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Crystal ball future PPC developments

By Paul Morris
I recently posted about future seo algorithm factors hence thought it pertinent to look at the future of PPC as well.

What will now follow is a series of developments that will affect the PPC industry over the coming decade.

Social Metrics

Social is now starting to not only affect standard text PPC ads but also the Google Display Network as well in the form of +1 (see my last post on the impact of +1 on PPC for more details).

Not only will +1 directly affect the quality score (by soon becoming a Quality Score metric) but it will also indirectly affect the quality score (improvement in CTR when +1’s are present) and also see an improvement in conversion rate (as a result of seeing your friends recommendations – what better incentive to convert than a trusted friend referral).

There are additional social PPC metrics that could enter the mix as well e.g. the number of clicks an ad has received (already being tested) and possibly Facebook likes (more likely on Bing than on Google unless Google and Facebook snuggle up to one another).


This could go one of two ways; either people become more guarded about their personal data or they become more relaxed about it. I’m hoping people sell their souls to the privacy devil as this will in turn allow for much more targeted and useful advertising…


If privacy becomes more relaxed and companies share more data/ make better use of it e.g. making full use of the social/ intent data available via Google+ then we will see much improved PPC.

We could then not only understand intent from the search terms the person is typing in to the search engine but also understand who you are and your recent search behaviour.

The search engines would then extend the definition of keyword less ads (now called dynamic ads) where as if by magic Google knows what you want and serves super relevant ads before you have even entered a search term (not too sure what the UI will look like here but think behavioural banner adverts on steroids).

This theory is already in development at Google with the likes of Marissa Mayer, VP of Location and Local Services at Google, being involved in ‘Contextual Discovery’. Contextual discovery is where a searchers web history, location, social network, etc provides context. By then linking in context with Google ascertaining what the consumers ultimate master intent(s) is Google helps the user (better quality more relevant ads that save us time searching).

Note: I am slightly concerned by this development as it could lead to an extension of the filter bubble concept but hey ho (view my article on filter bubbles to find out more)


Feeds will start to impact ppc ads even more. Advertisers will start to use countless feeds and incorporate them in to ever more tailored ppc ads. E.g. stock, share and currency rates, stock levels, price information, weather, etc. Now some of these are already being used but surely we can think of ways of developing feeds even further e.g. incorporating weather feeds in to our travel ppc ads.

Cross search engine management

The likes of Marin, doubleclick, tagman, DC Storm, etc will become more common as PPC campaigns become increasingly complex + global (Bingoo! Google, Baidu, Yandex, etc).


The way we Search

There will be more use of voice and image search. I spent several hours a couple of months ago testing Google voice recognition on my Iphone and it still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy (particularly for long tail non main stream searches) however the way we search will change  and so the PPC ads will need to deal with image and voice input.

Google Goggles (visual search) is yet another way search could develop as Google steps in to the augmented reality arena. As an example you could take a photo of a print image or of an actual location that is then accompanied with relevant PPC ads.

Marketing Shift

TV and ppc integration will become the norm and as a result PPC will be affected. As an example, what about your tablet/ mobile linking in with your TV and then when you see a clothing advert (or even within programmes and films) you can click on any part of the person’s clothes and view sellers, prices, store locations of where to buy, etc.

I’m aware Google is interested in outdoor and is trying to figure out ways of monetising this area and could their knowledge of people (based perhaps on Google+ coupled with mobile/ location updates and the fact we have sold our souls to the privacy devil as mentioned previously) mean Google et al know who you are away from your computer and serve relevant ads on billboards?

The little guy

Whilst niches continue to open up as marketing increasingly becomes 1 to 1 the small guy will become even more squeezed. Ad prices will continue to rise; Google will continue to beat down on affiliates and with successful PPC becoming more complex future PPC success is not looking rosy for the little guy.

Google dominates (sort of)

Google will continue to dominate however I can see Bing starting to catch up slightly as it is doing a reasonable job of innovating at present (e.g. the Bing Ipad app, Project Emporia new approach to personalisation, partnerships with sites such as DealMap that brings great promotions from sites such as Groupon + Living Social and innovative tweaks such as mall maps) and let’s not forget Google are not dominant in all markets e.g. Russia and China.


More people make use of multi channel funnels as it becomes mainstream and overcomes its deficiencies (noted in my multi channel funnels post). If we change the way we ascertain value/ ROI (multi click rather than last click) then PPC budget and the keywords on which we spend it will change.

PPC extension

PPC ads will be extended into Iad (apple) and Admob (google). Instead of just seeing banner advertising in mobile apps we will start to see ppc ads for high cpc verticals e.g. finance and gambling. Again if we have sold our soul to the privacy devil then the advertiser knows the platform we are using, the app we are using, who we are, our previous behaviour, etc and as a result super targeted in app ppc ads will commence.

However there is still space for the humble banner in advanced PPC targeting and in going against my above staetment you could find that more accurate behavioural/ contextual/ retargeting banner advertising, coupled with Google gobbling up DSP’s (demand side platforms e.g. Invite Media for $70 million – exchange bidding based on audience segments in real time) results in a resurgence of banner advertising being used as a cost effective direct response platform.

Mobile and tablets

Mobile and Tablets will become the most important ppc advertising platforms in the later part of this decade hence watch this space for ads that are optimised for these different surfing/ state of mind platforms.