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Happy 20th Birthday to Display Advertising

Did you know that October 27th, 2014 is the 20th birthday of display advertising? It seems younger…doesn’t it? Many advertisers still treat display advertising as new media but it has a 20 year legacy and represents a $50B plus marketplace.

The first display ad was posted on, an industry site for technology something very different then the now popular site for booking travel. Back then you could not book travel online as everyone was using dial up (for those of you old enough…"you’ve got mail" style) and the population was still very small…think under 2 million people accessing the internet.

The initial advertisers were MCI, Volvo, Club Med, 1-800-Collect, AT&T and Zima. There was no Chrome or Internet Explorer as Mosaic was the browser of choice with simple graphic. When these pioneers of web advertisements launched the first ads experienced 78% CTRs as users were not use to seeing advertisements or having the ability to click on an ad via the internet.

I remember when I first started selling online advertisements for AOL/Time Warner in 2002. I was very excited about the opportunity for my local cable clients to get in front of advertisers via this media that was not cluttered and still fairly new. I had several advertisers that believed in my enthusiasm about this new world of advertising and jumped in excited to try something new, while others were resistant. Today, innovative advertisers jump in and try our new products, networks, and/or ad creative as we help businesses look into the future and see what it holds. I think about how much we can help our clients, sharing our enthusiasm for the future and making new ways to reach consumer more accessible. I know I have never been more excited to see what digital advertising has to offer. What will advertising be like in 2034? I am not sure, but I know I still want to be part of the marketplace!

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