1472 – The first print ad is published. A man named William Caxton prints advertisements for a book and tacks it to church doors in England.
1704 – The first newspaper ad is published in the U.S. An ad for a Long Island real estate buyer is published in The Boston News-Letter.
1835 – The first billboards is created. A man named Jared Bell prints large posters for the circus.
1842 – The first advertising agency is formed. A man named Volney Palmer opens an advertising agency that arranges ads for U.S. and Canadian newspapers.
1892 – Direct mail is introduced. Sears sends out 8,000 postcards as part of the first direct mail campaign.
1922 – The first radio ad is aired. The WEAF airs 10-minute radio ads for $100.
1926 – The first copy written ad is published. A man named John Caples writes an “advertorial” that is published in newspapers. He was a leader in the direct copywriting industry.
1935 – Market research is introduced. George Gallup founds the American Institute of Public Opinion.
1941 – The first TV ad debuts. The 20-second ad features a Bulova watch that ticks, and the company paid $9 for the placement.
1955 – The first spokesperson is announced. The Marlboro man campaign is launched by Philip Morris.
1976 – Advertising is protected by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rules that advertising is protected under the First Amendment.
1978 – First email marketing. A marketer from Digital Equipment Corporation sends an email to most of users advertising an open house for a new computer model.
1994 – The first banner ad is introduced. Hotwire.com launches, hosting between six and 12 banner ads. The most clicked ad is an AT&T banner that says “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will.” with a CTR of 44%.
1994 – Advertising cookies are invented. Two men at Netscape Communications invent cookies to distinguish online shoppers by tracking user behavior.
1995 – The first ad server is released. The first central ad server is released by FocaLink Media Services.
1998 – PPC (Pay Per Click) is introduced. Goto.com introduces the paid placement model, which leads to the PPC model.
1998 – Popup ads were invented. Popups started on the Tripod.com webpage hosting site, when a man named Ethan Zuckerman wrote the code to launch advertisements in separate windows.
2000 – Google AdWords launches. AdWords is an online advertising platform where advertisers pay to display brief advertisements and offerings within the Google ad network.
2005 – Ad exchanges are launched. An ad exchange is a technology platform that facilitates the buying and selling of media ad inventory from various ad networks.
2006 – Mobile ad networks are created. Before smartphones, ads ran as text-only on featured phones.
2007 – First modern smartphone, the Apple iPhone, is introduced. This sets the stage for mobile advertising.
2008 – Ads debut on social media. Facebook launches its ad platform for businesses.
2011 – Influencer marketing picks up. Advertisers use “brand ambassadors” on social media platforms to sell products.
2018 – a4, an advanced media and data business, is launched and offers authenticated IP targeting, as well as multiscreen campaigns where an advertiser can reach the target audience on any screen in- and out-of-home.