Digital advertising isn’t new. The first banner ad dates back to 1994 when AT&T placed one on Wired’s website. Soon after those ads appeared, search engines and directories alike cashed in on the ads as did

the newspapers that launched their respective websites in the mid-to late-1990s. However, all these years later, some contend that the use of banners was flawed from the beginninng.

“The problem with an ad online is that people don’t come to The New York Times wanting to buy something from,” said Christopher Guess, residential fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. He is also the creator of Push, an open-source mobile news app.

The issue back then was that ads often took users to a different website, and that was vastly different from how ads in print newspapers or even on radio/TV functioned. Ads in the non-digital world also weren’t about promoting rival content or offerings—as many of those early banner ads did.

However, the banner has proven to be versatile even all these years later.

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MU | Missouri School of Journalism | University of Missouri