Most consumers have an annual holiday ritual of vowing that next year they'll start their shopping earlier, but a new study from Marin Software suggests the odds of shoppers waiting until December are in search marketers' favor.

Most consumers have an annual holiday ritual of vowing that next year they'll start their shopping earlier, but a new study from Marin Software suggests the odds of shoppers waiting until December are in search marketers' favor. Even if consumers delay shopping the final weeks of the season to make their purchases, marketers may want to take Marin's Search Marketer's Guide for the Holidays: 10 Tips for a Successful 2010 into consideration and start planning their holiday search campaigns now.

According to the report, consumers' online shopping activity is highest in December. Online purchases rise dramatically after Thanksgiving and elevate in the following month, and this translates into greater ROI on paid search campaigns. The source says paid search clicks rose by 18 percent and conversions increased 66 percent from November to December last year.

Still, it seems shoppers are somewhat true to their word about avoiding last-minute buying frenzies; the data shows that consumers' online activity peaks in the first week of December. Last year, paid search campaigns' performances during "Peak Week" were the highest of the holidays, garnering one-quarter of all paid search profits for the 2009 season.

With this conversion data in mind, marketers should start thinking about their December paid search campaigns now. "For smart marketers, increasing bids in advance of shifts in consumer buying behavior can be the difference between a good selling season and a great one," said Matt Lawson, vice president of marketing for Marin.

Further, Marin officials indicated to MediaPost that paid search campaigns targeting consumers on a budget may be wise as Google saw 38 percent more searches for coupons during the 2009 holiday season.

Marketers will want to prepare paid search ads for the search giant, but they may also want to create campaigns for Bing in light of its increasing prominence in the search market and its recent alliance with Yahoo. As Brafton previously reported, the two search engines combined now account for more than one-third of total core searches by comScore's measure.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.