Let’s talk marketing…

There are certain terms that when you start learning about marketing and copywriting come up often. Above the fold is one of them.

It hasn’t always been a digital marketing term because it’s been around since the beginning of the newspaper industry. But, the meaning hasn’t changed since changing mediums between newspapers and computers.

In fact the “fold” has gotten smaller and has become more important in the digital space. And that’s what we want to cover today…

Everything that has to do with the marketing term “Above the Fold” and how you can use it to improve your online business.

But first, let’s define the term.

What Does Above the Fold Mean?

In simple terms, above the fold refers to the first section of text that someone sees when they first look at a newspaper or land on a website.

Early in the newspaper industry it was discovered that when newspapers would sit on newsstands it was the front and top half of the folded newspaper that grabbed someone’s attention. That is what determines if a newspaper sold well that day.

There wasn’t much time to convince the person walking by to buy the paper so the top headline and articles that faced the customer needed to be attention grabbing.

That became known as above the fold content in those early days of the newspaper industry. It was either attention grabbing headlines or great images that stood out to customers.

above the fold newspaper article marketing sherpa

Image Credit: Source

Even though newspapers are still around, above the fold, doesn’t refer to newspapers anymore. The term was adopted by digital marketers to talk about the valuable real estate when someone clicks on a landing page, sales page or web page.

hubspot homepage above the fold

Here’s an example of the Hubspot homepage. If you notice above the fold they’re telling you right away what they’re about and even offering a free trial to use their software. They’re attempting to minimize distractions and get a new user to take action right away.

Why is Above the Fold Still Important?

The fold is still important and now more than ever because the human attention span is getting smaller and we need our attention grabbed quicker. The content you place at the top of a webpage needs to convince your reader that it’s worth interacting with. Otherwise, you lose a potential customer because they won’t think you product, service or information is for them.

You need to have a business purpose with the content you place above the fold and you need to continually test it to see what your audience interacts with better. It’s that important.

100% of website visitors will see the top of the page but there is no guarantee that the user will see anything else. That’s why your most important messages, best written intro and highest converting content should be at the top.

How Many Pixels is Above the Fold?

Web page sizes are changing often and it’s important to plan for the smallest size. Most web page builders allow you to edit desktop, tablet and mobile separately to give your website a responsive design.

According to SEO expert Niel Patel: “anything further down the page than about 700px can reasonably be considered below the fold at the moment”. Because 1366×768 is the most popular screen resolution according to tech crunch.

You want to measure the fold by what you need to say. You shouldn’t stuff everything you think is important above the fold. But you should put your most compelling 50 – 150 words of copy to convince the reader that they should keep scrolling.

Designing Above the Fold for Mobile

With mobile design the goal is for people to continue scrolling down to the important information. You don’t have much space to convince people of anything when it comes to mobile design. You only have the page headline to work with and possibly an icon that points downward.

However, mobile designing has become much easier. Most people are designing with page builders these days and it’s never been easier to create a responsive web design to optimize for mobile visitors.

Take a look:

mobile tablet and desktop editing with thrive architect

Most web builders will allow you to switch between desktop, tablet and mobile design layouts to make sure no matter what device someone is on they will still see your message.

Testing Content for Engagement

Your messaging is important and the number one reason why someone would go to another webpage or scroll down to consume your content. There are a few things you can and should test or track to make sure that the above the fold content is always optimized:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Engagement
  • Conversion Rate
  • Time on Site

Each one of these metrics tells a different story but together mean how interested someone is with your website.

We ran test here at Startupbros that tested the copy for an opt in that was above the fold. We wanted to know if we could increase the conversion rate. So we changed the headline of the opt in and saw a significant improvement.

testing calls to action 1

Running tests like these constantly is how you make sure that people remain engaged with your website. As long as you only test one variable and track one result at a time you can make effective changes to your fold content.

Wrapping This Up…

Whether content performs better above the fold or below the fold is irrelevant if no one is reading your content. Put your best guess forward and start testing from there. The more you experiment the better your offer will be to your readers.

Once you figure out what works, improve those numbers. As long as you keep your readers in mind and try to solve their problems, the content you have above the fold will be engaging. Keep the messaging simple and never stop trying to optimize.