How Old is Digital Marketing

Marwa Al Krad|16 November 2021

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Have you ever wondered how old is digital marketing? If you are doing business since more than 10 years, you know that the term wasn’t used as it is now. In fact, sources suggest that the term “Digital Marketing” was first used in the 1990s. In my opinion, the field started to mature around 15 years ago only after the growth seen in Search Engines and the launch of the modern Social Media Networks in the new millennia. But how old is Digital Marketing? We know it matured around 15 years ago but when was it born? If you are a millennial (born between 1981 and 1996), Digital Marketing is most likely younger than you and let us prove it!

Whether it is being organic or non-organic, Digital Marketing today uses these 4 main channels:

– Web Pages

– Search Engines

– Emails

– Social Media Platforms

To know how old digital marketing is, we need to know the history of these channels and when potentially they evolved to contribute to the birth of digital marketing.

1. Web Pages

Starting with the oldest, English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. He wrote the first web browser in 1990. However, only in 1994, the first clickable banner Ad went live on (

2. Emails

Even though the first email marketing blast was sent in 1978. At that time, Emails were not as common as they are today, and this achievement was not enough to open the doors for Email Marketing. Email marketing became viable only after the launch of free web-based Email services. Hotmail was the first to launch its free web-based email service in 1996. (

3. Search Engines

Most search Engines started in the mid-to-late 1990s. Many sources suggest that “Archie” is the first Search Engine. However, Archie had a quite different concept than current search engines. It searched FTP sites to create index of downloadable files. Archie was launched in 1990 while the most popular Search Engine “Google” was only launched in 1998. (

4. Social Media

Social Media is the most recent contribution to digital marketing so far. The vert first social media platform was Six Degrees and was launched in 1997. Six Degrees didn’t last, and social media had to wait to the new millennia to rise and shine. Among the popular social media platforms today, the oldest is LinkedIn which was launched in 2003. Below is a list of the most common social media platforms and their launching dates:

LinkedIn: 2003

Facebook: 2004

YouTube: 2005

Twitter: 2006

Instagram: 2010

Pinterest: 2010

Snapchat: 2011

Tiktok: 2016

Given that most of the contributors to the current digital marketing forms were launched either in the 90s or in the new millennia, we can confidently say that Digital Marketing is less than 30 years old. This makes it in the best time for development and evolving and yet mature and powerful enough to be taken seriously.

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