For a complete overview of this topic, download The Search Agency’s latest white paper — Five Trends that Should Change your Online Marketing Plans this Holiday Season 
Despite the sluggish economy, recent reports suggest that this year’s consistent growth in e-commerce spending may result in a recording breaking year in online holiday spending. As online retailers develop their holiday marketing strategies, it’s important to reflect on the key trends of 2011 that have impacted search and online marketing.
Last year’s e-commerce holiday sales (November-December 2010) reached  an astounding $32.6 billion, representing a 12 percent increase year-over-year, but given the growth of online retail spending in 2011, don’t be surprised to see this number increase.
eMarketer and comScore both predict  ecommerce sales to grow by 12 percent during the 2011 holiday season.
The research suggests we’re in for a record-breaking holiday season. Is your online marketing strategy up to date with the most important trends of 2011? Let’s take a closer look at five key trends that have changed the landscape of digital marketing this year, and discuss best practices to ensure you’re prepared for the upcoming holiday season.
1. Mobile Commerce- Thanks to the consistent growth in mobile search queries and conversion rates, 2011 has proven to be an important year for mobile marketing. To date, clicks from mobile devices represent 14.2 percent of all Google search clicks—a metric that’s expected to jump to 17.3 percent during the holidays, according to Performics .
To avoiding missing out on mobile sales and searches, marketers should develop a mobile optimized site for the smaller smartphones screen with features that leverage location and touch-screen features.
- Separate mobile and desktop campaigns- Mobile-only campaigns enable marketers to create a unique budget and keyword bids for mobile-targeted keywords, and drive ROI.
- Mobile optimized site- Mobile users are looking for information while on the go and from a device that isn’t as easy to navigate as a traditional PC. Your website should be streamlined to these needs. Focus on the speed of your site and accessible, relevant content.
2. Tablet Commerce- The rapid adaptation of tablet devices represents another important mobile marketing opportunity, as tablet users consistently spend more time and money on their devices than their smartphone counterparts. Evidence from Google also suggests that the conversion rate on tablets is higher or equal to the average conversion rate on PCs. Tablet owners also generate higher average order values and a lower cost-per-click:
- Tablet-optimized site- Keep in mind that tablet-optimized sites should provide faster load times and touchscreen friendly navigation.
3. Panda Updates- Google’s Panda Updates have sparked an important conversation this year among SEOs about the definition of unique, quality content online. One area that’s been significantly impacted by Google’s Panda updates is eCommerce product descriptions.
- Create unique product descriptions- Google’s Panda Update penalizes duplicate content online, making it important for large reseller and retailer sites to focus on creating unique product descriptions and copy, rather than repurposing manufacturer descriptions. Reusing manufacturer descriptions can adversely affect your organic search results
4. Landing Page Quality- Google recently announced  that the relevance and quality of a landing page would carry more weight in calculating AdWords Quality Score. The goal of the change is to improve user experience with paid search ads. Thanks to these changes, higher quality landing pages will be ranked higher for lower cost-per-click bids.
- Focus on relevance- Marketers should focus on creating a landing page that’s relevant to the keywords you’re bidding on, and which provides for a positive customer experience.
- Strong call-to-action- Make sure your call-to-action is direct, visually big and above the fold.
5. Product Ads – Product Listing Ads and Product Extensions- With increasingly more customers shopping online during the holiday season, it’s important to distinguish your site from the rest with Google’s Product Listings and Product Extensions.
- Product Extensions- With product extensions, your ad will appear with an image of your product along with the price of the product, allowing customers to browse your selection before clicking on your ad. Product Extensions provide your customers with more information about your product, while saving you money and generating highly qualified traffic.
- Product Listings - Product listing ads are shopping results, triggered when a user searches for your product, which display relevant information about your product from your Google Merchant Center Feed.
To learn more about these trends and how to improve your 2011 holiday online marketing strategy, download our new whitepaper: