Long Story Short: The Race to Amazon Compliant Titles

admin_fortress | Jun 21, 2019

Published in The Marketplace Playbook

Update 07/16/19: Amazon’s page regarding title compliancy has a couple of huge edits to it, making the content policies a LOT more relaxed but enforcement more terrifying.

For example, forward slashes and abbreviated measurements have been deemed acceptable. Also, ASINs are not being suppressed from search, the entire listing will be suppressed if it does not meet Amazon guidelines.

Double check these new rules and make sure your listings are in good shape before July 22nd.

Update 07/11/19: The official title character length is “200 characters maximum”

Original Story:

A daunting Seller Central News update has appeared, putting the fear of God into Amazon sellers all across the map: Amazon is suppressing ASINs from search results that are violating title guidelines.

The reason for Amazon’s unexpected enforcement? “… ASIN titles that violate our policies result in poor customer experience.”

To play Amazon’s advocate for a moment, this is a smart long-term move. Titles that use up the 200 character limit are prone to contain baseless benefits and empty promises that their products will not live up to. Think in the realm of cancer preventing, acne curing, cellulite removing miracle products that plague search results. I’m sick of seeing them and I know you are, too.

If Amazon is truly suppressing items from appearing in search results, the good, the bad, and the ugly titles are soon to be gone, leveling out the playing field for everyone and providing only the most necessary information for our valuable customers.

So how do you prepare for possible ASIN armageddon? Here’s an all-inclusive, very soon-to-be updated list of what we know so far regarding Amazon’s latest Seller update.

Dates to Remember

Amazon included two dates in their Seller Central News update:

July 15, 2019 – “Please review Amazon’s Product Title Requirements … to verify that your current titles meet our guidelines.”

July 22, 2019 – “Amazon will suppress ASINs from Amazon Search whose titles do not comply with Amazon’s product title requirements.”

Add these to your Google calendar and consider settling any title discrepancies pre-Prime Day – You’ll thank yourself later.

Know Your Limit

Before panicking about rewriting every title of your 1,000 SKU inventory, find the style guide for the product category/categories in which you sell.

Let’s dive into Consumer Electronics to learn more about these bizarrely specific character limits. The recommendation for products falling under the Consumer Electronics category allow 200 characters – with some caveats, of course.

Computer and Tablet Accessories, Computer Peripherals, and Personal Computers offer 150 characters, not the 200 from their parent category. Titles for GPS or Navigation Accessories do not have a suggested title limit, but do require quite a bit of information, according to their respective style guide:

Brand + Series Name + Model Name + Model Number (if app) + Form Factor + “with” Unique Thing (if applicable) + color, #-pack (if applicable)

Similar to the format above, the categories of Home Entertainment, MP3 Products, and Ink or Toner require such specific information for ASIN titles that a character limit is not given, explaining the 200 character giveaway.

This implies that consumers looking to shop for these specific product niches require a lot of information right up front, like what apps are integrated with the GPS and screen size.

On the other hand, the Health & Personal Care category has recommended a hard limit of 50 characters. I expected a more generous allowance here considering this category includes various pills and potions that Amazon shoppers are putting directly in and on their bodies.

Along with Health & Personal Care, Beauty, Lighting, Baby, Entertainment Collectibles, and Sports & Outdoors, are some of the categories that are limiting titles to 50 characters. This list is not all inclusive, so please do the necessary research for the products you’re pedalling.

Keep it Clean

Symbols also need to be removed from titles. Amazon does not state that this list of symbols is all inclusive, but make sure at the very least your titles are clear of these:

~ ! * $ ? _ ~ { } [ ] # < > | * ; / ^ ¬ ¦

As of June 20th, 2019, the recommendation for title length, which was formerly just left up to the category and not a universal suggestion, was upped to 200 characters.

The best news of all about unexpected, seemingly scary Amazon updates? You don’t have to worry about them if you partner with Fortress Brand. We’re the Amazon compliance experts and don’t rely on spammy titles to boost your sales. We put in the hard work to build up your presence on Amazon for long-term, sustainable success.