Lee Odden

Where is above the fold?

Lee Odden     Blogging Strategy

NewspaperI’ve recently acquired some email campaign tasks and one item I’m always hearing is to get something ‘above the fold’.

Now, I know what above the fold is. It’s the space that the visitors sees on the screen without having to scroll down. Really it’s a term from the newspaper industry where the fold of the newspaper cuts off stories. Those on top get more exposure and those on the bottom of the page.

But now that we are in the web world, it’s not the same. There are many different screen sizes, internet browsers, toolbars and the term ‘above the fold’ just doesn’t seem to fit.

So my question to you is, where is ‘above the fold’ on a computer screen and has it been standardized? Should I assume that 1024×768 is a good size? But then again, how does that work when it comes to emails?

That’s what is on my mind today. What are your thoughts? 🙂

[tags]email,email-marketing,email-campaign,above-the-fold[/tags]

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. That is a good question. I think one’s definition of “above the fold” lies in the stats. What percentage of your visitors are using 1024×768 or larger? That should give you the answer.

  2. Yep, agree with Randa. Check the stats and go with what your audience are using.

    My desktop res is 1280×1024.
    Laptop is 1280×800.

  3. The problem is it’s an email, not a web page. It’s much harder to gage what users are using and at what size when it’s email.

    The second issue, if we go off screen size in the site’s stats, is if the user has toolbars. Yahoo, Google, StumbleUpon are just a few of the many that people can install. Sure the screen might be 1280×1024, but how can one gage the actual visible screen area? 🙂

  4. You’re so right about the toolbars Thomas and as your audience is receiving this by email, they may not have visited a related web site for weeks/months. Ergo, you can assume that site stats are an accurate representation of your audience’s screen size but you cannot be sure.

    I used to get really hung-up on “above the fold” kind of stuff (and I still do about some things) to the point that it just constipated me. For what it’s worth, my priorities would be as follows:

    1. If you can pursuade your client, send emails in plain text or multipart – better chance of making it through anti-spam software and no worries about screen width. The trade-off is that you may have to sacrifice gathering campaign stats.

    2. Put effort into the subject line and the sender email address. Your audience will use these to make a choice on whether your email gets opened or goes straight to the trash/junk. You’ve got to overcome this hurdle before you can even begin to worry about the fold.

    3. You can be confident that if your audience opens the email, they’ll at least see the first body paragraph. If you get their interest here, they’ll be happier to scroll below the fold – wherever it may be.

    4. Know your audience; write relevant, useful info; no b.s. and no spammy stuff (come to think of it – this should probably sit at number 1…)

    Hope this helps

  5. Great tips Mpjx.

  6. In my opinion, the question is not about the placement of content on a page. Clearly prominent information should be large and to the top.

    The question is… Do scrollbars present a usability problem?

    http://www.designinginteractive.com/2007/09/12/forget-about-the-fold/

  7. I don’t believe one vertical scroll bar to be an issue. Especially with so many mice having a scroll wheel built in. Frames, iFrames or horizontal scrollbars I can see being an issue.

  8. Jon Johnson says:

    This is a near impossible question to answer as some have pointed out we are talking about an email in the inbox not a webpage. There are so many different email clients and ways in which the message will display. Being a MAC user I can change the height and width of my preview pane which is what I use to look at a message before determining whether to delete it or read it.
    My advice is to add a “view this email in your browser link” and have your main heading or call to action explaining your email content in the top banner of your email.

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