This year, Direct Agents celebrates its 19th anniversary. From MySpace to TikTok, the digital media landscape has undeniably undergone incredible changes over the course of our time in business. In reflecting on how far Direct Agents has come as a company, we have compiled a comprehensive timeline of technology innovations, platforms that have gone in and out of public favor, and software integrations that have made the industry what it is today.

 

2003

  • Dinesh and Josh Boaz founded Direct Agents. 
  • MySpace and LinkedIn launched as digital social platforms.

2004

  • Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes.

2005

  • Google began personalizing search results that were informed by a user’s past search history, later launching the first version of Google Analytics.
  • YouTube launched its first beta site.

2006

  • Twitter entered the digital media space.
  • Amazon sales rose to $10 billion. 

2007 – 2008

  • 3G networks held 285 million active subscribers worldwide, leading to the popularization of music and video streaming services. 
  • Facebook surpassed Myspace in subscribers.
  • Facebook implemented one of the first social media algorithms on their platform: EdgeRan, an adaptation of Google’s PageRank.

2009 – 2011

  • Google launched Google Instant which provided users with immediate search results. 
  • 4G communication technology was first introduced in Sweden and Norway.
  • 42% of the households in the U.S. used DVR, allowing them to skip out on television advertising.
  • Half of Americans owned a smartphone.
  • Internet usage surpassed television watching for younger demographics. 
  • Snapchat was launched.

2012

  • Vine was launched. 
  • 83.9% of internet users made at least one online purchase.
    • 90% of global marketers had a website, 20% had mobile strategies included in their overall plan.

2013 – 2014

  • 23% of Facebook users checked their accounts more than five times per day.
  • Social media and e-newsletters were the top 3 tactics used by B2B marketers.
  • More than 10.3 billion Google searches were made each month.

2015

  • 80% of Internet users owned a smartphone.
  • The majority of marketers believed that branded content worked more effectively than paid advertising.

2016

  • Direct Agents opened their first LA headquarters.
  • TikTok made its initial release onto the app store.
  • Brands like Coca-Cola and Google shifted their focus to “experiential marketing,” partnering with agencies that specialized in creating brand experiences to attract social media attention.
  • The industry saw an increase in VR & AR marketing startups due to high purchasing volume. 
  • Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all introduced live streaming services to their platforms. 
  • Instagram announced its first implementation of an algorithm. 

2017 – 2018

  • More purchases were made virtually than in-person during Black Friday sales.
  • The majority of users preferred to be made informed about products through content as opposed to traditional advertisements.
  • Google removed 2.3 billion fraudulent ads to combat the spread of misinformation.

2019 – 2020

  • With the rapid change in US demographics and the emergence of increasingly complex multicultural identities, Direct Agents launched its dedicated Polycultural practice.
  • 500 million people used Instagram Stories every day.
    •  ad spend on the format accounted for 10% of Facebook’s entire ad revenue. 
  • Marketers spent an estimated $9 billion on influencer marketing in 2019.
  • In the U.S., TikTok reached 26 million active monthly users, 28.56% opened TikTok every day, spending an average of around 46 minutes on the app.
  • Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat released new shopping features.
  • An Accenture survey of more than 3,000 people in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific, concluded that customers’ increasing willingness to try immersive technologies has inspired 64% of leading consumer brands to invest in XR, 3D content, and 360-degree video. 
  • According to Shopify, including 3D imagery on sites has shown to increase conversion rates by 250%, while AR content in product pages increases conversion rates by 94%. 
  • With connected TV viewing up 35% during COVID19, ad inventory became more affordable, heightening competition between large and small brands.
  • Total digital-media time spent was up 16% YoY.
  • Weekly streaming video minutes climbed 74% YoY in Q2 2020, to 25%.

2021

  • Amazon reportedly generated $469.8 billion in total yearly sales.
  • TikTok was the most downloaded non-game app in the first 6 months of 2021, with 383M installs from January to June.
    • TikTok had the highest Gen Z penetration in America, with 47.4% of its active users between the age of 10 and 29. 
  • Videos received 12x more shares than other content on social media. 
  • Around 90% of consumers say UGC-style content is more trustworthy and feels more authentic.

2022 & Onward

  • Direct Agents moves its NYC headquarters to the Acceleration Hub, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and E 21st in the heart of New York City’s Flatiron District, signifying a new phase of growth for the agency.
  • Mass adoption of virtual reality headsets, mainly as a result of high prices and limited options, will not happen in 2022. 
  • Studies predict that sales through live streaming will reach $500B by 2023. 
  • Mobile AR ad revenue is forecast to nearly triple and grow 6x more by 2024
  • Retailers will grow their AR investments globally by ~300% to $4.6b by 2025. 
  • The influencer marketing space is expected to reach $34.6B by 2027.

 

For 19 years, the course of Direct Agents’ development has been influenced by the fast-paced nature of the industry we are a part of.  Since the beginning, Direct Agents has always believed in pushing the boundaries, working with brands at the forefront of the future. In our most recent development, moving our New York headquarters to the Acceleration Hub, we manifest our long-term commitment to growth, innovation, and adapting to the ever-changing realm of digital advertising.

 

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