What does ‘below the fold’ mean?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - below the fold

The term ‘below the fold’ describes the portion of a web page that can only be seen once you’ve scrolled down. The digital marketing conventional wisdom is that above the fold content gets more attention and is, therefore, more valuable than below the fold content. The positioning of content on a web page affects how users interact and engage with it. Content which is below the fold is hidden to the user at the time when the page first loads. So if they leave the page before they scroll down they will never see it.

Data generated from several studies indicates that the placing ads and content below the fold on a webpage radically reduces the likelihood of being viewed. Advertisements which are above the fold have approximately a 73% viewability while ads that are located below the fold have a 44% viewability. In the advertising and digital marketing world, an advertisement is deemed to be a ‘viewable impression’ if no less than 50% of its pixels are seen on a user’s screen for at least one second.  Owing to its reduced visibility, ads which are placed below the fold typically generate less ad revenue as opposed to those that appear at the top of the page. Businesses which sell advertising on their websites usually charge a discounted price for placement below the fold because of its lower visibility.

The online advertising has been sluggish in adopting technology that ensures an impression is an impression – in other words that a real live human user has viewed the creative. The challenge with counting impressions, with no thought of taking viewability into account, is that the advertiser is regularly paying for inventory that isn’t being seen by people. The notion of viewable impressions provides a superior metric that captures how many ads are being seen in a better format. Recognising that the ad is being seen gives advertisers the option of more precisely measuring ad performance. The move from impressions served to impressions viewed indicates that ad placement and ad performance are essential metrics for publishers to keep track of to maximise their ad revenue.

How Is Below the Fold Calculated?

It is not possible to define the exact placement for the fold on a webpage as its precise location can change according to screen resolution, browser and screen sizes for phones, tablets as well as computer monitors.

When gauging an average fold placement, most web designers are still in agreement that the fold line is at roughly 1 000 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall. This was the ideal scenario for the most common monitor/browser combination of 1024×786 pixels when the browser window maximised, and there are no installed toolbars at the top which will push the content down.

Does the fold matter these days?

If one takes a look at few of the largest e-commerce website’s mobile versions, it is possible to see how they handle the fold. For a good many years, the most common dimension for sites was 1024×768, as we’ve mentioned previously in this article. With the increase in popularity of mobile devices (more than half of Google’s traffic comes from mobile devices) new dimensions are becoming ever more common, such as 320×568 in addition to 360×640.

Mobile devices offer a wide variety of screen sizes. The user’s needs for each of these devices and screen dimensions have its own unique set of requirements as well as limitations.

Another consideration is that mobile phone users generally browse in portrait mode as opposed to in landscape mode. Users on tablets and computers are usually browsing in horizontal mode. With so many individuals accessing web pages using such a variety of devices, current website design practices entail making use of responsive design like making use of flexible layouts, images as well as cascading style sheets.

What is responsive web design?

With responsive design, the page layout is not fixed. Content reflows to any-sized screen and responsive web pages respond to the environment where they are consumed or browsed. While the significant content still needs to be higher on the page, today the pages should be put together to entice users to scroll so that they don’t miss out on valuable content.

Heatmap programs can be useful to determine scroll-depth (in other words how far down users scroll) in addition to where your users are clicking on a page. Once you understand how users are navigating your site, you can start then A/B testing as well as experiment with different layouts to improve your user experience and maximise your conversion goals.

Get in touch with the Digital School of Marketing

To learn more about digital marketing, and how it can help you in your business, contact the Digital School of Marketing today!

DSM Digital School of Marketing Digital Marketing course registration