ANALYSIS: Study Reveals 4 Key Characteristics of Top-Performing Product Titles

If there’s one trend the past several months have revealed, it’s that the tremendous shift to online shopping is far from over. Online goods spend grew by 95 percent year-on-year, and industry experts expect to see continued e-commerce growth in the months and years to come.

As brands and retailers determine how to capitalise on this accelerated growth, many are finding it’s time to focus on key strategies for keeping products in front of purchase-ready consumers. As part of this process, successful sellers are discovering that optimised product listings — or, to be more specific, product titles — are one of the most effective ways to do just that.

Whether on major marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, in shopping engines and retail sites, or even within a company’s own webstore, product titles have a direct impact on purchasing decisions. The title is the first representation of a product that online shoppers see, and can directly influence what people choose to select or skim over. In addition, product titles are used by algorithms to index and assign rankings in search results.

However, research shows that not all product listings are created equal.

In a recent study conducted by ChannelAdvisor, e-commerce experts evaluated 7,000 best-selling products on Amazon. The analysis revealed several common characteristics across high-performing titles on one of the world’s top e-commerce channels and led to the identification of several best practices that can be replicated elsewhere.

Namely, the research surfaced four essential elements of revenue-driving product titles.

1. Max Out Character Limits.

Roughly 90 percent of the best-selling product pages analysed for the study had more than 50 characters in their titles. Of those, half included 50 to 100 characters, and 39 percent had more than 100 characters. And the longer the titles, the better they performed — both in terms of search performance and click-through rates (CTR). By maxing out character limits for each individual marketplace and retail channel, brands and retailers can include the various keywords consumers use when searching for products. This strategy not only helps boost search traffic but can have a direct impact on sales as well.

2. Put the Brand Name First.

Analysis further revealed that placing a product’s brand name at the beginning of the title also has an impact on sales. More than 90% of analysed best-selling product titles included the name of the brand. And 9 times out of 10, the brand name was the very first word used. The finding indicates that giving the brand name a place of prominence in product titles not only increases visibility, but may also encourage purchases.

3. Highlight Features and Attributes.

ChannelAdvisor’s study sample also found that best-selling product titles included an average of 4.4 attributes. The research indicates that including three to four strong characteristics per title can go a long way in generating additional sales. Colours, compatibility, the number of units and other unique features can all help make a product listing stand out to purchase-ready shoppers as they research specific items.

4. Consider Including the Model Number or Manufacturer Part Number (MPN).

More than 40 percent of analysed product titles contained a reference code or product code. Many of those listings were for electronic products, which tend to have higher levels of MPN-based search volume. However, the method can still be applied to many other categories as well, particularly for items where the additional detail helps shoppers easily differentiate between products.

Additional research from ChannelAdvisor has also revealed other best practices.

Based on various e-commerce success stories from brands and retailers listing products on hundreds of channels, specialists have found that synonyms are also an important component of strong titles. For example, if a title includes the term ‘USB stick,’ including additional keywords such as ‘flash drive’ and ‘thumb drive’ can help ensure the product listing surfaces in related results for those searches, too. In addition, capitalising important words can help draw attention to important selling points.

As consumers meet more of their shopping needs online, brands and retailers will continue to see the competition increase. Optimising titles offers a reliable, proven method for making products stand out in search results and encouraging clicks. In fact, many companies place such a high priority on this method that they’re turning to specialised e-commerce platforms to automate the process across multiple channels. Whether tackled all at once or incrementally, product titles will continue to play an important role in successful e-commerce strategies.

Dominic Grevsmuehl is the Manager of Client Services, APAC, ChannelAdvisor

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