History of Advertising: How Did Advertising Create Markets?

Brock Munro
January 9, 2023
March 20, 2024
History of Advertising: How Did Advertising Create Markets?

Advertising is as old as commerce itself. Ancient Egyptians were known to use papyrus to create posters advertising everything from political campaigns to lost and found articles, much like we do today.

In fact, the earliest surviving specimen of a print ad is a bronze plate from 10th century China, advertising the services of a certain Mister Jinan Liu, maker of the finest needles “ready for use in no time”.

There have been a few major upheavals along the way, from the invention of the printing press and radio to the television and finally the internet.

We no longer have to stick yellowing bills in the town square to potentially wait months for the right patrons to walk or ride past and read them. Instead, we’ve developed sophisticated programmatic technology that powers the real-time exchange of thousands of advertising bids between multiple parties executed within milliseconds.

This is the story of the history of advertising from the ancient Egyptian papyrus to the modern programmatic ad exchange.

Table of contents:

The Beginning of Advertising

The Golden Age of Advertising

Online Advertising

Mobile Advertising

The Many Types of Digital Ads

Ad Delivery Models

The Cultural Impact of Advertising

Positive Effects of Advertising

What the Future Holds

Final Thoughts

History of Advertising—FAQs

The Beginning of Advertising (1600s - 1900)

As with most remarkable things in the modern world, the beginning of modern advertising can be traced back to Renaissance Italy, and more specifically, the economic engine that powered the Renaissance—Venetian trade guilds. 

The first modern commercial ads appeared in news sheets published by Venetian traders, sandwiched between gossip, trivia, tips on identifying witches (and how to burn them), and fantastical accounts of magical lands located far and away being discovered every day by European explorers. Since each such news sheet cost a gazetta—a Venetian coin in circulation at that time—they came to be known popularly as gazettes.

The word soon caught on and, in no time, y of the modern business organization.

Some of the most iconic advertising catchphrases, which resonate even to this day, were coined during the heyday of the modern advertising agency in the early 20th century. 

For instance, in 1908, Thomas J. Barratt, an ad man working for the Pears soap company crafted the deceptively simple, yet effective catchphrase, “Good morning! Have you used Pears soap today”, that lived on well into the 20th century. gazettes were being published everywhere from Oxford to Odessa. Merchants and traders paid to have their ads printed in these gazettes, which in turn allowed the publications to enjoy an additional source of revenue apart from subscriptions and donations from patrons.

The modern publishing industry, as we know it today, was well on its way. 

As advertising became big business, ad agencies began to pop up in all major centers of global commerce, and the ad man became a key figure in the hierarch

Barratt is also credited with decoupling ads from their origins in gossip gazettes and elevating them to an art form, quite literally. Still working for the Pears soap company, Barratt used a painting by the famous English painter Sir John Everett Millais entitled Bubbles as the backdrop for Pears soap in posters and newspapers. While the painter himself was quite embarrassed with his art being used so directly, there was little he could do as Barratt had purchased the painting’s copyright. 

In another famous example from 1938, Harry Oppenheimer of the De Beers diamond company consulted American ad agency N.W. Ayers and Sons on how to boost tepid diamond sales. The prices of diamonds had been in steady decline for some time as most people had no use for them. The concept of exchanging diamond rings as part of wedding ceremonies was virtually unknown then.

Ayer suggested a radical break in the way the public thought of diamonds. Instead of just being fancy rocks, Ayer proposed forging an emotional bond between diamonds and the concept of eternal, undying love that would tug at the heartstrings of men and women alike.

The result was the famous slogan that revived the fortunes of De Beers and the diamond industry alike—a diamond is forever. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The Golden Age of Advertising (1900 - 2000)

Advertising pioneers such as N.W. Ayer had demonstrated to the world how powerful advertising could be. This kicked off what came to be known as the golden age of advertising in which ads found their way to consumers not only through newspapers and magazines, but also over the radio, which was now increasingly becoming a part of peoples’ lives.

Some of the greatest names in advertising such as David Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Albert Lasker, and Helmut Krone, were at their creative peak at this time, creating ads that are to this day taught to students of marketing as masterpieces in advertising.

In 1908, orange growers from California approached Albert Lasker when they were faced with a glut in orange production with little demand from consumers. Lasker created his famous “drink an orange” campaign that kicked off America’s obsession with orange juice for breakfast. Albert Lasker was also the man responsible for bringing cereal to American breakfast tables, when he conceptualized the “food shot from the gun” slogan for the Quaker cereal company, causing a 300% increase in Quaker cereal sales. 

Advertising was now truly creating new markets, and it had only just begun flexing its muscle.

In 1954, representatives from the tobacco industry approached Leo Burnett with a peculiar problem. While cigarette sales were good, the sales of filtered cigarettes remained low as these were considered feminine. Burnett responded with his signature Marlboro Man campaign that featured rugged cowboys smoking Marlboros, welding masculinity and Marlboros together for many years to come.

In 1959, David Ogilvy unleashed his iconic tagline for Rolls Royce—”At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new Rolls Royce comes from the electric clock”.

That same year, Helmut Krone and Julian Koenig launched the famous “Think Small” ad campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle. The campaign is considered one of the greatest ads of all time because it successfully overcame two seemingly insurmountable challenges of the time—selling a small car to an America obsessed with big, muscular machines, and convincing Americans to buy a German product barely a decade and a half after the end of the Second World War. 

The ad, in its original format, was devised for print as newspaper advertising, and featured a small black Beetle inset deep into a corner of a large white sheet of newspaper. The effect was the presentation of a stark contrast that focused the viewer’s singular attention on the car, gripping their imaginations, and branding the image indelibly onto their consciousness.

With the arrival of the television, ads were now broadcast over television as well, marking a paradigmatic shift from oral and print narratives to visually rich, cinema-like narratives. This also necessitated higher advertising budgets and more advanced technical capabilities than were hitherto needed. At the same time, radio advertising began to fade away as television commercials came to dominate advertising revenues.

This was also the age when some of the best known advertising agencies of today were born and flourished. Leo Burnett, McCann Erikson, Ogilvy and Mather, Dentsu—all blue-blooded royals of modern advertising—proved their mettle in this golden age.

The golden age of advertising continued well into the ‘80s, with Joe Sedelmaier creating Wendy’s famous “Got Beef” campaign in 1984, and Dan Wieden creating Nike’s famous tagline “Just Do It” in 1988 to name a few, which have gone down in the annals of advertising history as landmarks.

With the arrival of the internet in the 2000s, things began to change drastically for advertising. Television advertising, which had dominated the ad industry for nearly half a century, suddenly found itself challenged. While few could have predicted in 2000 the breakneck speed with which the next set of revolutionary changes would sweep the advertising industry. The wheels of advertising history were beginning to churn once again.

Online Advertising (2000 - present)

Online advertising began with the birth of the internet itself. Commercial messages were created and disseminated in the early days of the ARPANET and Usenet along with emails. However, the first clickable display and banner ads only began to appear in the 1990s. With the increasing proliferation of web pages, content creators sought ways of monetizing their content, and this paved the way for the earliest online ad exchanges.

Responding to the needs of online publishers, Google launched AdWords in 2000. Within a month of its launch, the AdWords program had seen, according to one report, “widespread adoption by over 350 businesses”. Another user described the AdWords program as “one of the best kept secrets on the web”. 

More than two decades later, Google now runs the largest ad network on the web, accruing more than $150 billion in annual revenue and commanding over 29% of global digital ad spend.

The first decade of the 21st century also saw the arrival of the earliest social networking sites. Myspace, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, Orkut, and Hi5, all launched within five years of one another. While several of these died out with time, the ones that survived lived to reap big rewards as both internet and internet-enabled devices became cheaper and more accessible, bringing an ever larger proportion of the global population online.

This, in turn, led to the massive growth of social media’s ad business. Facebook Ads continues to remain the second largest player in the digital ads segment after Google, commanding a 23.6% share of global digital ad revenue.

Mobile Advertising (2003 - present)

The earliest form of mobile advertising was via the short messaging service (SMS) to deliver commercial ads through text messages. As mobile phones became more complex and capable of handling richer content formats, such as images and videos, mobile advertising evolved in response to deliver more interactive and visually compelling ads.

The first major development in the field of mobile advertising was the founding of adtech firm AdMob in 2006. AdMob offered advertising services geared specifically to mobile phones. Recognizing its value, Google acquired it in 2009.

The second decade of the 21st century saw increased smartphone penetration and faster, cheaper mobile internet, meaning more people were now accessing the internet on the go. This meant that more and more content was being created for a mobile-first audience. Advertising dollars followed suit. 

In 2014, Facebook announced that its mobile ad revenue had, for the first time, exceeded ad revenue from desktop users, accounting for more than 53% of its total ad revenue for Q4 2013. This led many industry observers to term Facebook a “mobile ad company.” 

By 2016, Google also recognized that mobile devices were now most people’s preferred means of accessing the internet, and in response announced its mobile-first indexing policy under which it would prefer indexing the mobile versions of web pages over the desktop versions.

Mobile advertising is an umbrella term that describes ads delivered on a mobile device such as smartphone, tablet, or phablet. Mobile advertising is most commonly displayed in two ways:

  1. In app advertising
  2. Mobile web ads

In-app advertising is shown within applications, such as games or news apps. These ads are usually displayed between levels or during breaks in gameplay.

In-app purchases are actions that users can complete within an app in order to gain access to premium features or additional content. For example, users might purchase tokens for a game or pay for extra turns in a trivia game with real money. 

Even a cursory look at in-app advertising statistics tells us that such ads are highly efficient at driving revenue. For instance, in-app ads can increase retention rate by up to four times, and have click through rates of up to 0.56%, compared to 0.23% for mobile web ads.

Mobile web ads are delivered through websites accessed on a smartphone or tablet browser. These ads can appear anywhere on the page and may include text links, video or image banners and interstitials—a full-page ad that appears before the user can see content.

The Many Types of Digital Ads

Online ads today most commonly fall into one of the following three categories:

  1. Display Ads
  2. Pop-Ups or Pop-Unders
  3. Floating Ads
  4. Expanding Ads
  5. News Feed Ads

Display Ads

Display ads are a type of ad that appears in the top or bottom of your browser window. They can also be interspersed within other content on web pages, such as at the top of the page or below an article.

Display ads can be static, animated, or interactive. Static display ads are just still images, and animated display ads move or change over time. Interactive display ads allow users to click on an image or icon to take them to a specific page on the advertiser's website.

Display advertising is one of the most popular forms of online advertising because it is so versatile. The texts and images used in display ads can be tailored to any audience and can be targeted based on demographics, geography, interest areas and more. 

Unlike search ads, display ads don’t rely on keywords to link your ad with a customer’s search query. Instead, they are shown based on who is viewing them and what they’re interested in at that moment. That makes them a great option for reaching people who may not be actively looking for products or services—and for building brand awareness among people who might not even know about you yet.

One of the most popular forms of display ads is the humble banner ad.

Banner Ads

Banner ads are rectangular images that are placed on a site and are usually displayed in a group next to each other. When someone clicks on a banner ad, they’ll be taken to the advertiser's website.

Banner ads can be static or animated and can include text, graphics, audio, video and Flash animation. They're often used for branding purposes or for direct response campaigns (i.e., getting people to visit your website). A call-to-action button may be included so that users can click on it and take action immediately.

Banner ads are displayed on top of all other content on a page in order to capture attention. They can appear as standalone units or grouped together in clusters, called "banner rotators". If you have an existing website with lots of traffic and you're looking for ways to monetize it, banner advertising may be right for your business.Banner ads generally pay more than other types of online advertising and offer better targeting capabilities because they're often placed near relevant content on websites that attract specific types of users.

Banner ads can be static or rich media. Rich media banners are animated images that change with mouse-over. The banner's size is usually between 468x60 pixels and 728x90 pixels, although some sites use 300x250 pixel banners.

Banner ads can also come in the form of a trick banner. A trick banner is a type of ad that tricks the user into clicking on it. It usually does this by making it appear as though the ad is something else, like a button or link that says “don’t click here”.

A trick banner ad is usually used in conjunction with other ad types. It’s often paired with a clickbait or bait-and-switch ad, which tricks the user into clicking on an ad that promises one thing but delivers something else entirely.

Although they typically deliver higher-than-average clickthrough rates (CTRs), users may come to resent the advertiser for tricking them, resulting in little to no brand loyalty and trust.

Pop-Ups or Pop-Unders

A pop-up ad is an ad that opens in a new browser window and remains open beneath the active window. The user must either wait for the ad to timeout or manually close it. Pop-up ads are usually created with JavaScript code and are often triggered by the page loading process.

Pop-under ads are similar to pop-ups but are displayed behind the active browser window as opposed to in front. A pop-under ad opens in its own window only when another browser window is completely closed by the user. This type of ad makes it harder for users to accidentally click on it because they must first close another window before clicking on an ad.

In some cases, this means that you may not even realize you've been shown an ad until you go back to your homepage later on in your browsing session (if it's still open).

Pop-under ads differ from pop-ups because they don't block out your current window while they're being displayed—instead, they wait until you've left the site before appearing in their own window. This makes them much less invasive than traditional pop-ups because they don't force themselves into view during your browsing session, though they can still be annoying.

Pop-ups and pop-unders were popular in the early days of online advertising, but are now losing their sheen as Google prioritizes a non-disruptive browsing experience for its users.

Floating Ads

Floating ads are a type of in-feed ad that appears between other posts in the feed and over the content within a single post. This allows brands to get their message in front of consumers as they scroll through their feed, making it easier for them to be engaged by the brand and ultimately convert into a lead or sale.

Floating ads are most commonly used on content-rich sites such as news sites, blogs, and social media platforms. They may also be seen on sites that offer video content or other rich media content.

Expanding Ads

Expanding ads the ad content to cover the entire ad space in response to a predefined user action such as a click, rolling over, or even spending a fixed amount of time on the page. Expanding ads are a creative way of increasing both click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates.

News Feed Ads

News feed ads appear in the news feed—such as a user’s Facebook feed—on both desktop and mobile.They’re designed to be more engaging than traditional ads because they include pictures, videos, and other interactive content. For this reason, they’re one of the most relied upon advertising techniques in social media advertising.

News feed ads are designed to be flexible and adaptable to different screen sizes, so they can reach people across the social media ecosystem—from desktop computers and smartphones to tablet devices. 

For instance, most social media portals such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. double up as eCommerce ads platforms when they display ads for eCommerce brands within their users' news feeds. Since these ads aren’t easily distinguishable from the other content in the user’s news feed, they offer a native and less disruptive way for advertisers to market their products and services.

Ad Delivery Models

No matter what the type of online ad, it is delivered to consumers using one of the following ad delivery strategies.

Programmatic Ads

Programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of media inventory, typically in real time. It uses a wide range of technologies, including real-time bidding (RTB), which allows advertisers to put a bid on an ad space before it has even been posted online.

Programmatic advertising is used for online display media, mobile, video, audio, and social ads.

The concept of programmatic advertising was made mainstream by Microsoft's Atlas ad server in 2001, allowing advertisers to bid for specific keywords and displaying ads based on those keywords. Seeing its advertising potential, Facebook acquired Atlas from Microsoft in 2013. 

A major benefit of programmatic advertising is that it enables advertisers to purchase impressions at scale across multiple websites. Previously, they would have had to place separate bids for every individual website they wished to advertise on.

In 2012, Google entered the market with DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), which became one of the largest players in programmatic advertising by offering marketers an easy way to buy across multiple exchanges, while also providing detailed performance reports back to them.

Programmatic platforms also allow advertisers to bid on specific audiences, such as people who live in a specific location, websites, or content types. The platform then places the ad in front of the right audience at the right time. For example, an advertiser who wants to reach soccer fans might bid on soccer-related keywords or websites where soccer news appears frequently.

Programmatic platforms can be classified as being of two types:

  1. Demand Side Platform (DSP)
  2. Supply Side Platform (SSP)

Advertisers use DSPs to buy ad space from publishers via RTB. Advertisers create a list of their desired impressions from publishers' inventory; then DSPs compete with each other to secure those impressions at the lowest price possible for their clients. This process allows for more efficient use of available ad inventory than traditional methods such as direct sales or offline media trading desks.

Supply side platforms (SSPs) provide publishers with tools to sell their inventory directly through RTB auctions to a variety of demand sources including DSPs, ad exchanges and remnant ad networks.

One drawback of programmatic advertising is that hitherto, it has relied too heavily on user-level data such as geographical location and browsing preferences delivered through third-party cookies. These cookies allow advertisers to engage in behavioral targeting, which is to say, serve ads to consumers based on their customer journey across different platforms and websites. 

With increasingly stringent privacy laws, Google’s third-party cookie deprecation, and Apple’s app tracking transparency measures, it is becoming increasingly difficult to rely on such user-level data to engage in behavioral targeting.

Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the practice of improving your website's ranking in search engines via organic or paid search results.

Search engine marketing grew quickly in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as new-generation content management systems like Blogger, Wordpress, and Movable Type made it easy for individuals to set up websites with their own domain names and hosting services.

While these blogs garnered decent traffic, converting this traffic to revenue was a different ball game. For one, the banner ads displayed were bare basic in their design and layout. Moreover, they were often unrelated to the content on the page, and the context of the user’s search. Publishers began to realize that to increase revenue, they needed to focus not only on increasing traffic, but on increasing relevant, targeted traffic that would be more interested in the ads placed on their blogs. At the same time, the ads themselves needed to be more engaging and interactive.

This led to the rapid development of SEM, with the first AdSense website launched by Google in 2003.Google AdSense was Google’s advertising solution meant specifically for publishers, rather than advertisers that allowed publishers to place richer, more interactive ads that aligned more closely with the content on their page, as well as with the search intent of their users. 

So if a user has arrived at a plumbing blog after searching for the best plumbing services in London, Google AdSense would show them related ads, such as ads about plumbing services or plumbing hardware.

SEM includes two main strategies:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): This is a set of techniques used to improve your site's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) through such aspects as quality backlinks, creating content relevant to the user's search query, and much more.
  • Paid search ads: This involves placing ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines that show up at the top or right side of your screen when you perform a search. Advertisers only pay for a click on the ad, not for the ad position itself. There are many different types of paid search, including: Cost-per-click (CPC) ads where you pay each time someone clicks your ad, and cost-per-1,000 impressions (CPM) ads where you pay based on the number of times your ad is shown to users. Keywords come associated with bid prices that determine how much you'll be charged for each click related to that keyword.

The Cultural Impact of Advertising

Academics and advertisers have discussed the cultural impact of advertising for decades. One famous conceptualization of the impact of advertising on society is the “McDonaldization of society”. Sociologist George Ritzer coined the term in 1993 to describe how modern-day society has become more like a fast food restaurant.

The idea behind this theory is that people are increasingly dependent on mass produced goods and services, as well as being increasingly homogenized by their consumption habits. The result is a society where people are becoming more alike, rather than differentiating themselves through their choices and actions.

So, what does all this have to do with advertising? Well, it turns out that the rise of consumerism and its effects on society were largely driven by advertising campaigns aimed at consumers—from early examples like Coca-Cola's famous "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" jingle to modern day campaigns such as Apple's “Think Different”.

Advertising and mass media affect the way youth view themselves and others. When young people see ads that feature models who are thinner than they are, they may feel insecure about their own bodies.

This is especially true when the models' bodies have been digitally altered to make them look even more perfect than they really are. This can cause young people to develop eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, because they may feel like they need to be skinny in order to fit society's definition of beauty.

In an increasingly connected world where people spend increasingly large amounts of their time online, exposure to digital advertising is far greater than it was in the era of radio ads and television commercials. This, of course, does not mean that mass media will always have a negative impact on society and culture. The advertising message can, and has been, equally a force of good and a medium for positive change in the world.

Great advertising, when done well, assumes the status of an art form that spawns even more cultural production. For instance, N.W. Ayer and Sons’ famous “a diamond is forever” campaign for De Beers became so etched in cultural memory that it spawned an Ian Fleming novel titled Diamonds Are Forever in 1956, a James Bond film of the same name starring Sean Connery, and an eponymous song by Shirley Bassey. Such is the cultural impact of advertising.

Positive Effects of Advertising

Marketers are all too familiar with the fact that advertising works. We know that it can be used to create brand loyalty and drive sales. But what if we were to use it for something more than just selling products and services? What if we could use advertising to help people break out of their bubbles? What if we could use it to build empathy?

This is the idea behind what is known as progressive advertising. It's a way of using marketing and its tools—such as social media, influencer marketing, content marketing, etc—to further causes that matter. 

The idea that advertising can build empathy, rather than just sell products, is not a new one. In fact, there are many examples of successful campaigns that have done just that. For example, consider the famous "It’s Time" campaign from the 1972 elections by former Australian Prime Minister Gough Williams.

The campaign, conceived in collaboration with McCann Erikson, was designed to help people understand how their lives were impacted by government policies and decisions—and it worked. The campaign was so successful that Williams led the Australian Labor Party to power after 23 years of conservative rule.

In the 21st century, another example of advertising as empathy building is the Dove Real Beauty Campaign. The Dove campaign has been running since 2004 and features women of different ages, shapes and sizes to promote empowerment rather than objectification. 

The same principles can be applied to modern-day marketing campaigns. If your goal is to help people understand how their lives are impacted by your product or service—rather than simply sell things—then you'll need to think about how you can use storytelling techniques, such as humor and empathy, to do that.

What the Future Holds

We’ve covered the journey of advertising from ancient Egypt to the modern programmatic ad exchange. We’ve seen how radio and print advertising gave way to television commercials, which in turn bowed to digital advertising. Some advertising techniques, such as billboard advertising, continue to thrive today, just as they did in ancient Egypt.

However, it’s now time to have a quick look at what the future holds. So, let’s briefly discuss the five main trends that are likely to drive advertising in the near future.

Dominance of Online Advertising

In 2017, Adidas announced that it was pulling the plug on its TV ad spending as it believed that the bulk of future revenue growth was to be derived from advertising on online channels.This is a shift in advertising spending that is likely to be echoed by brands across the board. 

This is a technological shift that is symptomatic of the inevitable march of technology. In the 10th century, we saw that ads were carved out on metal plates. At the dawn of the 20th century advertising moved from being solely print-based to radio and television-based. So, it will be that in the 21st century the online medium will dominate.

Stricter Data Privacy 

The explosion of smartphones and social media apps has also led to a rapid increase in the amount of data we create. All this data has, over the last two decades, acted as fuel to drive marketing initiatives of businesses large and small. However, the good times for data-driven marketing are likely to experience a slow down, if not a complete halt given the surmounting concerns around user data privacy. 

A series of regulations starting with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the proposed American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) all seek to restrict the amount and type of user data advertisers can collect, and the uses they can put it to.

Since programmatic ads largely depend on user-level data to create customer journeys and serve up relevant ads, marketers will have to innovate to stay relevant in a cookieless, more private world.

AI’s Role Will Expand

Advertisers are already using artificial intelligence (AI) to personalize ads, improve search results, and recommend content. Advertisers can use AI to target consumers based on their past behavior and interests, which makes it possible to deliver the right message at the right time.

As an example, if you've previously searched for a specific type of car and then visited a car dealership's website, an advertiser could display an ad for that same car on your Facebook page. This is the current state of AI-driven marketing.

In the future, AI could integrate with technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), the metaverse, and 5G to unleash new possibilities. Brands could present their ads in virtual or augmented reality environments with the help of AI-powered smart assistants, to be viewed by consumers on any device in their home, such as the display panel of their microwave.

The future of AI in advertising is bright and exciting—but it's also changing fast as new technologies emerge and as consumers become more aware of how their data is being used.

Context Will Continue to Remain King

Contextual advertising involves advertisers paying for ads to appear on sites that are relevant to their products or services. For example, if you're a plumber, you could pay for your ad to appear when on a site dedicated to DIY.

Contextual advertising typically works by matching the content on a web page with an advertiser's keywords. When someone searches Google or Yahoo! and clicks on an ad, they'll often see contextually relevant ads alongside the search results. Most people find new sites through search engines and social media.

With Google announcing the end of third-party cookies, marketers will continue to rely more on contextual and native advertising, as they will no longer have access to data about a customer’s journey outside of the site they are currently visiting. This means advertisers will be forced to focus on parameters within their control to serve the most relevant ads. Thus contextual targeting, rather than behavioral targeting will be the way forward.

Emergence of the Marketing Cloud

The marketing cloud is a suite of integrated software, services, and applications that help marketers plan, execute, measure, and optimize their digital marketing campaigns. The term was coined by Salesforce in 2013 to describe its own digital marketing platform (then known as "Marketing Cloud"), which included solutions like social media listening and analytics, email marketing automation, display advertising, search advertising, and mobile advertising.

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud has since grown to include dozens of third-party integrations with other platforms that had previously been considered part of a separate "marketing stack", including data management platforms (DMPs), DSPs, ad servers, data warehouses and RTB systems.

The proliferation of such platforms has led to what some call an "orchestration problem" for marketers: how do you manage all these disparate tools so they work together towards a common goal? This is where the concept of a "marketing cloud" comes in handy. It provides one place to manage all your tools seamlessly so you don't have to worry about them individually. The result is the ability to execute complete advertising campaigns from the cloud and automatically, resulting in immense cost and time savings.

Final Thoughts

Advertising is the art of persuading people to buy or use something. While it’s come a long way since its origins on Egyptian papyrus, its essence hasn’t changed. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

While trends in technology such as big data, AI, and marketing clouds shall come and go, advertising is, at the end of the day, nothing but “salesmanship in print”, to borrow John E. Kennedy’s famous words from 1904.

Of course, what we think of print has changed—from the news sheet to the mobile screen, and it shall continue to evolve in the future. Thus, while the medium may change, the message remains constant.

Publift helps digital publishers get the most out of the ads on their websites. Publift has helped its clients realize an average 55% uplift in ad revenue since 2015, through the use of cutting-edge programmatic advertising technology paired with impartial and ethical guidance.

If you’re making more than $2,000 in monthly ad revenue, contact us today to learn more about how Publift can help increase your ad revenue and best optimize the ad space available on your website or app.

History of Advertising—FAQs

Who Started Advertising?

Advertising started with the advent of commerce itself. 

When Was History’s First Ad?

The oldest ads in history we know about date from ancient Egypt where papyrus was used to create posters. The oldest surviving ad in existence is a bronze plate used for printing posters from 10th century China. The content on the plate advertises the services of a certain Jinan Liu and his needle shop that purchased high-quality steel rods and manufactured fine needles from them.

Who Is the Father of Modern Advertising?

Three iconic ad men are usually credited with being the father of advertising—Thomas J. Barratt (1841-1914) who created ads for the Pear Soap company, Albert Lasker (1880-1952), best known for advertising orange juice and cereal as healthy breakfast for Americans, and David Ogilvy (1911-1999), best known for his work with Rolls Royce, Dove soap and Hathway shirts.

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