Infographic: A Brief History Of Social Advertising

It is remarkable to think that social media advertising, at least as we know it, did not exist just a decade ago. But it is on track to top $11 billion in revenue by 2017.

A marked increase from the 2013 figures of just $6.1 billion. And the word just is used lightly here.

There are several reasons for this unparalleled success — starting with targeting of ads based on geographic, demographic, even behavioral data. Contextual advertisements can be placed next to relevant topics to build awareness and drive traffic.

However, there are still a few elements of social advertising that needs refining.

Since an overwhelming majority of social media users utilize apps, they can show up as direct visitors in your web analytics, unless properly tagged. This is because applications do not leave refereeing sources when a link is clicked and a browser automatically opens.

Then there is the intent. For maximum efficiency, your ads should be targeted to users with synonymous interests. Some that is just checking their friends and family will rarely click on ads.

Still, for the right businesses, social advertising provides virtually limitless potential.

And this infographic goes over the history of social advertising, from the early days in 2002, to launches of some of the more popular social sites. Plenty of statistical highlights, and future predictions in this highly enlightening creation.

Click the infographic below to view the full high-resolution version.


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  • Incredible graphic. My company just had a presentation from upper management today going over a social media marketing plan. It’s clear that it’s catching on everywhere now. It’s importance cannot be stressed enough.

  • Really neat and well detailed. I never knew LInkedin was founded well before the other big social media sites. Very interesting trajectory for them.

  • The internet has really sped everything up. Not the other companies havent grown quickly, but it’s really fascinating to see just how much progress these social media sites have made in a decade or so. The illustration is excellent. Thanks!

  • In-depth and easy to read and see. Well done! 🙂 All these sites have done something right to achieve the success they have.

  • When you look at the graphic, the one thing that is obvious is that there’s more of a potential customer base on these sites than anywhere else in the world right now. Converting from here is the challenge, but it’s an awesome resource for anyone trying to market.

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