The Evolution & Growth of Digital Marketing

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  • 0:03 Definition of Digital…
  • 0:44 The Timeline of…
  • 2:56 Areas for Growth in…
  • 3:48 Keeping on Top of…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lucinda Stanley

Lucinda has taught business and information technology and has a PhD in Education.

In this lesson, we'll explore the world of digital marketing, its evolution and importance, its potential for growth, and some strategies businesses can use to keep on top of it.

Definition of Digital Marketing

Use of traditional marketing, such as newspapers and magazines, just doesn't have the impact it once did. Customers now spend more and more time online using social media, mobile apps, email, and, of course, participating in e-commerce in the form of buying and selling services or products online.

Digital marketing is the advertising of products over digital channels, like the internet, mobile phones, or any other digital form. It's hard to believe that digital marketing wasn't even a 'thing' until just a few years ago. Companies founded since 2001 should have a digital marketing plan. Why? Because digital marketing allows businesses to reach a larger audience in a shorter time period.

The Timeline of Digital Marketing

I know you're asking yourself: How did all this happen? When did it start? Let's take a look at some highlights in the evolution of digital marketing.


Let's begin with the 1990s. We have to remember that access to the internet in the early days was far different than it is today. Before the 1990s, there was limited use. This could have been because of the big price tag of $1 per minute of access, or because there just wasn't that much on the internet to appeal to a large number of people, and navigation was troublesome.

Then, along came Archie. Archie was the first ever search engine. This was the first time people could search for something on the internet. Once possible, businesses saw value in making sure their product or service was represented.

In 1993, we had the first clickable web banner, where a potential customer could be looking for information about something, then see a (hopefully) related banner for a business that they could click on to visit that page. This inevitably led to customers being able to make a purchase online.

In 1997, the first social media site was launched ( - taken from the phrase 'six degrees of separation'). Sixdegrees is now defunct, but others have stepped in to take its place such as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The potential for reaching customers where they were hanging out online was enormous, and businesses wanted to take advantage of that.

First Decade of the 2000s

Now, let's look at the 2000s. In 2001, Universal Music launched an official mobile marketing campaign aimed at those consumers who interacted with the internet through their smart phones or tablets.

In 2006, businesses began to wonder what they could do to improve their digital marketing campaign and so conducted experiments known as split testing, to see which pathway through their web sites was most efficient for the user. The goal was to optimize the customer's journey from information through to purchase.

Second Decade of the 2000s

Lastly, let's look at the 2010s. In 2012, businesses increased their marketing budgets for social media sites by 64%. In 2014, there were more mobile users accessing the internet than people using a traditional computer setup.

In 2015, businesses jumped on board with the use of predictive analytics that enabled them to identify trends in customer behavior that the business could then use to improve their marketing strategies.

Areas for Growth in Digital Marketing

Where technology is involved, there is a constantly changing environment. This means businesses have to adapt to these changes as they happen. They can now use digital analytics, the analysis of data generated by digital media such as web pages and social media sites. This data can be predictive, prescriptive, or even descriptive information to find emerging trends, address problems including customer complaints, and to more clearly define a typical customer and their experience.

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