There are two main ways that I see the future of pay-per-click advertising progressing from where it is now. Currently, PPC is primarily focused on computers, such as desktops and laptops, and companies have focused more on getting clicks than converting those visitors into conversions. In the future, PPC will continue to move towards mobile platforms, while companies refine their marketing messages to focus more on conversion rates.
Google has seen this trend and is helping to promote it with its new enhanced AdWords campaigns. Previously, tablets were included with mobile devices when choosing what kind of devices to target. Now, with tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire, and others getting closer to miniature computers than mobile phones, it’s increasingly difficult to differentiate between them.
Additionally, about 20% of Internet searches are already local in intent, where people search for addresses, local restaurants, or goods and services provided by someone close to their home. Searches performed on mobile devices such as smartphones have approximately 60% local intent, opening up new avenues for targeting pay-per-click ads to these search engines.
This isn’t just for local businesses either. With one in four Americans located in ten major cities, even national ad campaigns can target search engines with a message tailored for that part of the country. Cultural trends in one city or another can target people based on their location and the type of device they are using.
Another trend that will grow over time is the use of metrics so that ad campaigns focus not on clicks but on conversions. This is a problem mainly with large companies, which can have thousands of ad groups and millions of keywords in a given corporate account. With so much advertising, clickthroughs are practically guaranteed, but conversion rates can suffer with so much data to analyze.
In fact, most companies have no problems with traffic. They have trouble converting that traffic into sales. Looking at data from AdWords and AdCenter is valuable, but adjusting different aspects of landing pages and doing more A / B testing will take more and more time for PPC marketers and web designers.
Therefore, the future of PPC will be more focused on mobile devices and search engines with local intent. Both small and large companies will compete to get their messages to consumers based on their geographic location and the types of devices they use. Additionally, companies will begin to take a closer look at the data they collect from all pay-per-click advertising and begin testing the best way to convert their marketing budget into sales.