The evolution & future of digital marketingImage Source:

Digital marketing is a field that has continued to evolve with the invention of new strategies and technologies. Being aware of these advancements and their impact will help you understand the history of digital marketing and why the current strategies and techniques are used. It will also help you stay in touch with your target audience.

This article discusses the evolution of digital marketing over the last decade and the skills you need to stay competitive in this field. Keep reading to learn more!

The evolution of digital marketing in recent years

2011: The internet overtakes television

Young people’s use of the web overtook television viewership in 2011 for the very first time. This was a clear signal for brands and digital marketers of where audiences were moving. A concerted transition from TV to internet marketing was more vital than ever, especially for digital marketers targeting a young audience.

2012–2013: The digital landscape is shifting

2012 was when the shifting digital landscape became more obvious to marketers. For instance, 2012 saw the emergence of search engine result pages, which started to incorporate social content. IPOs were also launched.

Also, there was a notable surge in the dominance of Google’s search and increased reliance on digital marketing tools and agencies to support many brands’ digital marketing efforts.

Furthermore, there was also an increase in the popularity of Google Ads and marketing automation.

2014–2015: Refining search engine optimization and targeting audiences

2014 saw major evolutions and advancements in the world of digital marketing. For example:

  • The launch of the Facebook Messenger app
  • Introduction of tailored advertisements on LinkedIn
  • Mobile internet usage crossed the threshold of desktop usage

In the same year, we saw the emergence and rise of the Google Pigeon update. Besides, in 2014, Google algorithms started prioritizing HTTPS websites, which meant better ranking of websites and SEO.

2015 saw Snapchat launch its “Discover” feature for the first time. This feature introduced a new way for digital marketers to generate more revenue. Other major digital marketing trends in 2015 included:

  • The surge in popularity of wearable tech offers a unique, new advertisement delivery method.
  • The rise of predictive analytics, which becomes vital in the digital advertising landscape.

2016–2017: The rise of social media marketing

Both Spotify and Snapchat launched ads in 2016. Therefore, 2016 saw a huge surge in digital influencer marketing and social media influencers.

As of 2017, Facebook and Google prevailed as the biggest media owners globally. According to market research by Lucy Handley, Google and Facebook brought in 20{295bd60130ab8c7831c1021a28e09989d82ba0aee7d3911cb73fd8df4ab3e236} of the planet’s total advertisement revenue.

Furthermore, in 2017, digital marketers started introducing facets of virtual reality into advertising campaigns.

2018–2020: Where content becomes vital to brand management

From 2018 to 2020, we saw an increase in brands working with niche content influencers to promote their products. For instance, in 2018, Instagram TV was launched, which allowed users to upload scripted and comedic content that was several minutes long.

Besides, TikTok was launched in 2019. In 2020, brands focused on more niche-oriented, small content creators, allowing them to advertise their products to specific audiences and markets.

Since niche-specific influencers form a more personal, closer bond with their fans, there is a better chance that the followers will trust what the influencers promote.

2021–2023 The future of digital marketing

The digital marketing industry continued to develop and evolve between 2021 and 2023. For instance, we have seen an increased interest in neuromarketing. Besides, digital marketers have been considering voice search’s potential when optimizing their content.

Moreover, current digital marketing trends point towards increased interest in AI and chatbots as marketing methods for digital marketers. Other interactive digital marketing strategies that will continue to rise include games and quizzes.

What are the new skills that those entering the field will need to learn?

In today’s fast-paced digital world, staying ahead in digital marketing requires diverse skills like storytelling and content creation. By enrolling in a master of arts in marketing program at Emerson College, you can acquire essential skills to help you thrive in the evolving digital marketing landscape. For instance, you will emerge as a holistic, savvy digital marketing pro with strong analytics and creativity to drive innovations in digital marketing. Here are some key digital marketing skills.

Data analysis and interpretation

The current and future of digital marketing entail big data, which has increased the need for data-driven decision-making. Therefore, digital marketing enthusiasts must learn how to interpret and analyze data from various sources, which involves understanding the following:

  • Statistical analysis
  • Data visualization
  • Reporting tools

Data analysis and visualization skills will help you make informed digital marketing decisions. Moreover, you will also be able to improve the user experience, optimize campaigns, and ultimately drive results for your brands.

Video production and editing

Because of the increased dominance of video content through platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc., digital marketing enthusiasts must learn how to create compelling video content to drive conversions and engage their audience.

Learning these skills will help you tap into new audiences and maintain your brand at the forefront of the industry.

Content creation and storytelling

Compelling content is paramount to the success of digital marketing strategies. Therefore, you should strive to have a strong command of content creation, such as crafting persuasive copy, designing captivating visuals, producing high-quality videos, and writing engaging blog posts.

Besides, learning storytelling skills will help you connect with your audience emotionally. These skills will also help you engage and resonate with your target audience.

User experience (UX) design

Focusing on user experience (UX) design is vital for individuals entering the digital marketing field. With the emergency and rise of voice search and mobile, ensuring an enjoyable and seamless user experience across all platforms and devices is vital.

Therefore, aspiring digital marketers should have a solid understanding of UX design principles. Other advantages of learning user experience (UX) design include the following:

  • Fostering long-lasting customer relationships
  • Reducing bounce rate
  • Boosting conversion rates

Adaptability and continuous learning

Digital marketing is a field that is evolving rapidly, and the strategies that work today may not be effective tomorrow.

Therefore, individuals entering the digital marketing field must embrace adaptability to new technologies and experiment with emerging tactics.

By embracing adaptability and continuous learning, digital marketers can remain agile while delivering innovative marketing campaigns.


Understanding the evolution of digital marketing is essential to figuring out how to best leverage modern-day practices, strategies, and technologies. We hope you have learned about the evolution of digital marketing and the skills you need to learn to enter this field.