Demystifying “Above the Fold”

02/12/08 :: by hdunce

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Hi, you all! I just wanted to take a quick minute and demystify! If you are a potential client or current client, listen up, it’s totally worth your time.

Myth: Try to get all the content “above the fold”:
Why it’s not true: In the beginning days of the web, we thought we had to fit all the content on 1 page, all above the fold. The problem was everything got squished, ugly, and very hard to read. So instead of trying to get all content on 1 web page, people were smart enough to create multiple web pages, i.e. a website! During this time, we also learned that is was pretty damn annoying to have to load a new page to get to new content, so pages got longer, people began to really love scroll bars, and then AJAX was invented. Thus websites now look and work a lot better than they did in the 90’s!

Myth: Ads should be “above the fold”:
Why it’s not true: Advertising on the web is big dollars, but it wasn’t ’til recently when it really took off. A couple years ago there was this idea that putting the ad above the fold would get more attention. However visitors just completely overlooked the ads because they were coming to the site to read the content and didn’t give a doodle about what sat on the way top of the page. And really, when people were reading the content, the ads were too high to see and/or click on and website owners and their advertisers were not making any mula.

While this may sound bad, we quickly found a solution. Today we put the ads next to the content or in between action points like commenting or sharing links. This is because the visitor subconsciously sees the ad and may be looking for something to do next. When next to an action point like a comment, the visitor is no longer reading the article and is much more inclined to click on an ad.

So when do we use the “Above the Fold” concept?
Above the fold should only be exercised when trying to feature one or two items to get the user to read the rest of the page or the rest of the site.

Additional thoughts anyone?

24 Responses to “Demystifying “Above the Fold””

  1. /dev/random › Demystifying “Above the Fold” Says:

    [...] writes: Most people believe the top of the page is the best place for ads. This article, called “Demystifying ‘Above the Fold’” is important to read for its contrarian approach to this belief. It states that people are often so [...]

  2. Web Design and “Above the Fold” « Mark Celsor Says:

    [...] with their web surfing time. This morning Guy Kawasaki wrote a post linking to an article titled “Demystifying ‘Above the Fold’”. In it the author talks about placing links and advertisements at action points instead of jamming [...]

  3. Things that make you go hmmm. | Bubba Murarka Says:

    [...] wonder if this article promoting placement of ads near “action spots” (e.g. links) is the right thing to do after reading Mr. Belshe’s latest material.   From a UX perspective, [...]

  4. hdunce Says:

    In reference to google’s decline in click-thru rates: The ads that are being displayed from adsense are quite awful. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but the “love button, push me hard” ad has monopolized adsense’s content. No wonder why click-thru rates are down. So yes, it’s not just about ad placement. It’s also about the effectiveness of the ad itself and the relevance to the site the ad is on. And finding a good ad network is a whole ‘nother post…

  5. BlinkGeo » Monday Link Karma - 02-25-2008 Says:

    [...] you do any web design, check out this nifty article on demistifying ‘above the fold’. [via [...]

  6. links for 2008-02-25 « Mike’s Blog Says:

    [...] Demystifying “Above the Fold” Why putting ads at the top of the page doesn’t work. (tags: web) [...]

  7. /dev/random › links for 2008-02-25 Says:

    [...] Demystifying “Above the Fold” Why putting ads at the top of the page doesn’t work. (tags: web) [...]

  8. hdunce Says:

    Another clarification, I don’t mean that you should never put ads above the fold, but rather if you do, put them in an area where a user might click. And finally I am not just making this up :) Last year we went to the Future of Online Advertising (FOOA) and it was discussed there.

  9. links for 2008-02-26 at Dwight::Knoll Says:

    [...] The pleasure of recognition and the promise of meaning. | fluidesign _blog blog archive | Demystifyi… (tags: article webdesign) [...]

  10. Demystifying “Above the Fold” | Casey Peters Says:

    [...] “Above the Fold” » Demystifying “Above the Fold”Fluidesign shares an alternative view on content “above the [...]

  11. Diseño: El mito de la publicidad en “el primer pantallazo” - ALT1040 Says:

    [...] Demystifying “Above the Fold” | Vía: Guy Kawasaki ← Anterior | Inicio Comparte esta anotación [...]

  12. SimonWaldman.net» Blog Archive » links for 2008-02-27 Says:

    [...] Demystifying “Above the Fold” n the beginning days of the web, we thought we had to fit all the content on 1 page, all above the fold. The problem was everything got squished, ugly, and very hard to read. So instead of trying to get all content on 1 web page, people were smart enough (tags: advertising) [...]

  13. Believe. Act. Achieve! - dcr Blogs dot Com » Blog Archive » 50 of the World’s Greatest Blogging Links Says:

    [...] Demystifying “Above the Fold” - Found by way of Guy Kawasaki. [...]

  14. Mike’s Points - Why Mike’s Points? I’m providing “points,” comments & links about PR, journalism, social media, branding, marketing & other items of interest. » Other great points . . . . Says:

    [...] Demystifying “Above the Fold,” FluidDesign blog [...]

  15. Dan Blank: Publishing, Innovation & the Web » Blog Archive » News of the Week 2/28/08 Says:

    [...] The Myth of Placing Ads “Above the Fold” “Today we put the ads next to the content or in between action points like commenting or sharing links. This is because the visitor subconsciously sees the ad and may be looking for something to do next.” (Thanks to Mary Chapman for the link!) [...]

  16. DeMystify Above The Fold « n u a n c e Says:

    [...] Above The Fold Thanks to Guy Kawasaki’s excellent blog, we read a good post on Fluid Design that counters the age-old web maxim that you had to get everything (especially ads) above the [...]

  17. DeMystify Above The Fold « n u a n c e Says:

    [...] Above The Fold Thanks to Guy Kawasaki’s excellent blog, we read a good post on Fluid Design that counters the age-old web maxim that you had to get everything (especially ads) above the fold. [...]

  18. Space… | The Blog of Rudy Amid Says:

    [...] and words. Am I wasting too much space? Well, it’s not until I read an article about the myths of being “above the fold”, I realize, I may be doing just [...]

  19. BLOGems » Archivo del weblog » La web es la web. Says:

    [...] un anuncio no son siempre los mejores y es necesario aprender que funciona y que no en la web. En este artículo leido desde el blog de Guy [...]

  20. The pleasure of recognition and the promise of meaning. | Fluidesign Blog blog archive | Demystifying “Above the Fold” « Stone Ward Interactive Says:

    [...] fold.  It’s well worth a good read for anyone who touches the space of marketing online:The pleasure of recognition and the promise of meaning. | Fluidesign Blog blog archive | Demystifyin… Myth: Try to get all the content “above the fold”:Why it’s not true: In the beginning days of [...]

  21. xsegnxqu Says:

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  22. Prague Says:

    Thanks for demystifying this. I have always been skeptical that people just are not able to scroll. :-) Of course the most important stuff should be visible for everyone right away - but not to the detriment of the page layout. Scroll bars are pretty useful :-)

  23. » Blog Archive » DeMystify Above The Fold Says:

    [...] to Guy Kawasaki’s excellent blog, we read a good post on Fluid Design that counters the age-old web maxim that you had to get everything (especially ads) above the fold. [...]

  24. feelsfrok Says:

    blog.fluidesign.com - now in my rss reader)))

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