As long as there have been products to sell, there has been advertising. Perhaps the earliest known advertisers were those who would hawk their wares at open air markets, screaming out specials like, “Two fish for a nickle.” Advertising as most people know it today, however, was born in the 19th century, when entrepreneurs began creating materials specifically designed to sell products. These materials included posters and flyers that incorporated captivating images and memorable slogans that encouraged individuals to associate a certain product or brand with highest quality. This process, now called “branding” owes much to Thomas J. Barratt, the London businessman who is now considered “the father of advertising.”
Although many of Barratt’s branding methods were still used, the 20th century added something new to the world of advertising, technology. As the amount of media available changed and grew, so did the types of advertising that were offered. Ads on the radio became ads on television and eventually ads on the internet as technology increased. The emergence of the Internet changed advertising in a way that had not been seen since Thomas J. Barratt first introduced the foundations of advertising methods. Today, while advertising is still prevalent across media, Internet advertising has become the premiere and arguably most effective type of advertising.The crux of Internet advertising is similar to traditional advertising. The goal of traditional advertising is to drive individuals to buy a product. When it comes to online advertising, the goal is the same. However, there is a dual goal, driving individuals to a website where they can learn more about the product. There are many commonly accepted ways to do this. For example, search engine optimization (SEO) is one method. In this method, individuals customize their websites so those websites appear among the first results when potential customers search for certain words and phrases on common search engines. Another method is to use a number of software programs to drive traffic to sites. Individuals may use these programs, like this ecommerce cart, to streamline operations and ensure all web applications and search engines are sending customers to the intended website.
While advertising has changed over the years, many of Barratt’s original ideas are still considered the foundation of the advertising industry. However, internet marketing and driving web traffic to sites have added entirely new components to the advertising industry.