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The Evolution of Advertising and the Impact on the Customer Journey

Digital advertising has gone through many evolutions since the earliest days of the first display banner ad in 1994 on Hotwired. Much of that evolution has been about the changes in the ability to target and optimize ads appearing in any channel.

If you think about what we now refer to as traditional advertising like television or print, the ability to target a message and optimize performance has not changed much over last 50 years—let alone in the last 20 years of internet ads. Of course there have been technological advances in these areas and advances in buying execution, but if I was a retail brand wanting to place an ad for a new shoe in the New York Times newspaper in 1970, my level of understanding hasn’t fundamentally changed in relation to:

  • How many ads get placed?
  • How many people see those ads?
  • How many people take action as a result of those ads?
  • What is the optimal price I should pay for that ad?
  • What action should I take to ensure that the next ad is more effective?

In the internet era, every one of those questions has fundamentally changed and truth be told, it will likely transform again five and ten years from today. Today, a well-planned digital campaign with sophisticated technology can ensure the right ad message is shown to the right audience, at the right moment, for the right price,  and on the most appropriate device—achieving maximum ROI.

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