How Display Advertising has Evolved

Display advertising is not dead; it evolves.  Sure, there are always pros and cons with that statement, but I believe that there is still aplenty to offer with regard to display advertising.

But let’s get back to the basic – in what ways display advertising has evolved?

Display ads in New York City

Back in the beginning

Many moons ago in the early 19th century the first display ads were posters stuck to local business walls or signs painted onto the walls of businesses mainly in the US. As the 19th century progressed these smaller style billboards became bigger with the introduction of large format posters. In fact even back then these posters/billboards were bigger than some that you see today.

The evolution of billboard advertising continued until the early 20th century when the billboard explosion occurred and big brands started to use them as a place to brand. It may not surprise you to know that one of the early adopters of display advertising was in fact Coca Cola who have continued to advertise and evolved their branding campaigns as the industry has.

The advertising industry has grown exponentially since, with a plethora of formats with billboards and branding options from traditional to digitally enhanced formats. The more traditional options include exhibition and events equipment, and providing for these real world display events has become a lucrative industry, Marler Haley – a specialist in display boards has been catering in the field for over 65 years notes that while physical reality will (obviously) always hold sway with customers, increasingly popular digital formats will be found in bigger cities where posters revolve, people are connected globally, messages become targeted and interactive – things change and companies continue to fight for the next big thing.

Digital evolution

It was in 2005 when billboards went digital. At a time when the digital evolution was well underway advertisers were able to keep up to date with timely messages that could change unlike the traditional billboard. There were more possibilities opening up and advertisers were getting more and more adventurous in their quest to make their brand stand out.

Then it gets really clever

2010 saw one of the cleverest publicity stunts of all with a huge billboard in the middle of London dispensing beer! Yes that’s right – Carlsberg’s message was simple but effective and their slogan “Probably the best” became “Probably the best poster in the world” with a dispenser protruding from the poster dispensing beer. Clever but effective and a great brand exercise.

What next for digital display advertising?

With the recent Google algorithm change websites now have to be mobile friendly or mobile optimised – don’t do it and businesses run the risk of being dropped from Google or at least their rankings dropped.

So what does this mean for the future of mobile? For every business now a mobile website has to factor into their business plan. There is no longer as much demand for desktop sites and now more and more content is being accessed on a mobile in fact if you can’t find it in Google the chances are that you aren’t ever going to come across half of the things that are out there.

So now the challenge is to be the best in this field, to stop people in their tracks and impress them with a great mobile site that not only provides information in a tidy and functional format but that also portrays the business brand in a small and compact space.

Are you up to the challenge?