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UK online advertising began 10 years ago this week

The first Web-based adverts by UK organisations began 10 years ago this week, according to the BBC.

The BBC says that US telecoms firm AT&T was the first company to promote its services online to consumers in the UK.

Indeed, UK Fundraising has previously reported that 27 October 1994 was the occasion of the Web’s first banner advert.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

So, new media it certainly isn’t, but how experienced is your organisation in advertising online? Do you know what works and what doesn’t? While there is a plethora of different types of online advertising now ranging from banner ads, to targeted text ads in e-mail newsletters, pop-ups, pop-unders, interstitials, affiliate marketing programmes, and contextual keyword-based adverts such as those on Overture and Google, it must be noted that very few charities have tested anything but a small number of these opportunities.

The banner ad’s death has been foretold many times, but it can still work when targeted well. However, UK Fundraising has reported on at least two top 20 UK charities only starting to test banner ads for the first time this year – 2004. While being at the bleeding edge of advertising is not part of a charity’s brief, testing a new, low-cost and global medium at some point in its first 10 years surely makes fundraising sense?

Ten years on, there is cause for optimism. The number of charities that are using Google’s AdSense tool to promote themselves is heartening. Low-cost with budget control and good reporting options, it is an ideal tool for charities to experiment with.