Ecommerce will play a large role in 2012 holiday shopping, and a well-rounded content marketing strategy can help companies leverage the trend.

A report from MarketLive suggests ecommerce is a major focus for Americans during the holidays. The survey, which polled 1,000 shoppers, found 33 percent will conduct most or all of their holiday shopping on the internet. This represents an 8 percentage point increase from the same survey conducted in 2011.

Attracting consumers looking for the best deals or new gift ideas is difficult in the increasingly cluttered internet shopping mall. However, MarketLive’s data reveals some trends marketers can leverage to increase ecommerce conversions.

As expected, value ranked as the top concern for consumers spending on the web. Eighty-seven percent of respondents will likely buy from sites that demonstrate products or services’ value most effectively. Value is measured separately from low costs, as 85 percent said they expect to heavily factor price into purchase decisions.

Demonstrating value can mean any number of things, but helping consumers make the best decisions could be the differentiating factor for companies charging a little more than their competitors. According to the report, 45 percent of respondents said reviews from peers and others will influence their decisions. MarketLive suggests companies leverage site content and social media marketing to distinguish themselves as more prospects plan to look for the best offers. Seeing a friend or follower’s positive endorsement on Facebook and Twitter can sway some.

Pairing a content marketing strategy with an active social presence helps companies attract prospects through multiple touch points. Additionally, Brafton reported earlier this year that 70 percent of consumers said they follow brands on social networks. By engaging with people on different social networks, marketers increase the possibility that fans and followers will share positive experiences with their own contacts. AYTM Market Research data found 61 percent of consumers have told friends and social contacts about positive experiences.

With MarketLive suggesting social’s impact on holiday shopping will be high in 2012, it’s important for marketers to make their presence known across social media.

Moreover, the holidays represent an ideal time for companies to expand their use of social media marketing to target convertible traffic. Brafton recently highlighted data from a BizRate report, which found Pinterest may be a strong addition to retailers’ social marketing strategies. According to the study, 70 percent of Pinterest users access the site “to get inspiration on what to buy,” and 67 percent monitor trends and developments in industries they enjoy.

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.