If you are a marketer it should come as no shock that the world of online ads has had a lot of big transformations over the past few years. Let’s take a quick look at the history of display advertising. It all started in 1994 with HotWire. They were the first company to use an ad on their site. An ad they later coined as the “banner ad” that we all have come to expect on most websites.


AT&T was the first companies to utilize HotWire’s ad space. They purchased 3 months of space at $40,000 and received a 44% CTR on it. That number sounds like a dream today.

It wasn’t long before people understood the value of banner ads.

DoubleClick emerged giving order to the chaos. They created an advertising network that could track clicks and give advertisers a chance to optimize their online advertising to generate better ROI. The Dot Com Bubble was at it’s peak, everyone was creating a website, buying ad space and trying to profit. Then like most bubbles it burst.

Banner Ads no longer were as effective as they use to be, so pop-ups were created.

It wasn’t long before pop-up blockers were created. This created a bit of a problem for the online advertising industry what would come next?


You may have heard of a company called Google.

They quickly perfected the CPC model that is still used today known as Adsense/Adwords. They gave ads a ranking based on the CTR and would show the most relevant ad to the user. This worked wonders accounting for 90% of Google’s revenue that first year and continues to provide a huge chunk of Google’s revenue.

Then the internet transformed once again.

Social Media sites began popping up, first Linkedin, then Facebook, then Youtube, then Twitter. There have been other social media platforms that have popped up but those 4 are the pillars of social media.

These sites did not start advertising early on though. Facebook did not start advertising till a few years after it had achieved a massive a massive user base. Youtube was similar and once they rolled out their ad network they quickly dominated the video advertising field, offering commercial value advertising at a fraction of the cost. Twitter and Linkedin both created their own advertising networks to collect revenue from their user base.

Unfortunately, as the internet progresses advertising on these networks starts to die.

So what’s next? How do you stay ahead?

The answer is surprisingly simple. Let people advertise for you.

People don’t trust online advertisements, they trust people.

This next statement is taken directly from Nielson’s 2015 Trust in Advertising Report.

The most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. More than eight-in-10 global respondents (83%) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. But trust isn’t confined only to those in our inner circle. In fact, two-thirds (66%) say they trust consumer opinions posted online—the third-most-trusted format.

This is where a new way of marketing comes into play.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing is the act of having someone with influence over an audience review your product, post about it, give it away. An influencer tells their audience to trust your company and your product. This is where the marketing landscape is heading.

Influencer Marketing isn’t just for the big brands. It is a market that any small to medium size business can enter as well.

  • Bellabox recently stated how well influencer marketing worked for their business
  • HYPR recently announced how it could save companies millions on influencer marketing through it’s platform

Online advertising is constantly transforming, but it is only now that we are starting to move away from the spam and annoying pop-ups into more appealing forms.

This article was originally published on linkedin