Are eBay subtitles worth paying for?


Subtitles allow you to add extra information to your eBay listings which will then be visible in search results. This means potential buyers can find out more about your products before they click on them, which can lead to increased interest and ultimately higher sales.

Subtitles - ListSmart

However, subtitles are classed by eBay as advanced listing upgrades, meaning they are not covered by your standard selling fees. Instead you have to pay an additional fee per listing if you want to include subtitles, begging the question – is it worth it?

In this article we look at:

So, read on to find out everything you need to know about eBay subtitles.

What are eBay subtitles?

Subtitles appear directly below the title both in search results and when you click through to the listing itself. They allow you to add more information that won’t fit into the 80 character limit for listing titles, giving you an extra 55 characters to play with.

The text included in a subtitle is not searchable for users doing a standard search, but is searchable for advanced searches where the user has selected to include the description. This means it will not affect your listings’ visibility in most cases, but it can be important in making your listings stand out and enticing users to click on them.

Subtitles - ListSmart

Subtitles are generally used to convey important extra information about the product, such as exact dimensions or other technical specifications about the product, or details about the seller’s service e.g. that they offer free delivery or a warranty. This allows sellers to add additional information that helps to entice buyers, but is not necessarily something buyers would be specifically searching for.

How do eBay subtitles benefit your listings?

you can give users a clearer choice, meaning they will be more likely to click on your listing than those of a competitor

Although subtitles can increase your visibility in advanced searches (as mentioned above) their main benefit is in increasing the number of people who click on your listings as well as priming those users to be more likely to buy.

By adding extra descriptive information about the product and your service, you can give users a clearer choice, meaning they will be more likely to click on your listing than those of a competitor who is providing less information.

You can also use the extra space of a subtitle to increase buyer confidence, for example by including details such as being an authorised distributor (assuming this is true).

If you can use the subtitle to communicate information that buyers will want to know before making a purchase, they will tend to be closer to making a purchasing decision before they even click on your listings. This means they will be more likely to make the decision to buy then and there, rather than putting it off until later or waiting until after they have looked at several competitors’ listings for comparison.

Does every eBay listing need a subtitle?

Not all listings have the option of adding a subtitle and even where it is an option it may not always be a necessity. This is something which will depend on various factors, including the type of product and the category it is listed in.

Knowing whether your listing is likely to benefit from a subtitle can be hard to judge. It is worth seeing what the top sellers in your category and those selling similar items are doing to get a sense of what is working for your most successful direct competitors. However, in many cases the only real way to find out is by experimenting with subtitles and tracking the effect.

How much do eBay subtitles cost?

Subtitles - ListSmart

For most UK listings it costs £1 to add a subtitle, while for car and motorcycle listings the fee is 50p. Fees for eBay sites in other countries vary. The subtitle fees will be added to your next invoice and please bear in mind that this is a recurring charge for which you will be invoiced every month while the relevant listings are active.

Because the fees are charged per listings, it is important to decide which products could benefit from a subtitle on a case by case basis.

How to add subtitles to eBay listings

Adding subtitles to new listings is fairly straightforward, all you have do is fill in the Subtitle field in the Describe Your Item section of the listing form. Only some listings can have subtitles, however, so if you’re not given the option to add a subtitle, then this is because they aren’t available for that type of listing.

If you want to add a subtitle to an existing listing, you will need to edit the listing in the standard way by going to your active listings in the seller hub and selecting Revise from the More Actions drop down.

How to use eBay subtitles effectively

Subtitles should be used for specific additional information which makes your listing more enticing.

The key thing to understand about eBay subtitles is what information to include and what information not to include.

Subtitles - ListSmart

As mentioned, the subtitle text is not searchable for standard user searches, so any core information such as the brand of an item or its colour should be included in the main title. Take a look at our article on writing effective eBay listing titles for more information on what to put in the title.

Subtitles should be used for specific additional information which makes your listing more enticing. To achieve this, you need to get into the head of your customers and consider what they need to know to help make them more likely to buy.

Things to consider putting in your subtitles include:

Are eBay subtitles worth the money?

subtitles are likely to be more effective for some listings than others

This is what it all comes down to. It’s all very well being able to add subtitles to your listings, but if they don’t bring in more money than they cost, there isn’t much point using them. So how do you tell if the extra investment is worth it?

To work this out, you could try adding subtitles to a few of your most important listings for a trial period (1-3 months being a good starting point). Compare your sales and the profit on those sales for that period to the preceding equivalent period and, ideally, year on year.

If the increase in your profit is more than the cost of adding subtitles, then you know it is likely worth rolling them out across more of your listings and seeing how they perform more widely. Bear in mind subtitles are likely to be more effective for some listings than others, so it is worth regularly reviewing the impact on each of your listings and only continuing to use subtitles on those where you have seen a clear return on investment.

Subtitles - ListSmart

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Updated: 20th April 2017

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