Product Descriptions: Is Shorter Really Better?

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Dear Kara,

This week while perusing my online campaigns, I stumbled upon the Capterra directory page to check out our listings. I noticed that Capterra had done a complete redesign of the site and directory pages! I like the new look, but I have a few questions regarding our ad…dear kara product descriptions

Previously, the product description on our ads was much longer. When I look at the pages now, the description is much shorter. I logged into my vendor portal, and I noticed I now have the option to write two variations. A long one that is 500 characters and a shorter description that is 135 characters.

With the longer ad variation, we were able to give an in-depth description of our product and list our award-winning features. Providing these details has always resulted in a high volume of quality clicks to our listing. I understand your desire for a simplified interface, but I’m concerned that we won’t be able to put our best foot forward with 135 characters. Do you think this will reduce the volume of traffic we’ll receive?

If you could shed some light as to why this decision was made, that would be great!

Short Description Disbeliever

Dear Disbeliever,

Thank you for taking the time to look at the site! We’re pretty amped about the new design.

Our driving motivation to launch the new site was to improve the overall Capterra buyer experience. The cleaner, simpler look of the new directory enables our buyers to easily filter, review, compare, and find the right software.

The ever gaining popularity and prominence of social media has lead to an epidemic of lazy internet users. Gone are the days of reading long-form online text word for word. Most buyers who contact Capterra are searching for software in addition to working full time. If what they have to read is longer than a tweet or Facebook update, it’s unlikely they’ll receive your message. Through testing, we found a direct correlation between the length of the product description and buyer interaction on site.

As new, unique users constitute the vast majority of Capterra traffic, and we send users straight to our directory pages, why not make the page as easy as possible to scan our directories and find results? The shorter descriptions are succinct, and they place more emphasis on the scannable text- product name, product logo and reviews. In turn, the cleaner layout allows a buyer to easily compare solutions and click through to the appropriate websites.

So, to answer your question, no… this will not result in a decrease in click volume to your site! Our decision to switch to shorter descriptions was solely to allow buyers to find the same information they had before, just faster and easier. Win-win situation, right, Disbeliever?

We see this website launch as a step towards making Capterra friendlier to today’s text-sensitive buyers. That said, we’ll continue to test and add functionality! We’ve kept our long descriptions in tact in the hopes they make a comeback, maybe in the form of a spotlight page? You never know!

Keep a close eye on the traffic and lead generation, Disbeliever! I’m confident the results will turn you into a believer!


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About the Author


Kara Dawson

As a Marketing Advisor at Capterra, Kara serves as an outside marketing consultant for nearly 300 of our B2B software companies.


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