Marketers, we’ve got some good news: You don’t need to fear the “fold” any longer. (Tell your designers, too.)
Many, if not most, of our recent Landing Page Optimization Workshop attendees were convinced that their call-to-action, email capture, or sign-up form must appear “above the fold” on a page.
The concept is easy to understand. As a carryover from long-established newspaper and direct-mail design principles, this has been considered a best practice online for years. Who would argue with the underlying logic that we’re too busy to read, we hate to scroll, and we have a three-second attention span when we’re online?
That’s all true. And many of our landing page tests have done well with important elements near the top.
However, there’s a limit to how far you can go in trying to accommodate visitors within an 800×600 pixel space. At a certain point, trying too hard to keep everything above the fold actually negates the effectiveness of the layout.
When you start cramming images, headlines, body copy, fields, buttons, navigation and other elements into a page, the impact of the message you’re trying to communicate can easily be overshadowed. We’ve seen an adverse effect in several tests of this scenario.
It’s much more effective to disregard the fold and focus on clearly stating the value of the product or service. Make it abundantly clear to visitors why they should take the action you want them to take (fill out a form; give an email address).
We’ve seen countless landing pages that throw an email capture form at visitors without offering anything in return or describing what the site or offer was even about. These are classic examples of site flow disruption — and you can tell that concern about scrolling below the fold influenced the layout.
So here’s your chance to break the mold and create landing pages that run counter to the conventional wisdom (while your competitors stick with the myth). Consider testing a landing page design that presents the offer and puts the call-to-action right where it should be … even if that happens to be 700 or 1,200 pixels down the page.
Research analyst Adam Lapp contributed to this post.