With 96% of Americans making online purchases in 2018, and 80% of those making at least one purchase in a month, you can see the importance of optimizing your product pages, and product descriptions are a key element. However hard you work on the rest of the page, if you get the product copy wrong, all the work you’ve put into the rest of the page is wasted. Bad product copy creates a bad user experience, and it doesn’t do well in the SERPs, either. How long a product description should be is just one of the many factors you need to consider when optimizing your product pages.
Just How Important Is Word Count for Product Descriptions?
Extremely. But it’s not as straightforward as “you must write 400 words for every product you carry”. It’s subtler. And there’s a number of things that contribute to the final decision regarding how long a product description should be. The key is to strike a balance between pleasing the Google Gods and creating the best user experience. There’s a marked difference between informative and engaging copy that gives the reader everything they need to know to make a buying decision, and padding a description with vague fluff and generic statements that add to the word count without adding value.
What to Consider When Determining How Long a Product Description Should Be
There’s no hard and fast rules for maximum or minimum word count for product descriptions, but here at eZdia, we’re experts in creating optimized product content that converts, so we’re sharing some of our key industry insights and guidance with you to help you win the content wars.
Type of Product
The type of product you’re selling is the main influencer that determines the length of your product descriptions. For example, a computer, large appliance, power tool, or electronic device requires a longer, more robust product description than apparel, simple tools, wires and connectors, kitchen accessories, or soft furnishings. When deciding how long your product descriptions should be, think about how many attributes, features, uses, benefits, and specifications your product has. If it doesn’t have many attributes or specifications outside of color and size, then you need a shorter word count. If your products are more complex, with lots of specs and features, then you need a longer description. You need enough words to convey all of the relevant information that the reader needs to make a purchase. If they have to leave your site to find more information on the product, they’ll buy from wherever it is they find the info they need. Depending on the client, their products, and their KPIs, we generally recommend 125-150 words for simple products like apparel, and 350-400 words for complex products like electronics and large appliances.
Bullets are exceptionally effective when combined with a paragraph or more of product copy. Bulleted lists let you provide a rapidly scannable list of all the key features and specifications. They reduce overall wordcount, improve readability, and let your consumers quickly decide if the product might meet their needs, in which case, they can read your paragraph copy.
Using Feature/Benefit Structure
So many posts have been circulating the internet in recent years about only talking about benefits and ignoring the features. This is bad advice — and it just leads to vague, nonsensical waffle. It’s an over-simplified, distorted twist on the real best practices, to the extent that it’s moved beyond meaningless, into dangerous, because using the “benefits only” approach will harm your bottom line.
Product descriptions that sell seamlessly combine features and benefits. Yes, people want to know how a product is going to help them and therefore why they should buy it, but they need the hard facts, too. It’s true that you need to keep the focus on the reader rather than the product, but you don’t do that by eliminating features. You do it by relating how each product feature benefits the buyer.
There is no ecommerce niche where a fluffy paragraph of imagined benefits will outsell a well-crafted paragraph full of relatable features and their associated benefits. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling cuddly soft toys or cell phones. Features are equally as important as benefits.
While you should, of course, give product specifics, what people really want to know is how the product helps them, solves their problems, and what they can achieve with the product. The key is to combine the key features and the benefits each provide. Understanding the difference between a feature and a benefit is the first step.
- A feature is a fact or characteristic of your product.
- Resolution, size, weight, connectivity options, ports, included software, and similar all count as features.
- A benefit tells the reader how the product or a feature of that product benefits them.
- How it solves a pain point or problem, how it improves efficiency, saves time, money, and so on.
Let’s take a look at a bed. People don’t want to buy a bed — they want to get a good night’s sleep. However, they need to know the features and how they are of benefit to make an informed purchase.
Features only: “This bed has a four-drawer divan base and a memory foam mattress.”
Benefits only: “Enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep on this mattress and divan base in your uncluttered bedroom.”
Feature/benefit structure: “Keep your bedroom organized and uncluttered with this four-drawer divan base. The memory foam mattress cradles your body, eliminating painful pressure points and ensuring your body remains in the proper alignment, giving you a restful, comfortable night’s sleep.”
Therefore, when determining product description length, make sure you leave enough room to accommodate a proper feature/benefit structure.
Keep it concise. Avoid cliches, jargon, and fluff at all costs. People don’t want waffle – they are busy and their time is limited, so get to the point. Don’t use 20 words when 11 will do.
And don’t be vague and ambiguous. Employ clarity in your product descriptions. Consumers don’t want a bamboozling intellectual challenge, they just want to know if the product they’re looking at meets their needs.
Avoid fluffy, salesy, promotional language. It’s a major turnoff. The modern consumer is smart and savvy and won’t be hoodwinked by exaggerated claims and over-promises. Be honest. And don’t try to sell to your reader – inform them.
Product description word count depends on many factors, and it’s part art, part science — too little content, and you send potential customers away to find the information elsewhere, too much, and you lose potential customers who are intimidated by big walls of waffly text. Make it easy for your visitors to make a purchasing decision. Concern yourself with the clarity and quality of your content and how it improves the user experience. And use the experts here at eZdia as your ecommerce content solution provider – we’re an outstanding resource for seo analysis and improvement, and product copy.