The Internet is celebrating its 50th birthday these days. Hard to believe, right? But not only the Internet has its birthday, but also an “invention”, which has contributed significantly to the commercialization of the Internet and is still used daily by all of us, is celebrating its birthday – namely the 25th! What are we talking about? From the banner ads! Twenty-five years ago, the first graphic ad of its kind went online and changed the web, as it was known until then.
Imagine putting a banner ad online and getting a 44 percent CTR. That would be equal to a jackpot, right? That’s exactly what was achieved with the first graphic ad that went online 25 years ago. It wasn’t very pretty, but apparently at that time, it asked on a black banner in rainbow colors: “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here?” An arrow then went to the answer “You will”. Today, a banner as basic as this one you wouldn’t expect much attention, but the telecommunications company AT & T had brought it at that time which turned out to be a big stone rolling. Incidentally, the banner ad was used on the online offshoot of the technology magazine Wired. Not only was it the first time there was an opportunity to display graphic ads, but also the term banner ad was coined there and advertisers even got the opportunity to get information about the number of clicks on their ad. For the time this was a huge leap towards the future.
Ads on websites became mainstream with banner ads. Initially, sales were targeted at print media. At the time, AT & T said it was paying US $ 30,000 for the three-month ad on their banner. Over time, however, it went to a more precise targeting out and that prevailed, as we know today. For example, Yahoo was a pioneer, starting in 1995 to offer keyword-based advertising. Netscape and Infoseek went one step further and introduced the CPM. Things got really interesting for all advertisers in 1996, when DoubleClick offered the ability to follow users’ movements across different websites and adapt their ads accordingly. Incidentally, that was already something the data protectors were not happy about back then.
Since then, the internet and of course online advertising has evolved. In the mid-’90s, there were still 300 million invested by companies in online advertising, it was already threefold at the turn of the millennium and today, companies worldwide invest more than $330 billion annually in online advertising. At the time these figures were unimaginable. Today we know that the development is far from over and we are sure to experience many innovations and the associated growth!