Long listing descriptions can be problematic when viewing items on a mobile device since a listing description on a mobile device cannot exceed 800 characters. If the listing description is longer than 800 characters, the full listing description will not be shown on a mobile device and may be cut off abruptly and/or display misleading/incomplete details. Additionally, the 800 characters that eBay will display on mobile devices is not necessarily the first 800 characters which can definitely lead to some unpredictable results.

To solve this problem, sellers should use specialized HTML div and span tags within the Trading API's <Description> field to precisely specify which information included in a listings description is to be displayed on mobile devices.

  • The div tag incorporates the following attributes:
    • vocab: set to https://schema.org/
    • typeof: set to Product
  • The span tag incorporates the following attributes:
    • property set to description

An example of how these tags are used inside a <Description> field is provided here:

  <div vocab="https://schema.org/" typeof="Product">
  <span property="description">
    The text between the span tags will control the item description that is
    displayed for the item on mobile devices. Up to 800 characters can be used
    within the span tags, and any HTML tags count toward this limit. Once the
    800 character limit is reached, any remaining text/tags are ignored by eBay
    and dropped, and will not be shown in the mobile device version of the
    View Item page. The types of HTML formatting/tags that can be used are
    limited to the following: all opening and closing tags used for ordered
    or unordered lists (<ol>, </ol>, <ul>, </ul>, <li>, </li>),
    &nbsp; (non-breaking space), and <br> or <br/> (line break) tags.
    Each list element (<li>element1</li>) counts as three characters
    toward the maximum character limit, and the other list tags (i.e., <ol>,
    </ol>, <ul>, </ul>) will not count toward the maximum character limit.
    Each <br> or <br/> tag will count 50 characters toward the maximum character
    limit, and each &nbsp; (non-breaking space) will count just one character
    toward maximum character limit. If your complete listing description
    is less than 800 characters long, these <div> and <span> tags
    should not be necessary, as your listing description should display just
    fine on mobile devices.
  Complete listing description goes here. 

All text between the <span> tags will become the item description on mobile devices. The text between these tags must not exceed 800 characters.

A limited number of basic HTML formatting/tags may be used between the span tags:

  • Ordered lists
  • Unordered lists
  • Non-breaking space tags (&nbsp;)
  • Line break tags (<br/>)

The use of these tags counts towards the 800-character limit as follows:

  • Each list element (i.e., <li>element1</li>,) in an ordered or unordered list counts as three characters toward limit.

    Other necessary HTML tags for lists (i.e., <ol>, </ol>, <ul>, </ul>, and </li>,) do not count towards the character limit.

  • Each non-breaking space (i.e., &nbsp;,) counts as one character toward limit.
  • Each line break tag (i.e., <br> or <br/>,) counts as 50 characters toward limit.

Sellers must make sure that they do not exceed the 800-character limit allowed in between the span tags. Once/if the 800-character limit is reached, all text after that will just be ignored by eBay.

In addition to using these customized div and span tags to create mobile-friendly listing descriptions, refer to Best practices for creating mobile-friendly listings for additional tips to create listings that look great on mobile devices.