The evolution of digital media
24 October 2012
Digital Media has been around for a mere 15 years or so. In that time, we have seen many trends come and go and the medium has evolved quickly.
Initially, during the First Phase of digital media advertising, it was all about display. Nothing else was really possible. We had a new medium, and we used it in an old way; sites tended to be online replications of offline publications, and ads were the same; just like posters, only clickable.
Furthermore, whilst ‘the web’ was the newest, shiniest part of the internet, it was more often email that was genuinely changing people’s lives. Email was connecting people almost-instantaneously, at almost no-cost, and with a profound effect. To wit, by 2008, more emails had been sent in human history than letters phone calls and faxes combined. So email marketing was fairly huge and has, in fact, been a victim of its own success.
That simple search engine with the plain white page changed the game.
By mid-2009, $10.50 of every $16 spent on digital advertising went to Google. Search became the start of most people’s web experience, and was the primary activity engaged with online. Unsurprisingly, SEM was soon to follow.
From around 2001, every year was touted as ‘the year of the mobile’ and with the advent of the iPhone, the mc-ommerce age is certainly upon us.
Then we started to realise that with an interactive medium, the advertising could be interactive, engaging with audiences. Social has become enormous. You only have to look at the prices paid for Instagram and Yammer and the immense rise of sites like Pinterest and Viddy to see that it’s not going away.
Evolution is constant in ‘new media’; we are not tied to any one channel within the digital pantheon, and that will continue to be the case. It is difficult to know how technologies will continue to throw curve-balls to marketers and keep us on our toes.
As marketers, we must understand where our audiences are, why they are there, and what we can/should do in order to continue to keep our brands relevant. If we don’t evolve continuously, we will cease to be relevant; if we hadn’t started building an API years ago, we would be way off the game with Facebook now; if we hadn’t started to build our mobile proposition in 2009, we would be in the dark ages today, and, we won’t rest on our laurels. Facebook itself says that ‘the journey is only 1% complete’ - I think they are being optimistic.
Dave Katz, managing director, Ybrant Digital