Amazon Product Listing Videos 101
Updated on: August 17, 2020
Amazon isn’t all about numbers. There’s a surprising amount of creative work involved, too. Beyond the basics of listing copywriting and product photography, however, there’s also Amazon product videos.
Consider this your primer on Amazon videos, why you should use them, and how to approach them.
For those who aren’t brand registered, we’ve got a little technique you can use to upload product videos even without Brand Registry – it’s a commonly-asked question.
We also cover some best practices for content style, product video content types, and how to abide by Amazon’s video content policies.
Let’s dive in.
Why should I use a product video in my Amazon listing?
A few reasons: it boosts your metrics, and it helps customers shop, and it communicates your product to an audience with REALLY short attention spans.
As advanced as online shopping has become, nothing truly makes up for the experience of interacting with a product in person – touching the product, holding it, testing its features, and so on. In fact, the ability to interact with a product (or try it on, in the case of apparel), is a primary reason shoppers cite for opting for in-store shopping over online shopping.
Regardless, product videos are one of the ways we can offer a deeper level of product interactivity to customers. They help bring your product to life through a two-dimensional screen. They also allow you to forge a stronger emotional connection with customers, and we all know marketing (and customers’ response to it) relies heavily on emotion.
Basically, product videos help bring in the sales.
Who can use videos in their Amazon product listing?
Note: you technically need to be registered with Brand Registry to upload videos directly into product listings.
(There IS a workaround we’ll discuss further down).
To be eligible:
- You must have an active Amazon Seller account
- If your selling privileges are revoked (pursuant to the Amazon Selling policy guidelines, or otherwise), you will not be eligible to manage and upload videos, and your previously uploaded videos may be removed from the site.
- You must be a Professional seller registered with Amazon’s Brand Registry and sell on Amazon.com.
Can I add an Amazon product video without Brand Registry?
You can! Kind of. At this time there’s a known workaround.
To be clear, you won’t be able to add the type of product video that appears at the top of the listing, where the photos are displayed.
What you CAN do is use the “Amazon Video Shorts” section of a product listing to add videos.
Scroll down to the videos section (beneath the BSR field) and upload your video. Fill out the form, and there you go!
Amazon treats this as a playlist, so feel free to upload multiple videos with different content to cover as many bases as you can.
Take this opportunity to add some SEO-juice too. Add your relevant keywords to the title and body wherever possible.
Important note: you can’t do this with your own buyer account. Have a friend or family member with a different Amazon (customer) account do this.
Remember, anyone who has an Amazon (customer) account can upload videos.
General Amazon video policies to abide by
Keep the following in mind when creating and uploading videos.
- If Amazon suspends or revokes your video privileges due to a violation of this Content Policy, you will not be eligible to upload videos until further notice from Amazon, and your videos will be removed
- Your video must be entirely in English
- All suspensions apply to the account holder. Any attempts to circumvent suspensions by creating additional accounts or identities will result in the permanent disabling of said accounts.
- There are certain content guidelines to follow, including conduct, health claims, use of children in ads, and more. See the detailed list on Amazon’s site here.
Examples of Amazon product video types
Let’s say your product is a cell phone car mount with a built-in wireless charger. What are some different ways you could sell that via video?
Product highlights videos
“Charges your phone wirelessly. Mounts effortlessly to your dashboard, air conditioner vent, or windshield. Adjustable clamp fits iPhone and Samsung models X, Y, and Z. Compatible with Otterbox cases.”
Product highlight videos should call out the main features of your product in a concise and information-driven way. Showing your customers those features upfront should ideally snag their attention with the most important points about your product and entice them to explore further.
Customer experience videos
“Hands-free cell phone use is a real concern because of new cell phone and driving laws.”
“The XYZ wireless car mount has made it easy for me to navigate with Google Maps while driving.”
“I can see and answer incoming calls without taking my eyes off the road.”
“I love that it charges my phone without me having to fumble with a cable every time I get in and out of my car!”
Humans love social proof. We see others doing something, and if they like it, we’re already biased towards liking it too before we’ve even personally experienced the thing itself.
Having other customers (whether actors or actual customers) provide feedback on video is an excellent way of connecting emotionally. Remember, humans are emotional creatures and respond accordingly, whether they’re conscious of it or not.
Lifestyle photos and footage are great here too. Lifestyle visuals are those that you’ve probably seen, depicting some idyllic family with a dog out in a vivid green lawn, doing some mundane activity and looking like they’re enjoying it way too much.
While you don’t have to go that extreme on the cheese factor, showing people using a product in its natural context (such as, in our example, someone driving with the car mount and phone on the dashboard) creates a connection where the potential customer thinks, “That could be me.”
Providing positive (text) reviews from real customers is also a great way of connecting via video. Show brief customer reviews via on screen text, or have someone read longer reviews aloud as social proof.
There’s a caveat to using customer reviews, however.
Amazon has strict policies regarding the use of customer reviews in your videos. In summary:
- Don’t use unsubstantiated statements
- You can ask for reviews, but, just like with follow up emails, you can’t ask for positive reviews
- Any customer review you use must be less than one year old
- If a customer review compares a product to a competing product by name, it must meet the requirements under Competitor Comparisons.
- Don’t modify the customer review in any way that could change its meaning
“Equipped with a wireless charger, there’s no need to plug a cable into your phone every time you start up your car. The wireless charger is compatible with all qi-enabled devices”
“The car mount comes with three different mounting apparatus. One has a flexible neck and uses suction cup pressure to adhere to your windshield. The second has an articulated ball joint and attaches to your dashboard. The third uses a clip mechanism to attach to your air conditioning vent. Our universal mount works no matter what kind of car you drive.”
“The included USB cable attaches directly to the mount’s wireless charger, and simply needs to be plugged into a USB port in your car.”
“The phone clamp adjusts to any size phone with a width of 4” or less. Its unique design uses gravity to close.”
If your product is a little more complicated than something completely self-explanatory, you probably want to use an explainer video. Explaining how to use a spoon, for example, probably doesn’t require an explainer video. Our example of the car charger and mount, however, has enough technical detail to call for one.
Keep in mind, however, that Amazon has set content policies regarding claims you make in your videos. You can’t make false health claims for example (including but not limited to weight loss and acne), compare your products to prescription or over-the counter products, or provide medical advice.
In their words, “all claims, both express and implied, must be supported.”
See more information on claims and other similar content policies here.
Basically, you should always strive to be objective. Avoid opinions, and vague or subjective information.
Comparison videos (and related policies)
“Compared to other competitor car phone mounts, on average ours charges your phone 3x faster.”
“Tired of too-small phone mounts? Built with an extra half inch depth over XYZ brand, ours is thick enough to accommodate phones with popsockets installed.”
If you’ve followed our Freedom Ticket advice on writing product listings, you may be familiar with the practice of emotionally connecting with customers by naming common problems with other similar products, followed by the features of your product that alleviate those problems.
Communicating this in video form naturally brings an enhanced sense of realism and relatability to your product’s solutions.
Be careful if you mention competitors by name, however. Amazon provides explicit video policies about competitor comparisons:
- Comparisons that mention the name of a competitor brand must be strictly factual and objective. For example, “Product X has an incredible 8GB of RAM, which is 2GB more than Product Y,” is acceptable.
- Competitor comparisons must not be defamatory or derogatory. For example, “Product X is easy to use and looks great, much better than Product Y, which is a piece of junk” is not acceptable.
- You cannot mention seller authorization, for example, “Product only sold by authorized sellers.” You cannot reference your company as seller or distributor, nor can you provide any company contact information.
Video best practices
Keep it concise
Attention spans, especially in a world of instant gratification, are incredibly short –
Ooh a butterfly!
But seriously, there’s a reason that Vine videos were only seven seconds long. So unless the first few seconds of your video capture the attention of your potential customer, don’t expect them to stick around for a full minute.
Don’t waste those first few seconds with long introductions, filler, or useless information. Immediately connect with your viewer. Connect emotionally, connect with important information, or connect by showing high quality footage of the product – preferably in use – in a visually-appealing way.
Art and creative work are always subjective. That said, this isn’t the place for arthouse experimental film. (I love and support independent artists as an artist myself, but as any emotionally mature creative ought to know, time and place, time and place.)
At the end of the day, the point of this video is to communicate information and sell a product. Don’t obscure those goals with too much focus on stylistic/experimental features.
Avoid time-sensitive and discount-oriented language
In Amazon’s own words, “Videos must not contain prices, promotion information, discount claims (including words such as “cheap,” “affordable,” “on sale,” etc.), or time-sensitive information.”
Your videos should speak to the product itself and its uses. Avoid anything time-sensitive like “limited time offer” or “on sale now,” and anything discount-oriented like “cheap.”
If you mention product warranties or guarantees, only mention manufacturer-provided ones
According to Amazon, “You may only reference manufacturer-provided product warranties and guarantees and may not create, modify, or offer to modify them. For example, do not say: “If you purchase from us, we will extend your warranty by one year,” or, “Don’t contact the manufacturer for warranty work, contact us!”
Mind the claims you make in restricted product categories
As we mentioned earlier, don’t make claims you can’t back up with objective evidence. There are also additional policies to keep in mind for alcohol and health/beauty/weight loss categories, and prohibited and adult categories.
The policies are quite verbose, so, again, see the fine print here.
Wait, what about sponsored video ads?
You’ve probably noticed those new fancy sponsored video ads that now autoplay as you shop on Amazon. While we won’t go into those now (but we might in the future), you can check out our podcast on the subject here.
Get out there and start filming
Beneath the smokescreen of content policies, Brand Registry hoops, and film direction, product videos are more straightforward than you thought, right?
Basically, be sensible, be logical, and produce a video that communicates features, speaks to the customers’ needs, and distinguishes your product above its competitors.
Now if you aren’t a media-oriented creative, there’s no need to tackle the project yourself. Don’t be afraid to get out there and look for agencies or freelancers who handle video content (and when it comes to the latter, you get what you pay for, so don’t skimp here. More on that another time).