History of Banner Ads

Is your company using banner reporting?

If not then it’s a tool you should consider using since it shows statistics of banner son your website. However, you should also consider the history of banner ads. This will give you a better appreciation of them when you use the advertising tools on your website.

As with other firsts in the world you might find different information on the web about the world’s first banner ad. So how did it all start? The person who’s given credit for inventing the world’s first one did it in October 1994. His name is Joe McCambley and he has mixed feelings about the invention. He wrote in an article published in Harvard business review that the banner ads were losing effectiveness by the year 1998. That’s because they provided sales messages like TV, radio, and print.

However, it’s also interesting that McCambley shares that the business of online banners is bigger than it’s ever been in the past. The revenue generated has been growing in recent years and the display business increased over one-quarter world-wide during in Q1 2013. This isn’t to say that it will replace other types of revenue like from searchmarketing. However, it shows the value of banner ads even though they’ve been around for over two decades now.

When discussing the world’s first banner ad it’s important to put the situation in context. In the year 1994 there were about 30 people on the Internet. They were accessing the web through services such as CompuServe and Prodigy. Such ISPs had their own ads. However, since the networks functioned privately they weren’t technically classified as real banner ads.

The first use of banner ads was to be the October 27 issue of “HotWired” in 1994. The Internet-based version was supposed to be the first use of online banners.

AT&T was a client of McCambley and was one of many that would be featured within the 1994 issue. However, the AT&T ad gets the credit as being the first banner ad ever. There are a few reasons. It’s either because it was the most popular banner ad of the “HotWired” issue or was the first company to send their materials to the company.

An interesting AT&T banner ad is that the company’s logo isn’t visible. There were a few reasons. One reason is the client wasn’t 100% signed off. Another issue is the language of the ad refers to a new campaign with the theme “You Will.” The campaign promised that people would the ability to do things online like read a book, send faxes while at the beach, or get directions while in a vehicle.

When people clicked on the banner they’d be sent to a microsite. There were lists there of various sites like top museums. AT&T saw the banner ads as a type of public service announcement. They wanted to “transport” their customers through the Internet. The first banner ad had a 44% click-through rate. This was greatly due to it being a new type of advertising.