Above the Fold

What does above the fold mean?

Above the fold describes the content that is visible when a page is loaded and before any scrolling of that page takes place. Anything lower down is classed as below the fold.

Where does it come from?

Most people in the western World read pages from left to right and from top to bottom so what people see first, is the initial view of the webpage. The term for this view, ‘above the fold’, originates from a written letter where it was folded into three to fit an envelope and you would have to unfold the bottom two-thirds to see further content.

In the modern World, web pages are seen across many different devices and it is now common-place that these pages are much longer than earlier iterations. In fact, some websites are just a very long single page.

Originally web pages were created to be viewed on a desktop only, which delivered the whole page within the initial view. Navigation, rather than scrolling on a mouse was used to select different pages or continue on to subsequent pages.

The majority of today’s web pages are now responsive but even so, they are still dependent on the screen size and browser to display information in an acceptable format.

The speed of this change was in part due to the proliferation of tablets and mobiles that had more restricted space and so the poor experience of a standard desktop web page on these devices became unreadable.

Why is having content above the fold important?

Going old-school, marketing best practice around written advertising was AIDA – creating Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. This still holds true in today’s digital age, but it seems that the pace in which we all need to consume information is much faster. Having the “action” part of AIDA overt and easily actionable has become the norm.

Essentially, it’s because we are all skim reading what we see. The human attention span is now approx. eight seconds (believe it or not a goldfish has nine seconds) and therefore getting people to read, digest and react within that time means you should ideally provide all the relevant information in the initial view. If you don’t then there is a possibility that the visitor will not scroll further down the page and will miss any call to action and your conversion will not take place.

How to optimise what sits above the fold

There is some slackening of the need to do this as mobile and tablet behaviour is characterised by finger gestures, the most common of which is to scroll down. This does not eradicate the above the fold rule as it is still best practice to create compelling call to actions in a place which allows for easy engagement.

Landing pages are the most important and costly pages if you are using PPC to drive traffic to them and therefore following the AIDA rules is imperative to see a return on your PPC investment. By using our solution, we can help you to test and optimise your content to engage your visitors and maximise your conversions.

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