You've been asking your Brand Marketing team for PDP content, but they kept sending you pack shots and copy from the brand website. Finally, you got the call you’ve been waiting for: “We heard you need some content and we're ready to help. But first, can you explain why we can't just send you our website copy and assets?"
After you get past your SMH moment, now is the chance to educate your brand partners on what ecommerce-ready content means.
First, let’s start with what’s wrong with using brand content for ecommerce – what’s the difference and how do you explain it to them? Brand websites are typically consumer-oriented, meaning the primary objective is to convince the visitor why consuming the product will benefit them. They are copy and image heavy, with plenty of brand-friendly language to describe the brand’s attributes and enhance the brand’s overall equity.
Ecommerce-ready content, however, has to work much harder in a confined amount of space based on each retailer’s specifications. The primary objective is to convert the visit into a purchase. As a result, imagery is more limited and copy must be short and to the point.
One way to explain it is that when you, as a consumer, are going to a brand website, you are likely in research mode and want to learn more about the brand. When you go to a Product Detail Page (PDP), you are likely ready to make a purchase in the very near or immediate future. Being further down the funnel, you need information faster that is more to the point, less in-depth and drives conversion.
Another way to explain it might be to suggest they start by thinking about how they would talk about their brand with someone at a party, vs how they might talk about the brand during an in-store demo – the first is consumer language designed to engage with the brand whereas the second is shopper language designed to sell a product. Here’s an example from L’Oreal Revitalift:
- Website: “Smooth, firm, and hydrate sensitive skin prone to visible signs of aging.”
- PDP: “ANTI-AGING DAY CREAM: Face and neck moisturizer to fight wrinkles and firm skin”
So now they understand the differences between consumer content and ecommerce-ready content. Congratulations! Now what do you actually need from them? The five fundamentals are: images, titles, keywords, features, and descriptions. Bonus: video, enhanced content, and other elements where appropriate such as ingredients, directions, warnings, etc.
Hero image: The front panel will be your primary image. A 'Good' image should be 1500dpi to ensure you get maximum magnification capabilities for every retailer. A 'Better' image will be modified to amplify the key product attributes such as brand and type/flavor and remove the copy that will be far too small to see on desktop, and certainly mobile. For 'Best' examples, Cambridge University and Unilever have established an open source standard for Mobile Ready Hero images. Remember: Marketing created that packaging to look great on a physical shelf standing 2'-3' away. That same packaging is likely to be illegible when it’s the size of your thumbnail on a mobile device.
Secondary images: Your secondary images should be your bullets in visual form, highlighting the benefits over the features. Using lifestyle images with your copy can help set the tone to the consumer, and wherever possible, be creative to show multiple benefits at once. This image from Philips shows how many colors, what the app looks like, and that it is so easy a child can use it. Remember, in certain mobile apps, your images are the first touchpoint for the consumer. If you don’t think you have enough engaging content and/or are not sure what product benefits and features are of greatest interest to your shoppers, read customer reviews of your products and competitor products within the category, as well as the questions on Amazon’s Q&A section of each PDP, to mine and better understand what matters most to the shopper. Consumer generated content can provide some of the richest insights for improved product communication and increased conversion.
Title copy: This is NOT the name on the package. Often category keywords that algorithms use to deliver search results are missing from the product name. For example, a toothpaste item with a whitening benefit might not have ‘whitening’ in the product name, but you need that word in the product title because that’s what shoppers are searching for. Also keep in mind that in mobile, the title will likely be truncated so the first few words matter the most. Avoid product / model numbers or excessive brand references in the first few words that don’t help the shopper with figuring out what the product is or does.
Keywords: Many retailers offer hidden keyword fields to inform search algorithms but usually more important are the keywords you add to the product title and primary copy fields – feature bullets and/or descriptions. The keywords should be based on how shoppers are looking for your products on a retailer site (offline corollary: overhead and in-aisle signage to support wayfinding), rather than a consumer search on google. Reviews are a great source to mine for the language shoppers are using to describe your products! You can also get these keywords from some retailers, to some extent from google, or third-party resources such as OneSpace, who work with brands to create content based on how shoppers shop online.
Feature bullets: Eye tracking research confirms shoppers scan the first 1-2 words of feature bullets and rarely go further unless they see something that is relevant to them. Therefore, bullets should lead with compelling action words that deliver benefits. Instead of: “good for whitening teeth,” go with something like, “Whitens teeth to brighten your smile.” You also want at least 6 feature bullets, but as many as 10 if possible for retailers that have the capability. On Amazon, for example, if you don’t supply enough bullets allowed in the category, Amazon will pull them from associated 3rd party listings, that are usually not brand approved.
Descriptions: Product descriptions are on area where existing brand copy might make sense to use, provided it’s at least 200 words and is specific to the product on the PDP. One mistake brands often make is using the same generic brand copy on all product variations. It’s better to have descriptions specific to the product so search results are more accurate and the experience is better for the shopper, which in turn drives conversion.
Video: Video is rapidly rising in importance. For example, if you share an Amazon listing via text using the sharing link on the PDP, usually the preview used is the video if one is available, rather than the primary image. Similar to the in-store demo analogy, you want videos that explain the product and how it works, not a TV commercial. Keep in mind many people browse with audio turned off so quick and digestible copy, or subtitles, should be overlaid on the video.
Enhanced Content: This is where brand content has a place to shine. Pulling in copy and assets from the brand website will have a great home in the enhanced content fields. Your marketing partners will be delighted to see their assets in use so be sure to work with them on these parts of the PDP.
Nutrition panels: Some retailers want the text from the nutrition panels while others want images of the nutrition panel. Be sure to work with your brand partners to provide both. And don’t miss an opportunity to make these panel images more branded and engaging as well. This is an example from Flintstones vitamins of what simple branding can do to enhance an otherwise “boring” Supplement Facts panel.
One last note. If the brand can help with grouping products by product family and type, retailers like Amazon will be able to use that information to create variations of a product family on one PDP. That way, the PDP gets more traffic and weighs more heavily in search. It’s important to be thoughtful because reviews will also get aggregated, so purchase decision trees come in. For example, puppy and senior dog variants may not make sense on the same PDP, whereas flavors and sizes of the puppy product line would.
It’s always a happy day when your brand partners are ready to support you with content. While any content is better than none, ecommerce-ready content will distinguish your listings from competitors, drive search rankings, and ultimately drive more conversion. Being prepared with specifications and requirements will help smooth the development of the assets and start capturing more sales.
For help with PDP monitoring for content quality, availability, search rank, ratings and reviews, and price and promotions tracking, Edge by Ascential can help - fill out the form below! We can also recommend partners for content creation, including OneSpace, as well as Flywheel Digital for end-to-end ecommerce execution and support, including PDP and logistics management and AMS/Advertising management.
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