There are a lot of things that Pokemon Go fails to tell you. Here is something small to tell you what the footprints mean at the bottom of the screen.
At the bottom right hand corner of the screen, there is a tracker. It tells you which Pokemon are nearby you. It gives you an indication on what you can catch next.
If you tap it, you will see footprints underneath the pictures. The footprints indicate how close some Pokemon are. 1 footprint means it’s very close and you don’t have to do anything. 2 footprints means you need to take several steps to find it.
As for three footprints, this means a Pokemon is nearby, but you have to look a bit further to find it. It pays to be patient as you cannot always find Pokemon very fast.