blog 5

Key moments in digital advertising and what they mean for the future

Digital advertising has come a long way since its inception, continuously evolving and shaping the way businesses connect with consumers. 

Understanding the key moments in the industry's history not only offers valuable insights but also helps us anticipate future trends...

In this blog, we'll explore three pivotal moments in digital advertising and their lasting impact on the industry. We'll delve into the story behind the first banner ad, uncover the game-changing nature of programmatic advertising, and discuss the meteoric rise of social media and influencer marketing.

Let’s start at the beginning of digital advertising with the first banner ad,


Back in 1994, the world of digital advertising was just taking its first steps when AT&T created the first-ever banner ad, served as part of AT&T's "You Will" campaign on HotWired (now known as WIRED - The Latest in Technology, Science, Culture and Business). This simple, pixelated ad shown below, boasted an impressive click-through rate of 44% and shocked both customers and advertisers alike.

This ad didn’t just create positive conversations but over the coming months, it sparked a major debate on the privacy of digital advertising - one that is still very prevalent today, especially as new technologies like blockchain emerge.

Little did anyone know that this humble banner ad would become the precursor to modern display advertising.

Although simple by today's standards, This groundbreaking ad not only introduced the concept of online display advertising but also marked a significant turning point in advertising history, as businesses began to recognise the potential of the internet as a platform to reach their target audience.

The success of the first banner ad set the stage for countless innovations in digital advertising, with marketers continually finding new ways to capture users' attention and make a lasting impression.

As the internet grew and evolved, so too did banner ads. They became more sophisticated and interactive, incorporating rich media, animations, and even video. Today, display advertising remains a vital component of digital marketing strategies, demonstrating the lasting impact of that very first banner ad in 1994. 

You have probably seen thousands of banner ads in your life, but have you ever wondered how these ads show up on your screen? Well, enter the first programmatic ad exchange:


Let’s fast forward to 2007, when Yahoo introduced the world to the first programmatic ad platform: Right Media Exchange, forever changing the landscape of the digital ad industry.

Programmatic advertising involves the automated buying and selling of digital advertising space through ad exchanges like Alkimi Exchange. This exchange technology allows advertisers and publishers to buy and sell ad inventory in real-time through automated bidding processes known as real-time bidding (RTB).

This pioneering technology allowed advertisers and publishers to buy and sell ad inventory in real-time through automated bidding processes, making the ad-buying experience more efficient and personalised.

Programmatic advertising quickly gained traction, and today, it accounts for a large portion of digital ad spending. Its ability to target specific audience segments and deliver relevant ads has made it an indispensable tool for marketers. These advancements have enabled advertisers to optimise their campaigns on the fly, reducing wasted ad spend and maximising return on investment.

As programmatic technology continues to evolve, the industry is poised for even greater advancements, such as AI-driven optimisation and blockchain technology. (link to blockchain technology blog) The future of programmatic advertising promises to bring more transparency, trust and even stronger privacy measures.

To find out more about programmatic advertising, please click here. (what is programmatic advertising blog)


As social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram gained popularity, a new era of digital advertising was born...

Enter influencer marketing—a modern twist on traditional celebrity endorsements.

Brands began collaborating with influencers, individuals who had amassed a dedicated following on social media platforms, to promote their products and services.

The shift towards influencer marketing has not only allowed brands to reach niche audiences but also fostered authentic connections with consumers. Unlike traditional ads, influencer marketing relies on the trust and credibility that influencers have built with their followers, making their promotional content more relatable and genuine.

As more and more brands recognise the potential of influencer marketing, the industry continues to evolve, with new platforms, tools, and strategies emerging regularly.

This dynamic marketing approach has proven to be a powerful force in the digital advertising landscape, and its influence is likely to keep growing in the coming years.


From the first banner ad to the development of programmatic advertising and the rise of social media and influencer marketing, these pivotal moments in digital advertising history have transformed the industry and the way businesses connect with their audiences.

As we continue to explore new frontiers in technology and communication, the digital advertising landscape will undoubtedly experience further disruptions and innovations, setting the stage for even more exciting developments in the future. 

After all, the ever-evolving nature of digital advertising is what makes it such an exciting and dynamic industry to be a part of.

As an innovative decentralised advertising exchange, Alkimi Exchange will continue pushing the industry forward through cutting-edge technologies like blockchain that bring more transparency and trust to programmatic trading.

By connecting brands with their audiences in meaningful ways, the future looks bright for ethical and decentralised exchanges like Alkimi.

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