By now the smell of baked gingerbread cookies is in the air, the fireplace is burning, the tree is lit, Mom is wrapping gifts, and Dad is … well … Dad is realizing that he hasn’t finished --or started -- Christmas shopping yet.

According to a December 15th PR Newswire article, “Almost half of men (48%) regard holiday shopping as worse than the stress of being dumped by their girlfriend, losing their job, or moving home.”

Have no fear, men! Last year you weren’t alone. In 2009, online retailers saw an increase in last minute shoppers - including both men and women - many of whom were holding out for better deals near the end of the season. For all of the online retailers this year, make sure that you keep those little elves working and your stores ready for the final rings of the cash register.

Even though we make it sound so easy, this time of year many offices often resemble the Nightmare Before Christmas as everyone tries to complete their lengthy to-do list before the holiday celebrations begin. In hopes of simplifying your tasks, I wanted to offer you a few key account areas to watch throughout the next few days:

An Online Advertiser’s Holiday Checklist:

1. Aggressive Bidding
Many retailers raise their bids around November/December in attempt to capture the increased holiday traffic.

ACTION: Monitor your average position changes and increase bids as needed.

2. Monitoring Budgets
Watch your budgets carefully this month in order to allow your ads to compete for optimal traffic throughout the day.

ACTION: Monitor CPC levels and budget utilization to best allocate dollars.

3. Keyword Review
Review your top converting keywords and determine the following:
  • Landing Page - Is it correct?
  • Bid Level - Is my ad above the fold? On the first page?
  • Expansion Opportunities - Can I expand this keyword for the holidays?
ACTION: Investigate the Keywords Tab in AdWords to answer the questions above and make changes.

4. Analyze Traffic Sources:
By selecting the “click type” option from the “Segment” button above the graph in AdWords, you can view the traffic generated from mobile devices.

ACTION: Consider building mobile-only campaigns to target this audience effectively.

Hopefully this list helped you uncover some quick wins this holiday. If you’re not sure if you’ve missed something, Santa recommends that you check the list twice!

Posted by Terra Teague, Google Retail Team