Updated: The First Decade of Internet Advertising

I’ve now spent some more time with the IAB data, and it’s interesting stuff. There was a nice jump in Q4, as there has been in most Q4s of late. Mind you, a 15% consecutive quarter improvement is good, but not as large, in percentage terms, as we have seen in the recent past.

Here, however, is the first decade of Internet advertising in graphical form:

online advertising trends: 1996-2006

A fun factoid: We have now crossed over and are doing more in Internet advertising per quarter than we did in all of 1999, the tail end of the prior boom.

[Update] Tim O’Reilly rightly points out in a comment to this post that calling this the first decade isn’t strictly correct. Even if it was a fairly narrow experiment, strictly speaking, the first ads appeared in 1993, not 1996 — and Tim should know, because he was the one who obtained special dispensation to do it!


  1. nice .. thanks for sharing.!!
    any comments /thoughts on why there was a dip FY02 ? I am failing to identify the cause/effect slippage other then 911…

  2. ming666 says:

    thanks for the data. do you have any thoughts on the important albeit nascent area of mobile advertising?

  3. Great chart. But I’m not sure I’d call it “the first decade.” The first internet advertising appeared in 1993, not 1996. I know, because I did it, under special dispensation from the National Science Foundation, on our pioneering web portal, GNN, or the Global Network Navigator. GNN was sold to AOL in 1995 and soon withered away there, but it was the first commercial, ad-supported web site, and launched the first web ads in late 1993.

  4. Ah, you’re right Tim. And I knew that too. Bad me.
    I’ll add a self-flagellating update.

  5. I actually remember Global Network Navigator — definitely way ahead of its time. And I remember hating those ads :-)

  6. Thanks for the post! Interesting.

  7. how is “internet advertising” defined? would you be able to shed some light? can’t be just banner ads?

  8. Interesting data. It’s great to see how Internet advertising has grown over the years. it’s also motivational for me because it shows that money can be made through online ads.

  9. Interesting statistics about the different between todays state of internet advertising and 1999.