This post is by Jacques van der Wilt. Jacques is a shopping feeds industry leader and the founder of DataFeedWatch, a leading global feed management and optimization company that helps online merchants optimize their product listings on more than 1,000 shopping channels in over 50 countries.
If you think about what contributes to your buying decision when shopping on Amazon, the answer would almost certainly include product reviews and the content of the product description. When you’re buying a low-value item the description might play a less important role, but for a high-value item, like a camera, you’ll ideally want detailed content that highlights all the features of the product.
This is where Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) comes in, as it facilitates the customer’s need to find detailed content, and allows private label owners to enrich their product detail page with additional images and richly formatted text blocks.
In this article, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at all things EBC, including who is eligible to use it, advantages and disadvantages, and how to make sure that you’re using EBC effectively.
What is EBC?
Historically, Amazon hasn’t given sellers many options for presenting their products in an attractive way. They’ve been left to work their magic through a title, five bullet points and a product description. Sellers with basic HTML skills held a slight advantage, as they could use it to apply at least a little bit of structure to their product descriptions.
EBC is a move away from this, as it gives sellers the opportunity to do more with their listings through the use of five static design templates, each with a different combination of images and text. This means that listings created using EBC can include more than just the seven images that feature in the top half of the product detail page. The idea is that sellers can use the templates to show their product in action, draw attention to specific features or better illustrate a product’s dimensions.
Who can use EBC?
Enhanced Brand Content is available to private labelers and brand owners, who sell through Amazon marketplace, and have their brand successfully registered in Amazon’s Brand Registry program.
If you’re a brand owner but you haven’t enrolled in the Brand Registry program yet, you can start the process here. Remember, you are only eligible for the Brand Registry program if you have a registered trademark.
In terms of location, originally EBC was only available to Amazon sellers in the US, but it is now available to sellers on Amazon’s European marketplaces.
Difference between EBC and A+ Content
There is still some confusion between EBC and A+ content, which is understandable as they have very similar purposes – to enhance your offerings by making them look more professional.
The primary difference between the two is the type of seller that can use them. EBC is a tool in Seller Central, only available to brand owners that sell third party through the Amazon Marketplace, whereas A+ Content is a tool in Vendor Central for sellers who sell their products first party to Amazon.
They also have different design options. With EBC there is a choice of five static design templates, that offer different combinations of images and text. In contrast, with A+ Content, you can choose from a number of standard and advanced modules, and banners, to include in your design. The increased functionality is reflected in the price though, as creating a listing using A+ Content can cost anywhere between $400-$1,200 per ASIN. This is another key differential between the two, as at the time of writing, EBC is still free to use.
Why use EBC?
EBC allows sellers to provide a greater level of detail about their products. This means that not only do buyers make a more informed decision about purchasing your product, they also get a sense of what your brand stands for. In theory, this should lead to fewer negative reviews and returns, because customers have a much better idea of what they’re purchasing.
It can also be good for your metrics, as according to Amazon, using EBC can increase your sales and conversion rate. And, while there’s much debate around whether EBC content is indexed or not, an increase in sales and conversion rate can generate more traffic to your listing, as it would be appear higher in Amazon’s search results.
The fact that EBC is free is another big advantage, and while there are other costs involved, you lose nothing by trying. If you decide that EBC isn’t having any effect, you can remove your listing and return to your original, standard Amazon listing.
Disadvantages of using EBC
On the flip side, there are a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before deciding to use EBC. Firstly, it’s important to remember that although using EBC is free, there are still costs involved, such as taking and editing hi-res images. Equally, if you had previously used HTML on your Amazon listing, it’s important to note that you can’t do this with EBC.
While these are minor points, there are three bigger issues that you should be aware of:
Because the use of EBC is limited to sellers with products in Brand Registry, it means that sellers in categories that are exempt from applying to Brand Registry, for instance those in the Books, Music, Video and DVD category, won’t be able to benefit from enhanced listings.
As we mentioned earlier, you can create EBC listings for any product that you are the registered brand owner of and have a Global Catalog Identifier (GCID) for. However, if any of these products have previously been listed by a retailer on Amazon, then you won’t be able to create EBC listings for that product.
EBC content is not indexed
Possibly the biggest downside of using EBC, is that many sellers believe EBC content is not indexed by Amazon. This means that none of the content you include in the listing will have a direct impact on your search ranking. So while using EBC content might increase traffic indirectly, through an increase in conversion rate, it won’t drive search traffic to additional keywords not in your standard Amazon listing. This is because your existing product description still exists, unseen, but still indexed, underneath the EBC content.
EBC content is approved by humans
A key difference between a standard Amazon listing and an EBC listing, is that all EBC content is approved by humans. This has two slight downsides.
The first is that it takes longer for your listings to be published, as you may have to wait up to seven days for your EBC content to be approved. It is also not uncommon for your EBC content to be rejected, which means you’ll have to resubmit it and wait another seven days, or more, depending on whether you’re edited content is accepted.
The second, is that the team which approves EBC content strictly adheres to the rules, and even copy that you had in an existing, standard, product description could be rejected if you submitted it as EBC content. It means that you’re going to need to write all new copy, with the rules about EBC content in mind, to avoid wasting time having your content rejected.
EBC best practice
In general, EBC is a tool that helps you customize your product detail page. Every brand has its own identity and value, which is why the brand owner is best placed to know how to use the templates to reflect that. But, from our experience, and taking into account Amazon’s rules on EBC, there are some general tips for getting the most out of EBC.
- Test your products one by one and measure how they perform with a listing created through EBC, compared to a standard Amazon listing. This will show how effective EBC is for your products.
- Invest your time wisely! Don’t waste it creating EBC listings for low-value items like a simple pen, focus on creating EBC listings for high-value items like cameras.
- Be professional and take the time to put together a quality listing. Make sure that there are no spelling mistakes and don’t repeat information! You get limited space for text in the template, so use it efficiently, making sure content is slick and to the point.
- Don’t include images just for decoration, use them to add something to your listing, for instance to highlight the key elements of your product.
- Use images you have not used in the first half of your product detail page (not from the main image block).
- Choose your EBC template according the additional images that you have available (e.g choose template number five if you only have one additional image).
- Analyze the Q&A section of your product listing to see what questions customers are regularly asking about your product. Then, edit your EBC to make sure that it provides the answers.
- Make sure you don’t delete your original product description, as while it isn’t visible to the shopper, it still gets indexed by Amazon.
- Finally, always use high quality images! To get your images to fit the template perfectly and give your listing a professional finish, follow the image guidelines in the table below.
|Template||Image Guidelines||Text Placements|
|1||8 images – max size 300 x 650 pixels each||4 additional text placements|
|2||1 header image – max size 970 x 600 pixels and 8 images – max size 300 x 650 pixels each||4 additional text placements|
|3||2 images – max size 970 x 600 pixels each||2 additional text placements|
|4||1 header image – max size 970 x 600 pixels and 5 images – max size 300 x 300 pixels each||6 additional text placements|
|5||1 large image – max size 970 x 1300 pixels||1 additional text placements|
Alongside these points, it’s important to read Amazon’s rules regarding EBC, as there are a lot of things you aren’t allowed to include such as warranty information, promotional language, customer reviews and time-related offers. And, unlike with standard Amazon listings, EBC content is reviewed by humans, which means these rules are actively enforced and content will be rejected. The full list of rules can be found in Seller Central.
Examples of EBC
Example 1: Storage cube
Example 2: Pet carrier
Rumors about EBC in the Future
Amazon usually pilots new tools by in the USA first, before launching the tool on its other marketplaces. The latest version of EBC is no exception: at the Amazon Seller Summit in NYC at the end of June, people spoke about Premium Enhanced Brand Content.
In that version of EBC, which will probably be a paid-for service, sellers will have access to more templates. Attendees at the summit spoke about 15 different modules that sellers will be able to use to enhance their existing product detail pages. This may include the ability to insert larger images, as well as the ability to add video content.
To sum it up, EBC offers sellers a great opportunity to showcase their products by creating high-quality content that tells a story. If you’re a brand owner, don’t be put off by having to complete the Brand Registry process, as using EBC correctly can give sellers the chance to boost their sales.
This post was by Jacques van der Wilt. Jacques is a shopping feeds industry leader, start-up mentor, entrepreneur and the founder of DataFeedWatch.
This post was written with Alex Knight.