Go to content
Summer is over and some of us have cranked up the heating, soon it’ll be time to get the wooly hats and gloves out. As we enter the final quarter of the year, we are looking back at how the face of digital has evolved and the industry has changed over the past 20 years.

Where it all began

In 1965 a computer in Massachusetts connected via dial up with another in California.

In 1973 the first hand held mobile phone call was made.

20 years ago, the first online purchase was made: A Sting CD. Within this short timeframe, we have now become totally comfortable purchasing not only online, but while on the move with mobile phones or tablets.

In 1998 Google launched, changing search forever.

Facebook launched in 2004 eclipsing other social networks like MySpace and Bebo. Social media became about connecting with brands, spreading news, shopping, sharing and liking.

In 2014 the hashtag was added to the Oxford Dictionary #whattooksolong?

Digital in 2015

Digital is now a main source of employment with 1.46 million people working in digital, with around 45,000 jobs being advertised at one time. Although this boom in the in the sector has majorly benefitted the economy, especially in the north of England, there have been some company demises as a result of the age of digital.

Chains who suffered as a result of not adapting quickly enough have been pushed out of the market, examples of this are: Borders, who refused to set up an online store, suffered at the hands of Amazon. Blockbuster were eclipsed by the introduction of subscription based streaming sites like Netflix and LoveFilm.

Other fallen include technology companies that were nineties powerhouses: Kodak, Sony and Dell, all failed to keep up with the technological advances of the 21st century. The price is high for the business that fails to adapt quickly.

Digital has changed the way we find and osmose information:

Invariably we have become better connected with the world, pre internet most of our news information came from paper tabloids or TV and the news. A study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers found that the average user checks their phone nearer 150 times per day. Each check is a window for news stories and articles potentially being read and shared.

Marketing and the digital factor:

Marketers have had to be quick to change, to receive and understand that consumers have different expectations than years past – with buying habits evolving and people shopping differently.

With the change in consumer behavior customer service on the digital side has needed to adapt. Customers have more control as a result of social media, consumers need a response immediately and have a shorter attention span. If you don’t respond almost immediately, there will be another disgruntled customer online who will.

The structure of marketing departments has had to change dramatically, now there is a need for trained specialists in areas like social media, SEO, online advertising. Marketing budgets have to factor this is as well as additional costs in other areas like PPC, social media advertising, SEO tools, further training and much more. This has resulted in many businesses turning to agencies for this expertise.

Google’s impact on digital:

Launched in 1997 when it first went public Google employed 2,600 people, and its quarterly revenue reached $800 million. Today Google employs 52,000 people and revenue has skyrocketed to $18bn.

Market giant Google has been set on monopolising the internet since its launch in 1998 making strides in the market and crushing competition like Yahoo and Bing, how long until ‘googling’ is added to the Oxford Dictionary?

Gradual updates have significantly impacted on how we input and receive information from Google. Updates Panda, Penguin, Pirate, Hummingbird, ‘mobilegeddon’ and Pigeon have significantly changed the game for SEOs over the past 10 years and have revolutionised the search experience as users become more savvy.

Looking to the future of digital:

Looking at current trends the future of search is geared towards becoming more targeted. Using more personal information to target advertising and more relevant search results for each individual. Welcome to the age of personalised web surfing!