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5 Simple Things Most Brands Get Wrong on Amazon

By Published on .

Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

As we work with more and more brands seeking to master their Amazon strategy, a few things have become clear. Brands understand the power of Amazon—the retail site saw a 32 percent increase in revenue in 2017, well above the 3.8 percent increase in total 2017 retail sales in the U.S. And they're committed to winning in its endless aisles, shifting more of their marketing spend to Amazon through either its paid search options or its more glamorous, more expensive media options.

But there's one mistake far too many are making: spending money before they've executed the brilliant basics. Brilliant basics are something we've long applied to our clients when it comes to search and discovery marketing off Amazon. But it certainly applies to it on Amazon as well, where the quality of your product detail page will impact the business performance of your media.
Essentially, a product detail page needs to substitute for the experience of holding the product in store.

Before you spend your hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars on Amazon, it's critical to make sure you have the brilliant basics in place—and the value is easy to prove. Increasing your conversion rate by 20 percent is like adding $400,000 to a $2 million media budget.

The right images
The hero image is the most important piece of your product detail page. A good hero image is eye-catching and attractive, and immediately lets your consumer know what your product is, how it's used, and why they want it. Critically, the hero image is also used as the main image in your product search, and needs to be immediately identifiable from a thumbnail. It should always convey the product in the most attractive light.

After nailing your dazzling hero image, consider what the consumer would get if they were actually holding the product in their hand. Use additional images to show your packaging from all angles, the product inside and outside the packaging, and one or two lifestyle images demonstrating how the consumer would use the product, and how much they'll love it.

The right title
If the first thing your consumer sees on their buying journey is the hero image, the second is the title. The Title lets them know exactly what the product is, including who your brand is. Titles need to be simple and easy to read. In the past, brands were putting as much detail in their titles as possible, hoping to optimize for organic search. These days, that's considered a "worst practice," as it makes it harder for the consumer to digest and may result in Amazon penalizing the product in search. Instead, keep your title within 80-100 characters.

The best format for a title varies by category, but should begin with your brand name, then the line/sub brand, then one important distinguisher (model number, fabric type, etc.), then the product type, and lastly the color and pack size. For example:

  • Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling – Black
  • L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, Carbon Black, 0.26 Fluid Ounce

The right bullet points
Immediately after glancing at your title (and your price!), consumers will scan your bullet points. You'll want to make sure these are interesting, easily read, and communicate exactly what the consumer needs to know without being repetitive – don't waste the space by telling consumers what they already know. Make your brand voice come out as well, to feel a bit more personable to the consumer.

It's best to use the first bullet to give a general description of your product, the second to mention the materials and construction, the third and fourth to explain the cool features that set your product apart, and the final bullet to let consumers know exactly what's in the box.

Resist the urge to use all of the space available to you, or to employ all-caps words and special characters – these just make the bullets harder to read. Keep each one within 80-120 characters – any shorter and you're missing an opportunity to differentiate your brand and product, any longer and you're creating a wall of text the consumer won't read.

The right product description
Ideally, the consumer already knows the most important aspects of your product and why they want it. The images, title and bullet points should tell them exactly why they need your product in their life (and not your competitor's.)

The product description lets brands get more detailed about how the product is used, or how important it is. Once again, consider your brand voice when writing these. Avoid cutting-and-pasting from your physical packaging, and instead use this space to write a paragraph directly to the e-commerce consumer. Don't repeat what you've already said in the title and bullet points, as not only is the consumer already aware of this information, but you'll just be reusing the same terms and missing the opportunity to expand the terms consumers can use when searching for your product.

If you're using Amazon's marketing platform A+ Content (and you should be, A+ Content increases conversion up to 11 percent), then you should be optimizing your product description more for SEO than for information, as your A+ Content should be delivering all the information your Product Description would, only in a far more effective manner.

Hidden keywords
Hidden keywords are brands' opportunity to insert keywords to their product detail page (PDP) that aren't visible elsewhere. These are the keywords that a brand wants their product associated with, even if they don't easily fit into the PDP content without losing form over function. Think very hard about how consumers may search for your product, and make sure you're using this space to cover each way your product may be found. This space counts about equally with the Product Description in where Amazon chooses to display your product in search.

Don't add misleading terms to your hidden keywords even if it gooses traffic, though, as this will get the wrong consumers clicking into your product and reduce your conversion rate. Also avoid competitor brand names, as this is misleading and frowned upon by Amazon.

Amazon allows for 1000 characters in the hidden keywords space, but only indexes 250 characters. So make certain you're limiting your hidden keywords to just that space.

Brands should absolutely continue to invest in Amazon as part of their e-commerce strategy. But just as a house built on a faulty foundation is bound to encounter avoidable and potentially costly repairs down the line, it's important to sweat the basic details first to avoid problems later – and make sure your investment works.

Will Margaritis is VP of e-commerce at advertising agency 360i.

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