Throwback Thursday: Evolution of Display Ads

Posted by IAB Australia On June 25, 2014

Digital aficianado and Domain Group Product Director, Damon Pezaro, takes on our digital past with a regular Throwback Thursday column – today, he brings us the evolution of display ads.

We had names like Michael Jackson, Celine Deon and Seal topping the music charts. It was the year where Braveheart captured the world’s cinema audience and Justin Bieber was really a 1 year old (as opposed to acting like one these days). Yes, 1995 seems a long way off in the past. But it was a milestone year in that it was the year that the Internet really entered public consciousness.

In 1995, we saw AOL offering access to the internet and the first web browsers enter the market, allowing general access to grow significantly. This helped see Yahoo transform itself from being a simple web directory into an online commercial superstar and start to push the envelope in terms of ad targeting and opportunities.

It is rather amazing to think that by the end of 1995 there were roughly just over 20 million Internet users in the US. At that time though, this was a huge opportunity and the first million dollar contracts were being signed for online advertising opportunities.

Things took a material shift though when in 1996 Double-Click emerged. A name that so many of us are now familiar with; paved the way for what online advertising has become. With DoubleClick’s creation, order was brought to what was a somewhat chaotic ecosystem. Advertisers could now start tracking consumer behaviour and banner ads but also really helped forge the ability to track that always-elusive ROI.

The start of online advertising gave rise to a significant increase in the number of websites available as there was now a way for site owners to enjoy some commercial benefit through ad revenue. This continued to give rise to the very first digital agencies that focused efforts in working out ways of improving the ability to track performance of these new and shiny digital ad units.

Things we take for granted today, such as the incredible technologies that power the tracking and performance of digital ads to the emergence in recent years of programmatic trading; these very things were forged almost 20 years ago by a number of digital pioneers.

And whilst we have truly progressed in the ad units we provide today and we talk about integrated and native advertising, lets not forget that not too long ago, thanks to a little java-script tweaking, we used to think that pop-ups and pop-unders (cringe!) were ground breaking ad units. We’ve come a long way since those days thankfully.

IAB Australia

IAB Australia is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally and with a rapidly growing membership, the role of the IAB is to support sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising across all platforms in Australia.