View Item description summaries for better mobile viewing
The new View Item description for mobile features a clean and consistent item description summary. eBay derives a brief, 250-character, text-only description summary from your full item description. This provides relevant listing information that allows shoppers to make fast, informed buying decisions.
For the summary, we determine which content in your full item description is most relevant by identifying keywords that shoppers use to search for your items. If your full item description uses basic HTML, CSS or text-only descriptions, and is no more than 800 characters, we will display the full description when buyers view your item description on their mobile devices.
Because the new View Item description summary is automatically generated by eBay, no action is required from you. If you want to highlight information that isn’t captured in our auto-generated summaries, you can choose the specific listing information you want to show using more advanced HTML options. This functionality is ideal for items that have unique characteristics, such as arts, antiques and collectibles.
Remove active content for peak performance
1 eBay will be limiting active content in item descriptions across all devices starting in 2017
More shopper-friendly listings
Buyer behavior is changing, becoming mobile-first, with more than half of all eBay listings viewed on mobile devices.
The new View Item description summary will improve conversion rates by providing buyers with a simple, user-friendly mobile experience so that they can make faster, better-informed purchase decisions. Now buyers can quickly read an item description summary or the complete description when it is 800 characters or less, without having to click through to the full description.
View Item description summaries are also optimized for search engines so buyers who are looking for items like yours will be more likely to find them.
By using the existing content on your View Item pages, the new View Item mobile description summaries eliminate your need to invest in customizing your description summaries. However, you may customize your item descriptions using HTML.
In 2017, eBay will limit the use of active content in your listings. By removing active content today, you can immediately enjoy the following benefits:
- Faster load times
- Optimization for mobile devices
- A more secure marketplace
We will provide more information about our 2017 plans to limit active content later this year and provide the specific 2017 timing early next year.
Mobile-friendly item descriptions
For most sellers, no action is required to create a View Item description summary because eBay automatically generates a description summary from your existing View Item content. However, you can also control what is displayed on mobile devices. If your item description is text or uses only basic HTML (i.e., bold, bullets and numbered lists), and is no more than 800 characters, we will display the full description when buyers view your item description on their mobile devices. Or, you can create custom description summaries using HTML.
Make sure your listings are mobile-friendly
We will provide more information about our plans to limit active content in 2017 later this year.
Best practices for optimizing listings across all devices
- Use basic HTML, CSS or text-only descriptions that are no longer than 800 characters
- Upload up to 12 free photos with the eBay photo uploader
- Use item specifics (e.g., size, color, UPC/EANs and brand names)
- Enable shoppers to see store categories and search your eBay store with the listing frame feature
- Use Promotions Manager for add-on merchandising or to show other promotional items
- Use eBay’s fields for payment, shipping and returns rather than repeating the information in an interactive tab widget on the item description
- Let buyers know more about you with your eBay Store, eBay Profile and collections
eBay will provide you with tools to view your listings with and without active content in coming weeks.
Customize your View Item description summary
You do not need to customize your View Item description summary if you:
- Are unfamiliar with HTML
- Use short, text-only item descriptions (less than 800 characters)
- Sell products that can be described easily
You may wish to explore using a custom View Item description summary if you list complex products with many features or an antique with a long description (i.e., more than 800 characters). This option will be available to you this summer and we will provide details to you on how to create a customized item description using HTML at that time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a mobile View Item description summary?
The View Item description summary for the eBay mobile platform is a brief, text-only summary that is derived from your item descriptions on eBay.com. The View Item summary helps buyers find, evaluate, and compare products using their mobile devices, and is optimized for search engines.
What changes is eBay making to the mobile View Item page?
Mobile View Item pages will feature an eBay-generated View Item description summary, which will retain as much information about the item as possible, using the fewest number of words. The updates will make your mobile listings more shopper-friendly and encourage shoppers to click through to your full item description.
For item descriptions which are less than 800 characters and use basic HTML, CSS or text-only descriptions, we will display the entire description.
Why is eBay making these changes?
More than half of all transactions on eBay are viewed on a mobile device prior to purchase. The way mobile devices deliver information differs from the desktop experience, and buyers behave differently on each platform. It’s important that relevant item information is delivered on mobile in a quick, easy-to-digest format so that buyers can make informed buying decisions.
How long is the View Item description summary?
eBay-generated View Item summaries will typically be limited to 250 characters. But if your item description is less than 800 characters and uses basic HTML, CSS or text-only descriptions, we will display the entire description.
Why is eBay restricting the use of active content in listings?
It’s beneficial to limit your use of active content now for faster page loading, cleaner presentation across all devices, and to reduce abuse in the marketplace. In 2017, eBay will limit use of active content in sellers’ listings and will provide more information about 2017 plans to limit active content later this year.
How is active content used by third-party listing and shipping services in my item description or my eBay Store?
Many tools and services include active content in features added to an item description or your eBay Store, such as scrolling galleries, cross-merchandising widgets, drop-down menus and search-box functionality.
What can I do if my item description or eBay store includes features that use active content?
If you have included Active Content, you may wish to use alternate, safe HTML, CSS or utilize existing built-in eBay capabilities. If you use a third party and they include features which use active content, know that we are working with them to transition to mobile-friendly, safe content where possible.
eBay will allow you to create a customized View Item description summary, which will appear on mobile with HTML tags, and tag the specific content that you want to include in the description summary. If you specify the summary content using HTML, you can display up to 800 characters (note: line breaks count as 50 characters). Most sellers will not need to use HTML tags if they use item specifics, succinct item descriptions and text descriptions.
How do I create a custom item description?
If you have HTML authoring capabilities, you can indicate which content eBay should use for the View Item summary by encapsulating desired content (up to 800 characters) in special HTML markup. A simple way to tag your content is to include the following HTML around the text you wish to include in the mobile item description:
<div vocab="http://schema.org/" typeof="Product"><span property="description">This paragraph contains almost 800 characters of text to be displayed in the mobile item description. And the text in this paragraph through this sentence contains 250 characters, which is the amount we will display without any actions on your part. When you tag this paragraph with these simple HTML breaks, the content will be displayed to shoppers looking at your item. This will allow the shopper to see the key information you want to display, without them having to click through to the complete description. If your complete description is 800 characters or less and uses basic HTML we will display the entire description without any action by you—so the best practice is to keep it within 800 characters. If you have a long description, make it easy for your buyers by using this option. </span></div>
Will the automatically-generated View Item description summary for mobile replace the item description that I created when I listed my item?
No. Shoppers can still access your full item description by clicking the "Item description link."
Is there any action I need to take?
No action is required on your part. eBay will automatically create the View Item description summary from the information included in your listing.
How does eBay determine what information is included in the View Item summary?
eBay identifies the keywords that buyers use to search for your item and displays them in the item description summary.
Can I control what information is included in the View Item summary?
Yes. You can create an HTML View Item description summary for your item listing.
Will View Item description summaries be included for all listings on mobile devices, regardless of category?
Yes. eBay will automatically generate View Item description summaries for all mobile listings. If your item descriptions are less than 800 characters and only uses basic HTML, CSS or text-only descriptions the entire description will be displayed.
Can I include a longer item description if I like?
Yes. You can continue to present more detailed item descriptions in your listings. Buyers can access these descriptions via the "Item Description" link on mobile devices and they will display as they do today on the desktop experience. eBay will continue to give sellers who use HTML the ability to control the information presented in their mobile description summaries.
Why does eBay restrict the length and type of HTML that can be used to display my entire description on mobile devices?
We want to provide the best buying experience for our buyers on their mobile devices. These restrictions make shopping on mobile devices easier and quicker. Buyers can read a concise description summary of the item on the mobile View Item page.
Does active content affect listings security across devices?
What does "optimized item description for mobile" mean?
An item description that is optimized for mobile means that it is easily readable across all devices and displays quickly when the buyer attempts to view it (buyers can become impatient waiting for a page to load). It also means providing buyers with the most important information first—generally with pictures that can be viewed and quickly "swiped" through; clear informative titles; and use of common structured data so buyers know the item they are looking at meets their criteria.