What Does “Above The Fold” Mean? A Whiteboard Wednesday Writeup
As you look into digital marketing and websites you’ll find yourself coming across strange and new terms all the time. One such term is “Above The Fold”.
What does it mean?
Above the fold is an old term believe it or not. It originates from the newspaper industry. Newspapers have a half fold to condense there size and the headlines that appeared “above the fold” were deemed the most important.
Funny how we still use this term today in digital marketing with websites.
The concept is basically the same. What the eye falls on first is likely to receive the highest levels of engagement and attention. In the newspaper business, this was reserved for the most important and breaking news, however, with websites, this is for our sales and marketing “Call To Action” or CTA.
The CTA is the most important action our customer can take. It is usually a point of conversion that leads our customers toward purchasing our products or services.
Because it is “above the fold” it is the first thing our website visitors see. It represents prime real estate on the website and therefore it has the highest levels of engagement. Human behavior online is not that different from human behavior in the physical world.
With newspapers, the first story they see is likely the one they’ll read first, the same thing is true with a book or album cover.
The faster we can catch attention the better engagement we’ll receive.
Why do we care about engagement?
Engagement is the best way to build a relationship with our customers. Think of the website as a conversation. It takes a back and forth for a good conversation to happen but good conversations often take a conversation starter.
Engagement is the best way to build a relationship with our customers. This is what “above the fold” is really about.
With the newspaper “above the fold” was all about getting the reader to open the paper and begin reading. If a reader picked up your paper once and didn’t actually read it they may not buy it again.
However, if they picked it up and read it, learned important information and receive topical insights into their day? Well, then they’d have a higher probability of becoming a habitual reader of the newspaper thus tying the engagement of the “above the fold” directly with profits and readership.
This concept is true with a website too.
If the first section of the website a viewer sees is built to pull them into the website deeper and generate a meaningful experience for the visitor then the website is doing its job.
“Above the fold” is tougher to define with websites than with newspapers. This makes sense. Newspapers are generally the same size and shape and they have a physical fold. Websites can boast very different outlines and designs and they are viewed from a host of different screens sizes, devices, and operating systems.
Just look at this image depicting mobile device fragmentation:
Each device will open your website in a slightly different viewport and each browser will interpret the website’s code differently too.
Additionally, the avenues into your website are much broader than they were for a traditional newspaper.
With social media, email marketing, PPC advertising, and search engines your website has many front doors and they all lead into different pages and are delivered to different users.
All of this can make the concept of “above the fold” seem outdated and or too tough to handle. I disagree.
We just have to remember the point of “above the fold”. Engagement!
If we can remember to make our websites engaging and focus on creating a design that is easy to see and navigate we’re taking the concept of “above the fold” into this new digital era correctly.
Be sure to tune into WebriQ Goes Mad’s weekly show Whiteboard Wednesday. We discuss terms and concepts that are important to digital marketing and websites. You can catch the show on our YouTube Channel, Facebook Page or LinkedIn.
We’ll always provide a deeper dive with our Whiteboard Wednesday Writeup too. Feel free to comment on this article with additional questions and follow us for more information!