How Does Being Above The Fold Affect Digital Marketing?

The term “above the fold” originally refers to the upper half of the front page of a newspaper or tabloid. You know the section we’re talking about, where an important news story or photograph is often located. It’s big, bold and catches your eye. Although the term started with newspapers, it can be used more generally to refer to anything that is prominently displayed or of the highest priority.

The best way to understand “the fold” is to envision a newspaper display. The pages will be displayed to customers folded so that only the top half of the front page is visible. This rule applies to “digital” marketing as well as traditional marketing. From a web design or digital point of view, above the fold can refer to the sections of a webpage that are visible without further scrolling or clicking.

Unlike a newspaper, however, email and web page fold locations aren’t exactly predictable. The virtual fold can be affected by the user’s preview pane, monitor size, device type (i.e., mobile vs. desktop). With the complication of varied screen sizes and there being no set definition for the number of pixels that define the fold, it further complicates matters for content writers and web designers. Many websites adjust their layout based on the size of the browser window, such that the fold is not a static feature of the page.

Why is above the fold important?

Even though the ways of traditional marketing are growing less relevant by the year, some are here to stay. One of these is the “above the fold” theory. Above the fold content remains an important part of website design and content writing. That being said, the notion and application of the practice has become more complex with each passing year. While it may not be as impactful as it is in papers, it still requires understanding and consideration for all websites looking to create a good UX for their visitors.

It’s not just UX/Web design that has to take this into consideration. The fold affects advertising and SEO too. Digital agencies require ads and SEO keywords to be placed above the fold. Google’s marketing research shows that the viewability of adverts and SEO content is affected by its position in relation to the fold. It is affected so much that there is even a significant drop-off or “bounce rate” below the fold.

“There is an 84% average difference in how users treat the content above and below the fold” (Source: Study by Amy Schade and NNgroup)

Optimising your content and ads to maximise viewability is good practice but it’s important to consider the negative consequences that come with going overboard with your ads. Optimising content and placement for ad viewability requires balance. If you go too far and place so many ads above the fold to the point of forcing the actual content of the page below it then Google will penalise your site. The key is to focus on both the user experience and ad viewability.

Where’s the best place to put a call to action?

A common myth about above the fold designs is that it is best practice to have a Call To Action (CTA) clearly viewed instantly. While this isn’t a total misconception, it is an over-simplification of the concept. The placement of your CTA’s depends on several factors:

  • Number of Certain visitors
    Visitors who are likely to react to the call to action as they have largely made their mind up before visiting the site. Either recurring or users familiar with your brand.
  • Uncertain visitors that are familiar with your product or CTA position
    Uncertain visitors are users that understand the call to action simply or that have some knowledge of the product or service.
  • Uncertain visitors that are presented with a complex proposition
    For uncertain visitors that are presented with a complex proposition, such as a product or service that they don’t need, placing a CTA above the fold will not suffice. You will need to provide a more in-depth explanation of why your call to action should be acted upon.

Benefits of Placing Your CTA Button Above the Fold

In most cases, the most natural response of most marketers would be to place a CTA above the fold. It helps to guide the user’s journey and can help boost click-through rates and overall conversions.

It is important to consider the type of content/page your user is on. If it’s a content-heavy page, informational page or knowledge base then a CTA plastered above the fold may not be the best direction to go in as you’re trying to teach or inform the user. Think about how you want your page to be viewed and how this will impact the UX.

Benefits of Placing Your CTA Button below the Fold

If you consider putting your CTA button below the fold as hiding it away, then you would be mistaken. Just because it doesn’t appear to your visitors instantly doesn’t mean it’s not going to be visible at all.

If you’re designing a landing page for a relatively complex product or a knowledge base/information centre, you want to give your visitors all the necessary details so that they are excited to click on your CTA button. These pages require slightly longer blocks of copy, feeding the user information. If they don’t understand your product they probably wouldn’t buy it.

call-to-action-above-the-fold-content

How can Brave help?

At Brave, we can create and optimise a site that not only creates unique UX but also delivers results. By firstly conducting thorough research to then establishing and implementing marketing strategies to best engage with your audience, to creating a responsive web design to optimise your content, user journey and the “above the fold” features.

With our skilled designers and SEO specialists, Brave can help you create a consistent voice for your brand and apply it to each page of your website or channel of communication.

If you want to discuss your SEO, responsive web design or boosting website conversions, then why not get in touch, we’re always happy to talk about how best we can support you.

Written by Jamie Flett

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