Different Types of Advertising: An Evolution from Traditional to Digital

Learning about the different types of advertising is crucial to making the most out of your experience in the industry. Whether you’re interested in traditional or digital form, there’s always a vast world of opportunity to be had.

Did you know that the first advertising agency didn’t appear in the United States until 1841? By 1861, 20 new agencies had popped up just in New York City.

With the advent of the printing press came newspaper and magazine advertisements printed only in the black and white colors available at the time. Flyers also made handy advertisements to reach those who couldn’t afford or locate a print publication.

As the decades passed, print advertising came to include billboards, mailings, and directories such as telephone books. Although it’s the oldest of all types of advertising, print advertising remains highly relevant even in the current electronic age.

ADV Slade Hashimoto Dive In
Dive In – Student Work by Slade Hashimoto

Ever since the internet became a way of life in the 1990s, the opportunity for advertisers to reach new audiences has grown and expanded way beyond what they could have only imagined just a mere couple of decades ago.

From pay-per-click advertisements to marketing on social media to banner ads and more, there’s no shortage of ways for online marketers to get their message in front of thousands of people. This technology has also had a significant impact on advertising careers.

Traditional Advertising Today

For nearly 80 years, print media stood as the only way to reach potential customers. That changed when radio became popular in the early 1920s. For people accustomed to only reading about news, entertainment, and advertising, the radio was an exciting development because it meant they could listen to broadcasts while still accomplishing other tasks. Advertising also changed from strictly printed materials to memorable jingles that people hummed throughout the day.

Television, invented when radio was just taking off, didn’t become a mainstay in American homes until nearly 30 years later. Now advertising agencies could reach people with sight, sound, and motion instead of just one of these. Advertisers began clamoring to pay high prices to air a 30 or 60-second television commercial in hopes of reaching a whole new generation of customers.

ADV Slade Hashimoto Dive In
Dive In – Student Work by Slade Hashimoto

According to a 2017 study conducted by Mediagistic, television and radio advertising remain the most effective means of consumer advertising when introducing a new brand. One major reason for this is that consumers have a recall rate of 60 percent for advertisements they saw or heard compared to 30 percent they read about or potentially viewed online.

Additionally, the Industry of Cool declared in 2017 that print media is also still effective in a digital world. The reasoning here is that it makes a bigger impression on people who have learned to tune out the hundreds of ads they might see online each day.

The Past and Future of Digital Advertising

As the most recent of the types of advertising, and the one with the most possibilities, digital advertising is expected to only grow larger in the coming years. Its history dates to 1994 when the first banner advertisement appeared on the internet.

With a 78 percent click-through rate, it caught the attention of other online advertisers. The internet became a prominent news feature in the late 1990s, leading to what some industry analysts call the Discovery Phase.

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San Francisco Bar “Pilots” Rebrand – ADV Student Work by Jenny Truong

The years 2001 to 2009 were considered to be the internet’s Proliferation Phase. WordPress, as well as social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, came to life in this period.

The ability to advertise on Facebook coincided with the rollout of the first iPhone, giving digital advertisers more opportunities than ever. As the years passed and the internet became more standardized, it has now reached the point where more sales take place online than offline. This is incredible news if you want to pursue advertising careersin the digital realm.


Ready to learn more about the many possibilities available to you in the advertising field? Apply now to Academy of Art University’s School of Advertising. Contact our admissions representatives for more information.