Ever read a lengthy product description that left you more confused about what the product does? You probably bounced after 20 seconds of skimming the lengthy description on the page.
What is the Ideal Length of a Product Description? Should every product copy have the same word count? Is less always better?
Some expert copywriters believe that long-form product description copy is better, while others advocate for a short-form copy.
The real question is how much information is required to turn a prospect into a customer?
Overwhelming prospects with fluff and long copy for the sake of it won’t convert anyone. If 200 words are all you need, communicate your message in a short copy. In the same vein, thin content that doesn’t explain the benefits or shows the user how the product alleviates a pain point falls short.
How to Determine the Ideal Length of a Product Description
What length of product copy is your audience used to? I always advise marketers and copywriters to conduct competitor research before writing a line of text.
When you browse through your top competitors, you’ll notice the average length of text that converts for the most successful e-commerce stores. Amazon is a great yardstick. Your competitors are selling there. Use the best selling products as inspiration.
For instance, if you are writing for young women buying designer shoes, they don’t have the patience to read a long product description copy. Young people usually access the internet via a mobile device.
Remember that long product copy appears longer on a mobile screen. Bullet points and concise sentences explaining the benefits usually suffice.
If you’re selling regular products such as a bath soap and toilet paper, you don’t need a long product description to convert.
Conversely, if you’re selling an SEO software kit or a Sharp 3 in 1 photocopying machine to someone who has never used either product, the product description would be longer.
You have two tasks to accomplish – Convey value and explain what the product does. However, bullet points still apply. They make your text easier to digest.Remember that long product copy appears longer on a mobile screen. Bullet points and concise sentences explaining the benefits usually suffice. Click To Tweet
2. Write with Buyer Awareness in Mind
Continuing from the previous point. The level of awareness about the product determines the length.
If you’re writing a product copy for a new product that no one has ever heard about, you have to write a longer copy to persuade them to buy.
If they are aware of the product or have bought it in the past, shorter copy works because you don’t have to do much selling. Brian Clark explains it better
If the buyer has a high awareness of the solution, don’t beat around the bush. Make it short and sweet. If the buyer has a high awareness but isn’t sure if the product is right for them, provide assurances and incentives to get them to the finish life.
If they know the solution they need but not the product, empathise with their need while positioning the product as the ideal choice. For buyers who are completely unaware of the product, storytelling educates them on the problem and positions your product as the ideal solution.If they know the solution they need but not the product, empathise with their need while positioning the product as the ideal choice. Click To Tweet
3. Address the features and benefits
No matter how long or how short your product description is, it should highlight the features and benefits. The length of your product description won’t matter if the reader or shopper doesn’t convert.
This example from Bamboo is ideal. They highlight the key features in ALL CAPS and bold. They also explain the benefit of each feature.
4. Design Requirements
Balance the word-count with the product images. I love product pages with lots of white space because it allows me to focus on the product image and the copy. It also improves readability on the page.
This example from the Mountain shows the product image on the left and the copy on the right. If you go further down the page, they list the benefits and the features. The orange coloured “Add to Cart” button ensures the customer knows what to do next.
5. Optimise for SEO
Optimize your product description for SEO. This is especially important if your company is new or you’re introducing a product line that your audience isn’t aware of. Long tail keywords are particularly effective if you want to attract a targeted audience that is at a higher stage of awareness.
I advise that you write first and optimise second. Else, you’ll lose the natural flow of the copy if you try to incorporate keywords whilst writing. The goal is to make the keywords appear naturally inserted in the copy. Add the keyword
- In the headline
- Product Image Alt Tag
- Body of the copy
When Is a Product Copy Too Long?
As a rule of thumb, your product copy shouldn’t exceed 600 words or it ends up being repetitive. If you find that you’re repeating yourself, go back and make some cuts.
Research has shown that people don’t read text that is too long. In another study, researchers found that readers comprehended and remembered information more easily when the text was cut short by 54%. Grammatical fillers such as pronouns take up unnecessary space.As a rule of thumb, your product copy shouldn't exceed 600 words or it ends up being repetitive. If you find that you're repeating yourself, go back and make some cuts. Click To Tweet
When Is a Product Copy Too Short?
A study published on PR News Wire revealed that 40% of online product returns resulted from an unclear product description copy that didn’t meet the expectation of the buyer.
Sometimes, less is more. But if you don’t communicate your offer, you’ve lost the opportunity to convert. Include as much information as is required to eliminate buyer objections and drive sales.
For instance, if you’re selling t-shirts, your audience doesn’t need a long copy of the benefits. But they need to know if the t-shirt requires special care
If you’re selling a disruptive product such as organic shampoo, a short copy won’t cut it. You need to convince your audience that an organic shampoo works better for their hair than a generic shampoo.
Only write a long copy when the product…
- Requires special care such as handling, storage or washing
- Has multiple benefits you need to explain
- Includes instruction on how to use or assemble the product
- Has unique details you want to share
- Has limitations the buyer should be aware of
Your audience and their awareness stage of your product are key determinants of the length of your product description. What type of device are they on? How many words do you need to sell the product convincingly? If you’re unsure, write a long and short copy and A/B test them to see which performs better.
Struggling to write the perfect product description for your e-commerce store? Contact Zenith Copy today to get product copy that persuades your audience to take action.