Looking To Launch Your Digital Marketing Efforts? Read First

launch digital marketing efforts evolution online advertising rise internet branding

We’re living in an increasingly interconnected world, all thanks to telecommunications and the internet. This has led to the coining of the phrase “global village” as everyone now can contact anyone, conduct business, access any information, build a business, and even wager on betting sites for CSGO; all from the comfort of their house. And in such an interconnected ecosystem, digital marketing has become a critical element for businesses looking to expand their reach. 

In this article, we’re going to look at what digital marketing is, its importance, and how it has evolved over the years. 

What Exactly Is Digital Marketing? 

As the name suggests, digital marketing entails advertising or reaching out to your customers through digital channels such as email, social media, websites, mobile apps, web apps, search engines, or any other digital channel. 

Adopting digital marketing strategies is important as it helps businesses reach their target audience in their respective domain area. According to a 2020 report, an average internet user operates up to 7 social media accounts, with 22% of the global population being active on Facebook. By engaging in digital marketing, a business can reach its customers within the realm of these digital channels. 

Another key benefit of engaging in digital marketing is that it levels the playing ground for small businesses. It allows small businesses to compete with multinational corporations by putting their products and services in front of a larger audience. This together with the laser focus of digital marketing allows businesses to dissect huge demographics and whittle them down into small targeted groups, making their message more relevant. 

Evolution Of Digital Marketing 

Just like any other industry, digital marketing has continued to evolve, thanks to the advent of new technologies. To ensure that you choose the best digital marketing strategy for your business, it’s important to understand how digital marketing has evolved over the years. 

The Advent Of The Internet 

Before the advent of the internet, businesses only had TV, radio, billboards, and print publications to market their products and services. Unfortunately, these traditional marketing methods had limitations in terms of global reach, not forgetting they had a pretty steep price tag. 

With the advent of the internet, however, marketers started using the phrase “digital marketing” and incorporating it in their marketing strategies. 1994 was a critical year for digital marketing as it is the year that Netscape and Yahoo were launched, the first internet transaction happened, and also the year that AT&T created the first-ever clickable ad. All these factors, together with the explosion in the uptake of personal computers saw the number of internet users jump from 16 million to 70 million. 

The tipping point for digital marketing; however, came in 1998 with the launch of Google. It not only gave businesses a global reach but also shaped the way consumers find and consume information. 

Digital Marketing In The New Millenium 

At the turn of the new Millenium, the number of internet users continued to grow, hitting the 361 million mark. During the early 2000s, a huge number of influential platforms started appearing including LinkedIn, WordPress, MySpace, Gmail, and Facebook. 

In the mid-2000, smartphones started making entry into the market led by BlackBerry mobile devices followed by iPhone four years later. With smartphones, customers had the internet at their fingertips, and they could make online purchases from anywhere and everywhere. On the other hand, mobile connectivity gave marketers endless possibilities in terms of reaching potential customers. 

As icing on the cake, most social media platforms began collecting huge volumes of data relating to users’ demographics — which is being used up to date to create targeted paid adverts throughout the platforms. 

Digital Marketing In The 2010s 

In 2010, an estimated 1.97 billion people globally had internet connectivity, which represented a significant growth from the 361 million in early 2000. Along with that, social media platforms and technology companies like Google were already creating a solid foundation for digital marketing by creating new technologies. 

In 2016, for example, Facebook launched the Facebook MarketPlace, which allowed sellers and buyers alike to browse through a relevancy-sorted feed of posts to sell/purchase products and services from nearby businesses. Facebook was quickly followed by Blogger, Twitter, and Pinterest, which prompted brands to create new marketing strategies to promote their products and services on these digital platforms. 

Digital Marketing Today 

Fast forward to today, there are more than 4.33 billion social media users in the world. To put this into perspective, this equates to over 70% of the global population who are eligible to open and run a social media account. 

Facebook remains the leading social media platform in terms of numbers, with an estimated 2.7 billion active monthly users. In terms of revenues, the global digital marketing ecosystem generated an estimated $333.8 billion in 2019, with the amount expected to reach $491.1 billion by 2025. In 2020, for instance, Facebook generated an estimated 84.2 billion in ad revenues, with 74% coming from mobile, which is a clear illustration of the massive potential of digital marketing. 

According to statistics published by HootSuite in 2021, 49% of the global internet users use social media to research products and brand information. As such, it's important to establish a strong online presence across different social media platforms. And while at it, ensure that you establish your social media presence in platforms where most of your target customers mainly operate from and curate a strategy on how to make the most out of it. 

Final Thoughts On Digital Marketing

As you can see, digital marketing has continued to evolve since the first clickable advert was published in 1994. More and more businesses have continued to join the digital marketing train in a bid to expand their reach. 

Looking into the future, businesses that haven’t already endorsed digital marketing are already being forced to do so by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantines, lockdowns, and social distancing measures. For example, Jeep is already setting precedent by incorporating Artificial Intelligence into their marketing strategy by offering augmented reality inside 3D car models. Fashion Weeks, on the other hand, are already using virtual reality to run runway shows, with restaurants using mobile apps to facilitate ordering and curbside pickup. 

As time goes on, more and more digital marketing trends will continue popping up to meet customer’s needs, as well as allow companies operating in different industries to compete against each other.

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