Originating from newspapers where the top story was literally “above the fold” on the front page, this term is now used for web design and marketing. Also referred to as “above the scroll,” this term is used to describe the portion of a webpage that is visible without the user needing to scroll down.
Although screen sizes vary – as do pixel standards per page – most web designers are aware of this prime real estate and ensure critical information is found upon first view without any scrolling. In advertising, most publications and ad contracts specify that their ads be placed above the fold to ensure maximum visibility.
Web designers are encouraged to verify above the fold standards with each website owner when entering agreements and deciding to purchase advertising space. Some reports indicate that upwards of 70 percent of web users don’t scroll down, making this placement especially critical.
For digital marketers, however, placing promotional offers, sign-up forms or calls-to-action above the fold doesn’t necessarily yield better results. In fact, the often deciding factor in inducing conversions is not the fold but rather the copy surrounding the proposition. The issue, therefore, is whether your call to action is visible at the moment where your prospect has become convinced to take action. Breaking down prospective customers using three assumptions can help determine above or below the fold placement:
1. Pre-sold customers already want what you’re offering when they arrive, thus leveraging your proposition high up on the page would be beneficial.
2. Interested customers require an offering that can be easily explained and the immediate value of which is apparent.
3. Uncertain customers need a more thorough explanation and can get turned off if asked to commit early without scrolling down for more information.
Truly determining the success of an offer’s page placement is a matter of continuous testing and experimentation. Running A/B or multivariate testing to optimize offers will inform the most beneficial page placement, context of the buying journey to present the offer, and language necessary to persuade each consumer persona.