoft’s MSN and Yahoo! web search.
  • Opportunities for mobile marketing started with Universal Music in the early 2000s.
  • LinkedIn made its debut in 2002 and the website creation platform, WordPress, joined the market.
  • 2004 was a big year with the launch of Gmail, Google going public and Facebook going live. YouTube joined the digital space a year later.
  • With Amazon sales breaking the $10 billion mark in 2006, eCommerce showed it was here to stay and a force to reckon with.
  • The next 15 years were a whirlwind of players entering the digital marketplace – Twitter, Tumblr, Hulu, Snapchat.
  • The introduction of the iPhone and the generations of handheld devices that have followed changed the way we receive our digital media.

With the addition of so many new platforms, this quick evolution of digital marketing altered the way that advertising had been delivered to consumers in the decades before. No longer could you hope that your consumers saw your tv ad or billboard on the side of the road. Companies can now reach their audiences quicker and more efficiently than ever.

Digital marketing can include everything from search engine marketing and optimization to pay-per-click advertising to email and social marketing. Digital marketing provides so many advantages to traditional marketing and is so much more affordable. Audiences are easier to reach and can be highly targeted based on the digital footprint consumers are creating each time they hit the internet.

Over the past two and a half decades, digital marketing and advertising have helped companies grow exponentially by meeting their customers wherever they are. How will the digital industry evolve over the next decade or two?