Advertising has been a staple of business long before it was even called that name. It’s evolved and adapted with technology and become more and more targeted as time goes on. But as technology grew, some forms of traditional advertising began to dwindle. So what is the future of advertising? It’s all digital.
Before we get into the new media, let’s talk a little walk through history.
Centuries ago, traders and shops advertised their wares a different way. They used notice boards outside of homes, gave out free samples on the street of baked goods and drinks, actors paraded around town in an attempt to persuade passersby to attend the theater; it was a different world then. There were no screens, no malls, and no neon signs to attract people into stores.
It wasn’t until the 1800s did advertising begin to take shape into what it is today. James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald from 1835 to 1867, was the first to come up with the idea of advertisements as a way to lower the cost of newspapers. Before his time, ads were sparse and small, as the newspaper didn’t want to waste their space on something that was barely worth their time. Bennett changed all that. In fact, newspapers still do this today!
The first radio advertisement aired in 1922. AT&T began to sell toll broadcasting opportunities where businesses could underwrite or finance a broadcast in return for having their brand mentioned on air. This was the spring board advertising needed to start growing at a rapid pace.
By the late 1940s, advertising would face another monumental shift: commercial television. It was first developed after World War II in major cities that had local television programming, like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. By the early 1950s, three major networks — NBC, CBS, and ABC — supplied national programming.
During this time, television was very primitive. It was essentially a radio with pictures. But that didn’t stop television antennas sprung up all over America, like flowers blooming in spring.
Mass media began to decline with the advent of cable television in the 1970s. Now, ads on cable were more targeted to groups of viewers with more narrowly defined interests: kid shows advertised toys, adult shows might have a shaving product or an ad for new appliances.
Then, everything changed when the internet became widely available to the public. People were suddenly able to send messages almost instantaneously and broadcast their thoughts online. This was the start of the digital world and began the decline of traditional advertising.
Nowadays, if you want to get your business in front of as many people as you can, you turn to the internet. The fact is, 90% of Americans are internet users and the amount of time we spend online has exponentially grown in the past decade.
This timeline from Statista shows data on the time spent per day with digital and traditional media among adults in the United States from 2011 to 2018.
More and more people are choosing to spend their time on a computer or phone rather than watching television or consuming traditional media, like newspapers. This trend will only continue.
To put it another way: you need to be where your customers are and your customers are online.
Digital advertising is any form of marketing that utilizes the internet. Many businesses use social media, paid search services (like Google), content creation, search engine optimization, link building, and more to get their business in front of as many eyes as they can. It’s all around us: from our email inboxes, to our social media and streaming intake.
The largest benefit of digital advertising is your ability to track your results. If you have the right plugins, tools, and services, you can track where you are generating the most leads, see shortfalls in your advertising strategies, and track where customers are clicking off of your website.
The system is incredibly well developed and sophisticated and it is always changing and evolving as search engines continue to update their algorithms.
Digital advertising also allows for instant interactions between you and your clients! You don’t need to wait for mail-in forms or play phone tag anymore. They can chat with you online, send you an email, fill out a contact form from your website, or comment on your social media. It’s all instant.
Digital advertising builds upon what commercial television started: it allows for hyper-targeted advertising. Say you only want 40-60 year olds who served in the military to see your ads? You can do that! What if you wanted your ads to only appear to 20-45-year-old women on Facebook who are interested in shoes? You can do that too!
The data from digital marketing analytics allows you to target your audience in ways traditional marketing never could.
At Helix House, we speak from experience when we say the digital landscape is always adapting and changing. One second, social platforms could be happily broadcasting ads about timeshares, and the next, all of it is shut down due to an algorithm change. The same can be said for any platform, even Google! As a digital advertising agency, it’s our job to adapt and change with it to ensure that your advertising campaign is running smoothly.
If you have any questions about digital advertising or want to partner with experts in the industry, give us a call.