Where were you when the web’s first banner ad went live?
Here’s a little history on the world’s first banner ad, and how digital advertising all got started.
It was October 27, 1994, and Wired Magazine’s digital affiliate, HotWired, launched what is now known as the world’s first banner ad. Since then, everything has changed. These little banner ads changed the face of digital marketing, and what was to become e-Commerce… forever.
Banner Ad: Friend or Foe?
You may find yourself annoyed by online advertising, but business models around most websites still revolve around the almighty ad. This year alone, advertisers will spend over $16 billion on banner ads in the United States, and this trend doesn’t seem to be decreasing any time soon.
Why Banner Ads?
So why did banner ads come to fruition in the first place? In short, to pay for things. Banner ads were a new way to charge advertising fees that might traditionally exist in print or on television. Those same companies that were paying for full page ads in magazines went to paying for online ads, and in the beginning, no one was really even sure it would work out.
But it did. And online advertising has grown to a multi-billion-dollar industry that is hard to imagine life without. The first web advertisers made things up as they went, flying by the seat of their pants. Trial by fire. Fake it till you make it. Now it is an entire business within itself, powered by analytics and technology platforms that are increasingly sophisticated.
Sink or Swim
Back then, there were no metrics. No conversion rate tracking. No web analytics. No A/B testing. All they had were 476 x 56 pixel banner ads to tell the world about something. How did they know it was working? Advertisers ultimately took a big guess (and a huge risk), and learned on the fly how to fine tune digital advertising into what it is today.
What do you think about the evolution of banner ads? Tell us! We’d love to hear your thoughts.