How advertising has evolved over the years

Exploring how advertising has changed from its early days to the digital age.

To mark Advertising Day this week, we want to share the fascinating journey that advertising has taken over the years, transforming significantly from its humble beginnings to today’s complex digital landscape. This historical journey reveals not only the adaptability of advertising, but also its ability to reflect and shape the society in which it exists. We will explore the major milestones, strategic shifts and powerful technological influences that have shaped the way brands connect with their audiences.

In its earliest days, advertising manifested itself through print ads and billboards. From pioneering advertisements for products such as medicines to posters for events and shows, advertising was largely confined to the local level. The advent of the printing press in the 15th century marked a crucial milestone by enabling faster and more mass production of advertisements.

The advent of radio and television took advertising to a new level by going directly into the home. Iconic brands began to use catchy jingles and visual commercials to captivate audiences. This period from 1920 to 1950 also saw the emergence of specialised advertising agencies, cementing advertising as a distinctive industry.

With the emergence of the digital age in 1990, advertising underwent an unprecedented transformation. The expansion of the Internet allowed brands to reach global audiences in a way that was previously unimaginable. Banner ads, pop-ups and early attempts at search engine advertising began to proliferate. The creation of Google AdWords in 2000 marked a turning point by introducing keyword-based advertising.

With the advent of social media, advertising found a new home. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter became essential spaces for brand promotion. Content marketing also emerged as a key strategy, focusing on creating relevant and valuable content to engage consumers.

Programmatic advertising has revolutionised the way advertising space is bought and sold. Intelligent algorithms enable real-time buying, optimising the effectiveness of campaigns. In addition, personalisation has become essential, with ads tailored to individual user preferences.

Emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are shaping the advertising of the future. Interactive AR campaigns and AI systems that analyse data to adapt advertising strategies are clear examples of how technology is taking the connection between brands and audiences to unprecedented levels.

The evolution of advertising is a testament to the dynamism of society and technology. From simple print ads to interactive and personalised advertising experiences, advertising continues its journey, adapting and redefining itself every era. The key to success today lies in understanding and leveraging the latest technologies, ensuring that brands continue to effectively connect with their audience on this fascinating evolutionary journey.