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Evolution of Advertising


Who isn’t aware of it…It’s been on trend for decades and it will be in trend forever…

The evolution of advertising didn’t happen overnight. Over millennia, advertising has experienced several major milestones and it changed a lot over the past couple of decades. The advertising Industry faced major changes from traditional print to the Internet and is still adapting.

Advertising faced drastic changes from papyrus to walls and stone tablets, to billboards, newspapers, radio, television, and computers to cell phones. It is becoming much more personalized throughout history.

The below timeline shows how online advertising has completely revolutionized the practice in recent decades:

In 2000 BC:-

The first beginning of advertising by Egyptians. Egyptians did the earliest advertisement and they are invented outdoor advertising by using the carving public notes in steel. For the first time ‘papyrus’ was used by Egyptians only for advertising their goods and services. Then Romans used mosaics and artwork to promote their products. After that Athenians took advertising to a new level by hiring criers to stroll the street. Athenians can be credited as the inventors of advertising like what we know today.

In 1472:-

The first printed ad was published by an English merchant, diplomat, and writer, named William Caxton. He has printed the ads for a book and tacked them to church doors in England.

In the early days, print advertisements were used mainly to promote books, medicines, and newspapers after that it becomes gradually affordable with advances in the printing press.

In 1704:-


For the first time newspaper ad published in the U.S. by Boston News-Letter. It was a reward ad, offering a reward for 12 stolen horses. The Boston Newsletter told readers to place ads for real estate, ships, or goods for sale. After that newspaper places the first ad in America for a Long Island estate.

In 1835:-




The first billboard displayed ads published regards circus posters measuring over 50 sq. ft.

In 1892:-

After that “Sears” the first company focused more on personalization in advertising through direct mail. They launched a massive direct mail campaign in 1892 with 8000 postcards.

1901 to 1910 the Branding Boom:-

In the early days there were no brands, what advertisers were selling were just goods… Not names.

Branding started in the earliest form of paper communication when papyrus and parchment came into existence. It was easily accessible and could be transported without much effort.

The mass production of generic goods started to satisfy basic customer needs. So manufacturers started to focus their efforts on branding and packaging.

After the availability of remarketing, manufacturers gradually developed nationally known brand names that had a much stronger appeal than generic products.

Few Major Changes in 1900 to 1913:-

In 1900:- “North-western University” started advertising as a field of study.

In 1902:- Unilever appointed an agency to advertise Lifebuoy Soap.

In 1911:- Procter & Gamble pays JWT to launch a product for the first time.

In 1913:- Camel begins advertising for the first time while introducing packaged cigarettes.

In 1920 – Radio Appeared:-

After the age of where the newspaper was the main medium wherein producers could educate the general public about what they had to offer, came the age of radio, which made it possible to reach a much larger audience, and also got the message across much more quickly and efficiently.

Since radio was the first medium that speaking directly with people, so it felt more personalized. In 1922 Radio host H.M. Blackwell created his own “indirect direct” method of talking 10 minutes about the qualities of living a carefree life at the Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, Queens. And the cost for a 10-minute time slot was $50.

In 1930 personalization took another big turn when Rosser Reeves presented the ideology of a unique selling proposition. Meanwhile, a USP (aka unique value proposition) was describing how your business will solve a customer’s problem, but it should be very specific and highly personalized to differentiate your brand.

In 1935, George Gallup introduced market research which leads to gather information about consumers that better relate and advertise to them.

In 1941 – Television First Broadcast:-

The next major milestone in the evolution of advertising came on July 1, 1941. The first TV commercial for Bulova Clocks reaches 4000 TV sets (just a 10-second spot for a straightforward realistic and voiceover)

After that Companies began building characters around their products to build connections between viewers and brands. The main purpose of use characters in the ads is to sell the products

This was there until online advertising came into existence, after the existence of online advertising a few significant advantages in the evolution of advertising and personalization.

In 1970 – Telemarketing Began:-

Telemarketing started by housewives by calling people and trying to find cookie buyers. During this time, telemarketing was not used very much. After 1965 telemarketing started to recognize and people were started to get professional training regards telemarketing. In 1970 telemarketing started to recognize widely and also became very popular. Today telemarketing is a popular method to bring in sales.

In 1993 – Internet had 5 Million Users Worldwide:-


ARPANET is the world’s first operational network and the predecessor of the global internet. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPANET) was developed by the U.S department of defense.

Today worldwide people using the internet but at the time of 1995 people not aware of the internet. Internet users gradually increased by billions in 2005. The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014.

In 1994 – First Banner Ads Appear:-

The first evolution of display advertising began with the first banner ad from AT&T in 1994. Wired magazine’s (HotWired) introduced to the world enduringly ubiquitous banner ad. HotWired is a digital publication, and it wanted a way to generate revenue to pay its writers.

Wired publication set a plan to sell ad space to advertisers, they called the ad spaces “banner ads,” and charged advertisers an upfront cost to occupy. So AT&T paid HotWired $30,000 to place the banner ads on the site for 3 months. About they got 44% click-through-rate for the ad.

In 1995: Display Ads become Gradually Targeted:-

Banner ads were started to gain popularity and advertisers were showing interest in advertising their product or services by targeting specific consumer demographics, rather than just placing their ads wherever ad space was offered and hoping it will reach to right people. This led to the beginning of the targeted ad placement.

In 1996: ROI Tracking Tools Begin to Advance:-

Advertisers not able to see the progress of the ads were actually driving tangible results or not. So marketers needed a way to manage their display ad campaigns more efficiently across multiple websites and report on how users were interacting with their ads.

Advertisers not able to see the progress of the ads were actually driving tangible results or not. So marketers needed a way to manage their display ad campaigns more efficiently across multiple websites and report on how users were interacting with their ads.

The first company that developed an ROI tool is “DoubleClick” for a banner ad campaign.

In 1997: Pop-up Ads Came Into Existence:-

Pop-Up ads originated in it is the webpage hosting site. JavaScript had the capability for a web page to open another window. Ethan Zuckerman, create the code which enables pop-up ads to open up a new browser window. And he got some complaints from advertisers about their ads appearing on pages with sexual content. Later he apologized for the unexpected mistake pop-up ads had evolved into.

In 1999 to 2002: Advertisers Turn to Paid Search and Pay-Per-Click Ads:-

At this time, the web was expanding rapidly and users wanted a better way to navigate the terrain. Search engines gradually started gaining popularity, advertisers wanted to make ads more targeted and less turned to sponsored.

In 1999, — an evolving search engine company, later it is acquired by Yahoo — introduced the first pay-for-placement search engine service. Pay-for-placement eventually evolved into pay-per-click. Advertisers had the opportunity to bid for top search engine results on particular keywords.

Google introduced AdWords in 2000, under a pay-for-placement ad model. Google wanted to create a sponsored search experience that generates revenue without compromising the quality and relevancy of search results.

Previous paid search models like depend on bids from advertisers to determine search rankings, AdWords introduced a Quality Score model, which took into account an ad’s click-through rate when determining its placement on the (SERP) search engine results page.

In 2006: Digital Ads Become Hyper-Targeted:-

Social media platforms picked up steam in the middle of 2000. Advertisers wanted a way to integrate ad content in a way that was both effective and non-intrusive. Marketers needed a plan to reach young web users who by banner ads and spending more time on social media.

Before resisting ads on the site, Facebook started working with advertisers in 2006 as a way to increase the company’s profit. Facebook started with small display ads and sponsored links and ultimately affected ads targeted to a user’s demographics and interests. Even they faced some controversies along the way, but Facebook has proved itself to be a targeted ad pioneer, changing the way that companies reach their desired audiences online.

Facebook begins to create user-generated content, social media advertising, and targeting options which have also played a significant role in how digital advertiser reach prospects.

From 2010 Till Present: Marketers Find Value in Native Ads:-

In this time so many groups of media companies were emerging. Advertisers want to pay to produce articles, videos, and other content for news and media sites. Because the nature of the content itself is promotional.

Instead of depending on the ads, some companies started to do native advertising that allows marketers to create promotional content that attracts user’s online experience. The companies that generating revenue from display ads realize that they could create a better user experience by relying primarily on native ads rather than traditional display ads to generate more revenue.

The Future of Advertising:

This is a look back at the history of online advertising, but what about the future?

According to the research, 91% of respondents say ads are more intrusive today compared to before two to three years. The future of digital advertising stands on developing a targeted ad experience that offers consumers relevant content.

Dollarbird Technologies help you to how your company can keep its ad strategy relevant and we help you with any other activity which needs to grow your company ROI.

For more information contact us at

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