A report from eMarketer found that ecommerce sales will likely grow to $46 billion in 2011, and social media marketing can help companies catch shoppers' interests.

With holiday shopping season a week away, businesses can prepare for anticipated consumer spending with engaging web marketing campaigns. According to eMarketer, ecommerce sales are likely to generate more than $46 billion for retailers.

The figure represents 16.8 percent growth over last year’s total of $39.9 billion, eMarketer said, and this growth presents an even more stark contrast to the depths of the recession. In 2008, Americans spent just $28.8 billion online for their holiday shopping needs.

For retailers hoping to improve their online sales during the holidays, an integrated web marketing campaign is a critical element.

Social media marketing campaigns that provide links to original content discussing the value and use of certain products can help provide the impetus for a sale. As MediaPost reported earlier this month, more than half of consumers say they use social tools to find promotions and discounts online. With people using the web to find the best deals, content marketing campaigns discussing the merits of one item compared to others, rather than strictly promotional news, will be more appealing than a basic call to action.

Focusing content strategies on adding value and saving money will make the case for conversion, according to eMarketer.

“Ecommerce is not immune to economic downturns, but it is more insulated than the overall retail industry,” Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer principal analyst, said in a release. “Price-sensitive consumers view online shopping as a way to find better prices and reduce gas expenses.”

Engaging prospects online via social media marketing is more likely to lead to conversions than passive campaigns. Brafton recently reported more than 9 percent of socially engaged users convert, compared to 5 percent of the general web population.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.