Amazon Product Images: Is It Important to Localize Text?

Feb 9, 2023



As Jana says, “The rest of Amazon’s marketplaces are behind Amazon US, and that’s a good thing.” In this case, it’s good that the main Amazon product images in European and Asian marketplaces can have text. Text on images is a great way to communicate with the customer. If you’ve been selling on Amazon US, you know that any form of text on the main product images is a big no-no. In fact, Amazon US is so strict about main Amazon product images, that any betrayal of the terms and conditions can get you suppressed. Amazon marketplaces in Europe and Asia are not nearly so stringent; in fact, putting text on your main Amazon product images is encouraged! We go into the nuts and bolts of text on your main images – and why you should get the text localized per market.

But First, an Update on Uploading Amazon Product Images

According to this article, Amazon has a new country-specific upload tool. It’s now easier to localize your pictures on listings, which is great for brands that are selling in many countries on Amazon. Before, whatever photos you’d upload to an ASIN that’s featured on many different marketplaces, that same photo would appear in all the other countries, too, which is difficult if other cultures are trying to consume the content on your Amazon product images.

Imagine if you uploaded your main image with text in Amazon UK, in English – but it’s also appearing in France, Germany, and Belgium. Would your customers in the other countries understand what you’re trying to communicate in your main Amazon product images? Imagine if they don’t. That’s a lost opportunity for conversion right there.

Before, you’d have to upload localized images manually – and open a case through each of your Vendor Central accounts or markets. You’d mention the ASINs you’d like to upload country-specific images to, furnish them with a zip folder with all the photos you want to upload (properly labeled, of course!) and be precise on which marketplace you want the images displayed. Which is a nightmare. Charlène Grégoire, Account Manager at e-Comas, says: “Trying to upload localized images was a constant fight with Amazon through cases. Sometimes, one case per marketplace was not even enough for you to upload the country-specific images for your entire ASIN selection. We have encountered situations where Amazon asked us to open one case per 10 ASINs maximum, not exceeding 65 Mb.”

So, we’re all happy that this tool now exists.

That should make it easier for many sellers to upload localized content to Amazon product images – and it should make it easier for the US seller, who’s expanding to Europe and/or Asia, to produce main images with text to boost conversions and build rapport.

Keep the Copy on Your Amazon Product Images Short and Sweet

Text on images is encouraged. It’s a great way to showcase product benefits and features. Unlike the draconian terms and conditions in Amazon.com, main images can contain any sort of text. Think product benefits, key features, taglines, slogans, and more.

There aren’t even guidelines regarding word count. Nevertheless, an optimized Amazon listing image contains very little copy. According to this article, it’s advisable to keep the word count at a minimum so the copy doesn’t detract from the image.

Here’s another reason to keep the copy short and sweet: research has found that human beings have a shorter attention span than the goldfish! Human beings have an attention span of 8.25 seconds, which is 4 seconds shorter than in 2000 (goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds!). Not only is our attention span short, it’s diminishing. Keep that text sweet and simple, so your customers get the point in 8 seconds or less.

The Complexities of Localizing Short Text

Many sellers think, “Ok, short and sweet text is easy to translate; let me just do it myself.” Without any bias, we discourage this, especially if you’re planning to localize to Amazon.de! 

Here are some of the challenges that our translators face when they localize main Amazon product image text into German:

  • Language Complexity: 
    • To quote this Busuu blog, “German grammar is too complex.” That’s why its challenging to accurately translate text in images. It doesn’t matter that the text might be short and sweet; since German text is often longer than its English equivalent, oftentimes the product photo needs resizing or reformatting to accommodate the expanded text. In fact, this is the rule of thumb when localizing to any new culture – consider that your image might need adjustment to accommodate the new character count and localized copy.
  • Cultural Differences:
    • Localizing into any new culture requires an understanding of cultural nuances and social customs. You also need to be sensitive to local norms and values. If you already do this in your Amazon title and Amazon bullets, be sure you do the same in your Amazon product images.
  • Appropriateness: 
    • It’s not even just the text! It often takes different things to convert different cultures. What converts your UK audience may not convert your Italian audience. So it’s best to bring your image through a localization firm to see what your target audience will think about the scenario you’re trying to depict.
  • Technical Limitations: 
    • English doesn’t have accents or special characters. Consider the umlaut and sharp S (ß) of German, the cedilla in Catalan, French, and Portuguese, the tilde in Spanish – the list goes on. Be careful with these, because the images may use a font style that doesn’t have these special characters. You’ll have to redo the font in order for your image to be perfectly localized. The same goes for abbreviation and acronyms – many English ones don’t have a direct equivalent in other languages.
  • Legal Compliance: 
    • Different marketplaces have different restrictions! Consider “Fiberglass” – in the US, it pertains to plastic that uses glass fiber. In Germany, it’s a brand name, and can’t be used in your copywriting. A good localization firm can help ensure that the text on the main Amazon product images doesn’t infringe on any intellectual property rights, or violate Amazon’s policies.

A Word From Our Team

Our translators, who provided invaluable feedback for this article, had this to say about localizing your images: “Accurate localization requires thorough quality assurance and review processes to ensure that images meet foreign languages and cultural standards.”

We don’t recommend to sellers to attempt localizing their main Amazon product image text on their own, especially into a language they’re not too familiar with.

You have the opportunity to connect with your audience in 8 seconds flat – make a good impression, and don’t accidentally say something that will have your new audiences tut-tutting in disapproval.

Curious about how to upload your localized images? Send us a DM; we can give you tips!