With search being central to the consumer shopping cycle, search should be part of your strategy to not only drives sales, but also build your brand awareness as consumers are considering what gifts to buy for the holidays.

In a joint test with Levi's, Google found that paid search ads, whether or not clicked, raised consumer awareness of the Levi's brand.

When in-market consumers were asked which brand of jeans came to mind, 53% of consumers named Levi's when a Levi's search ad was in the top sponsored position, compared to 30% who named Levi's when there was no Levi's search ad on the page. (a statistically significant lift)

Better yet, when Levi's "non-customers" (people who hadn't bought Levi's jeans in the past 6 months) were asked the same question, 45% named Levi's when the ad was in the top sponsored position, versus 23% who named Levi's when there was no ad in the search results. (also statistically significant)

Placing your ad in top paid position can increase top of mind awareness for both current customers and non-customers, a desirable outcome at the time when consumers are making their holiday gift lists.

Source: Google/OTX Brand Lift of Search study, April 2009. Research was sponsored by Google, conducted by OTX, an independent marketing research company, in a controlled "laboratory" format that mimicked an actual online search query. Question asked: "Thinking about specific brands of jeans, which one brand comes to mind? Please only write in the first brand that comes to mind." Results are a significant increase from control (no exposure) at 95% confidence. n=2,000 online consumers who had recently purchased jeans or intended to soon.