Marketing spend was still predominantly on traditional media, and barely on digital. Digital cameras were clunky items we carried, separate to our phones. Someone who worked in the web, typically did everything from design to development to copywriting.
In fact, when I started Bam Creative, I literally did just about everything, from answering the phone to creating the work, and sending the invoices. From my tiny home office in Bassendean, before moving into our first slightly larger office in Inglewood, to then moving a year later to Mount Lawley, then to Highgate, back to Inglewood and now in Northbridge, we’ve grown and shifted, literally, over the last 14 years.
Skipping forward to today, let’s take a look at some of the digital innovations that have occurred during that time. Things that we take for granted now, but were, for the most part, dreams back in 2002.
Content Management Systems
Having the ability to update your own website was pretty well rare in 2002. The advent of popular CMS (Content Management Systems) didn’t really take until 2004 or so, whilst we were offering a flat file editor since we launched.
Version 1.0 of our own internally developed content management system, BamCMS, was released to our clients in late 2013. We’ve released over 10 major updates to this software over the years since.
Even in late 2010, according to this article, only 23.6% of websites used a content management system. Now, in 2016, the majority of websites use some form of CMS software to allow for easy updates to content and the like.
Little did we predict that services, such as Twitter and Facebook, would become so ingrained in our daily lives, when they were first introduced. MySpace launched in August 2003, Facebook in early 2004, and Twitter started in mid-2006.
From 2005 to 2008, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world, before being overtaken in 2008 by Facebook.
Incidentally, we first tweeted in April 2007, and created our Facebook page a month later, in May 2007.
The first mass market smart phone, was Apple’s iPhone, which came out on 29 June 2007, a whole five years after Bam Creative was founded. A year later, in October 2008, the first phone to use Android OS was released.
The same month we started, Sanyo brought out a phone with an inbuilt camera; it was 0.3-megapixel so could capture shots at 640 x 480 pixels. In comparison, the Sony Xperia Z5 has a 23 megapixel camera.
The first widely known internet mapping app, Google Maps, was launched 3 years after we started, in February 2005. Skipping forward a decade, can you imagine not having access to maps on your phone to find your location, or your destination?
The quick adoption of maps on phones means that sales of vehicle map books have plummeted. In 2006, Gregory’s map books sold well over a million copies. In 2001, they merged with UBD street directories, as they try to find a place in this futuristic GPS world.
Search Engine Optimisation
We all knew back in 2002, that if you had your target keyword repeated many times, you stood a chance of being listed. That was about all the information we knew, and the level of experience we all had. In this Search engine land article, The Evolution Of SEO Trends Over 25 Years, they call the period 2003-2005 ‘The Early Days’.
Now, search engine optimisation is a very important component of digital marketing, and is seen as something that can easily make or break new or existing businesses. Global business spending on SEO is now at $65 billion and growing (source).
See our article, Blogging for Search Engine Optimisation AND Humans.
Businesses have been starting since time began, however it wasn’t until the mid 2000’s, that tech start-ups really became a thing, and it’s only in the last 3-4 years that mass media cover articles on start-ups, and expect the audience to know what they mean.
One of the watershed moments for tech start-ups was without doubt, in 2006, when Google bought then-3-year-old video platform, YouTube, for a whopping $1.65 billion, which at the time, was Google's biggest buy to date.
See our article, 6 Tips to Creating a Startup.
Back in 2002, the most common browsers were Internet Explorer 6 (83.5% of the market), Netscape 7 with 8% and AOL coming in at 5.2%. The two most common web browsers now, Chrome and Firefox, weren’t even around back then.
When we had two mass market web browsers to care for, and test our products, we now have Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera and many more, across a wide variety of devices such as phones, tablets, game consoles, watches and more.
Voice Over Internet
The first player to really take internet streaming audio to the masses, was Skype, who started in August 2003. There are now 2,310 Skype calls made per second across the globe, and activity on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp combined is now three times the global volume of SMS messages, at 60 billion messages a day compared to 20 billion (source).
The idea of traditional landline telephones is unusual for many of the younger generations – and phone boxes are certainly a novelty.
Whilst there were a small number of adventurous bloggers back in 2002, it was nearly all of a personal nature. The short form, "blog", was coined by Peter Merholz in May 1999. Skipping ahead to today, content marketing, such as blogging, sharing content via different channels such as slideshare and social media, is the number one focus for many digital marketers.
This is for good reason; while content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates more than three times as many leads (source).
According to this Wikipedia page, broadband appeared in Australia in around 2003, with 16% of internet connections (a total of 56% of the population) in 2004/2005.
Jump to 2016, and the rollout of the NBN is continuing, we have satellites beaming internet access to remote areas, and most Australian households enjoy internet speeds unheard of back in 2002. This means we can use bandwidth heavy items, such as video and audio, to help augment our other marketing channels.
Speaking of increased bandwidth, the concept of streaming music is now ingrained in most of us. Our office Spotify playlists are growing by the day, and services such as Apple Music, Pandora, Google Play and the like are quickly getting major traction.
Fun fact: Over 317,200,000,000 songs were streamed last year alone (source).
Whilst I am writing this article, my Apple Watch is reminding me of my next meeting, and sending me breaking alerts from my ABC News watch app. I can even tweet by speaking into my wrist.
Wearable internet connected devices are growing and becoming more mainstream by the day. It is fascinating to wonder how these may be used in consumer outreach or marketing in the decade ahead of us.
All these new devices, such as smart phones, watches, games consoles, internet connected televisions and more, means that websites now need to adapt to suit the viewers screen size and device.
What would have been a few minutes of testing across two web browsers on desktop devices more than a decade ago, we are now testing new products or major updates for hours, across many devices, browsers and settings.
As I alluded to at the start of this article, the role of ‘web designer’ and ‘web developer’ were effectively very similar. Now, jumping forward 14 years, we have a spectrum of web design roles and web development roles, content marketer, information architects, user experience, front end developers, videographer, web testers, penetration and security people and a whole lot more.
Where in 2003, it was likely 1 or 2 people were involved in a Bam Creative project for a client, it is now typically between 4-7 people involved in any one project we are involved with.
The last 14 years have been great, building and maintaining our wonderful clients and team, as the technology we use to achieve our marketing goals constantly shift. The pace of innovation is increasing even further, and it will be an interesting ride to see where we are, in October 2030.
Will there even be an internet? Or will it be so ubiquitous to our lives, it’s not even called a ‘thing’ any more (it’s already heading that way), and there’s no distinction between offline and online – I look forward to writing that blog post!