The 1990s introduced the World Wide Web and paved the way for online advertising with banner ads and targeted ad campaigns. In 1996, the year ColinKurtis was founded, total internet ad spending reached $267 million. Since then, advertising revenue has increased, technology has continued to develop, and advertising has not stopped evolving. To continue celebrating ColinKurtis’s 25th anniversary, our team is highlighting 25 ways advertising has changed since the 90s.
(Transition Away from) Print
1. “The amount of printing that we do is almost nothing—when we started, it was a big ticket on our income statement.” – Colin, Founder/Owner
2. “The percentage of Industry Trade Media has gone from 100% print to about 25%-30% print and the rest digital.” – Colin, Founder/Owner
3. “The transition from print to digital.” – Brian, Creative Director
One of the major changes from 1996 to 2021 is the development of digital advertising. The industry has shifted its main focus from print to digital to keep up with consumer demands.
4. Many changes have occurred since the development of digital advertising, with sites slowly introducing ads to their platforms. The first Google ad was published in 2000, followed by the first Facebook ad in 2004 and the first YouTube ad in 2007. The first Instagram ad, featuring a Michael Kors watch, was in 2013. Finally, Pinterest released ads in 2014.
5. “Digital ad creation tools! It used to be that only highly trained professionals could design or create ads or commercials. Now, anyone can.” – Valette, Account Director
6. “Virtual sponsorship opportunities like webinars, virtual conferences and virtual trade shows.” – Stacy, Account Executive/Quality Control
7. “The rise of user generated content.” Consumers have become a piece of advertising, helping brands gain trust from other consumers. – Brian, Creative Director
8. “Personalization & Relevancy—Ads are now targeted to your specific demographics and interests, instead of mass marketing.” – Valette, Account Director
9. Technology develops at such a rapid pace today that advertisers are required to stay on top of and ahead of trends, as well as to adapt quickly.
10. One major change in advertising is the use of OTT (Over the Top) advertising, which encompasses platforms like IMDb, Pluto, and Hulu. Viewership of these platforms has reached around 150 million U.S. adults and is expected to grow. Music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have also introduced ads, where you have the option to pay for an ad-free experience.
All of these changes within digital advertising are also present on social media, which is one of the biggest aspects of digital advertising. With 72% of adults on social media, it is important to follow the evolution of arising trends. Here are some of the changes our team has highlighted.
11. “The birth of social media! Social media can reach larger audiences with Americans spending more than 2 hours a day on social media. Brands are now spending ⅓ of their ad dollars on digital advertising.” – Matt, Director of Digital Integration
12. “Influencers and their rise to fame.” From the Marlboro Man to The Karshasians taking over social media, influencers have become a way to gain trust among consumers. – Rimsey, Director of Operational Efficiency
13. “Live—Brands can now connect to their followers in real time on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.” – Lydia, Junior Copywriter
14. Social media has created the need for quick information. It is no longer necessary to call and wait on a 1-800-number to get answers.
15. Tom; everyone’s first friend! Before MySpace was overshadowed by other sites like YouTube and Facebook, it showed how rapidly social media could grow and the possible breadth of people it could reach.
Another aspect of digital advertising that has gained momentum is video. Of marketers that use video, 93% say it is an important part of their strategy, which is a significant change from where video was in 1996.
16. “Today, when we produce videos we no longer have to take a VHS machine and tape with us to show the client!” – Colin, Founder/Owner
17. The power video content has is increasing. A new popular style of video, explainer videos, influence 84% of people to make a purchase or inquiry. Other recent trends include interviews and filming behind the scenes footage. Creating video content is now easier than ever. Today, anyone with a smartphone can shoot and edit videos.
Our team also identified changes with web content, such as the use of technology to track users and the development of search advertising.
Web and Search
18. Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has taken over, whereas before, businesses used yellow pages telephone directories and traditional paid advertising.
19. “Search advertising began in 1996 at a Canadian search engine called OpenText. Today, search advertising is dominated by Google and receives over $100BB of spend in the U.S. alone.” – Michael, Lead Developer
20. “Tracking—Ads track you across the internet. Search for a vacuum and you’ll be seeing vacuum ads on every website.” – Valette, Account Director
21. “Believe it or not, website development was not a part of our business at the beginning.” – Colin, Founder/Owner
22. “Content went from being developed 100% for humans, to being developed for Google crawls/SEO, back to being heavily evaluated for its ability to connect with users and drive engagement.” – Tory, Account Director
23. Recently, there has been a shift to incorporate remote working and conference calls, rather than frequent in-person presentations.
24. “Marketing that responds to events as they’re happening is just as important as a carefully planned campaign.” – Laura, Digital Production Artist https://webengage.com/blog/moment-marketing/
25. “D2C (direct-to-consumer) made possible by lower cost platforms/forms of advertising/marketing—democratizing advertising/marketing and e-commerce.” – Tory, Account Director
From VHS tapes to social media influencers, a lot has changed since 1996…and just think where advertising will be 25 years in the future! Take a look at our favorite 25 of ads of all time and you’ll get a glimpse of how ads have evolved. In the near future, we expect to see video continue to grow in popularity and a push to create more engaging and personalized experiences for consumers.