The Evolution of Online Marketing from Computers to Mobile Devices

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In the early days of the web in the 1990's the landscape was a bit like the wild, wild west. Marketers were figuring out how everything worked as they went along. As the personal computer revolution grew in momentum and more and more people got computers and then Internet access at home, and at work and the audience began to grow, Internet marketing began to become more sophisticated, but the main through line for the medium seemed to be to meet and engage with users on the platforms that they used the most.

Towards the end of the 90's we saw banner ads grow in popularity across the web. Back in the day when there was still the novelty factor, people actually clicked on banners, some of which enjoyed as high as 30% click-through rates.

Email, which got its start in the 1960's in academic settings, was adopted by the public and businesses in the late 1980s, and the early 90's saw the beginnings of email marketing.

But everything changed in 2000 when Google launched its AdWords PPC program making pay-for-performance online advertising mainstream. PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising was very popular and very successful for Google. Today it still accounts for the largest portion of their revenues.

In 2005 video marketing explodes on the scene and and experiment with business models while video advertising revenues skyrocket.

Concurrently with the rise in online marketing, the mobile marketing bonanza begins to gather steam. As mobile phones become more sophisticated and able to access the Internet, people begin to access the Internet using their cell phones more than with desktop or laptop computers.

When the iPhone hit the market in January of 2007 it was a game changer. With its sleek touch screen technology, and over 200 patents connected with the design, the iPhone was poised to transform personal mobile technology along with having a huge influence on the culture. Other similar smart phone devices came on to the scene and even more recently with the release of the iPad in 2010, tablets are changing once again how people relate to and interact with technology, which in turns influences how marketers try to get the attention of these tech-savvy users.

Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said, "The post-PC era represents a change in consumer behavior. It's not just the device. It's the social behavior. It's a social trend. The post-PC era represents a social shift and a technology shift."

Here are some fascinating mobile marketing statistics:

•87% of Americans own a cell phone, 95% of them have text capabilities

•84% of cell phone users have their cell phone within reach 24/7

•90% of text messages are read. Email compares at about 20%

•23% of text coupons are forwarded to friends

•text messages are green

•text messages out number cell phone calls 2 to 1

•10 million digital coupons were redeemed in the first 6 months of 2009 a 25% increase over 2008

Technology experts have predicted that by 2013 most customers will be online using their mobile devices rather than a computer!

250+ million Americans carry mobile phones--over 80% of the nation's population

Source: CTIA Wireless Association

As more and more people move from computers to tablets and mobile devices--what Steve Jobs calls "post-PC era" products, the popularity of these products are changing consumer habits. Marketers will need to keep up or get left behind.

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