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15 years of banner ads

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday October 28, 2009 )

It was October 27, 1994 when banner ads first made their appearance. It’s hard to believe there was a time when they weren’t around.

It seems the first banner appeared on and the site was also the first commercial web magazine to attract high profile corporate sponsorships dollars on the web.

Here’s how the banner looked (click for a full size view):

It was created for Modem Media/AT&T by TANGENT Design/Communications. It’s interesting to note the size of the banner – 468×60, which is still commonly used today. I wonder how they arrived at that size.

Scarey graphic huh? But the banner ad was rather prophetic and very successful. Actually, it’s surprising how poorly designed banner ads can attract a ton of clicks, even today – I’ve designed a few myself :).

1994 – it seems like yesterday, but also so long ago. While Internet usage was by no means widespread in 1994, that year also saw the first ecommerce transaction.

Let’s see, in 1994 I don’t think I had even heard of the Internet, in fact I’m pretty sure I hadn’t even touched a computer by that point – that happened the following year. It certainly changed my life and incredibly quickly.

Anniversaries like this do stir up a fair bit of nostalgia for me and imagining my life without the web is pretty difficult now. I don’t think I’ve been offline for more than 24 hours in the past decade.

Maybe it’s something I should try soon.

Anyway, enough of me – if you’re interested in learning more about the story behind the first banner ad, you can get the lowdown on AdAge.


The evolution of the World Wide Web and timeline


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