There are two main ways that I see the future of Pay Per Click advertising progressing from where it is now. Currently, PPC is heavily focused on computers, such as desktops and laptops, and companies have been more focused on getting clicks than turning those visitors into conversions. In the future, PPC will continue to move onto mobile platforms, while companies refine their marketing messages to focus more on conversion rates.
Google has seen this trend and is helping to advance it with its new Enhanced Campaigns in AdWords. Previously, tablets were included with mobile devices when choosing which type of devices to target. Now, with tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire, and others becoming closer to miniature computers than mobile phones, they are becoming more and more difficult to tell apart.
Furthermore, about 20% of searches on the internet already have a local intent, where people are searching for directions, local restaurants, or goods and services provided by someone located close to home. Searches done on mobile devices like smartphones are about 60% local intent, opening whole new avenues for targeting Pay Per Click ads to these searchers.
This is not just for local companies, either. With one in four Americans located within ten major cities, even national advertising campaigns can be directed to searchers with a message that is tailor-made for that area of the country. Cultural trends in one city or another can be targeted to people depending on their location, and depending on what kind of device they are using.
Another trend that will grow in time is the use of metrics to get advertising campaigns focused not on clicks but on conversions. This is a problem mainly with large companies, which may have thousands of ad groups and millions of keywords in a given corporate account. With this much advertising, getting clicks is virtually guaranteed, but conversion rates may suffer with so much data to analyze.
In fact, most companies do not have a problem with traffic. They have a problem converting that traffic into sales. Looking at AdWords and AdCenter data is valuable, but tweaking different aspects of landing pages and doing more A/B testing will increasingly take up the time of PPC marketers and web designers.
Thus, the future of PPC will be more heavily focused on mobile devices and searchers with local intent. Both small and large companies will compete to get their messages out to consumers based on their geographic locations and the types of devices they are using. In addition, companies will begin looking more closely at the data they are gathering from all of the Pay Per Click advertising, and start testing how best to turn their marketing budget into sales.