The development of digital marketing is inseparable from technology development. One of the key points in the start of was in 1971, where Ray Tomlinson sent the very first email and his technology set the platform to allow people to send and receive files through different machines.[10] However, the more recognisable period as being the start of Digital Marketing is 1990 as this was where the Archie search engine was created as an index for FTP sites. In the 1980s, the storage capacity of computer was already big enough to store huge volumes of customer information. Companies started choosing online techniques, such as database marketing, rather than limited list broker.[11] This kind of databases allowed companies to track customers' information more effectively, thus transforming the relationship between buyer and seller. However, the manual process was not so efficient.

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As advertisers collect data across multiple external websites about a user's online activity, they can create a detailed profile of the user's interests to deliver even more targeted advertising. This aggregation of data is called behavioral targeting.[27] Advertisers can also target their audience by using contextual to deliver display ads related to the content of the web page where the ads appear.[20]:118 Retargeting, behavioral targeting, and contextual advertising all are designed to increase an advertiser's return on investment, or ROI, over untargeted ads.[28]

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