Above the fold: Influencing customer reactions
All of our lives we hear people saying it’s wrong to judge a book by the cover, yet when arriving on a website, many of us do exactly that. Our research indicates you have as little as two seconds to shape a customer’s opinion.
That’s why first impressions are vital and it can still be argued that above the fold content is essential real estate for a website. As customer behaviour and technology changes, however, we must question whether traditional usage of above the fold is still valid.
In this article we focus on the following areas:
- Defining the fold
- Whether the fold is still important
- How we used the fold to improve results
What is above the Fold?
Above the fold is the area of a website visible to a person when they land on a website without them having to scroll. It is the first view customers will have on your site, maybe even your brand. The term comes from the Newspaper industry; Newspapers had a limited amount of space to convince readers to buy their paper. By displaying the most compelling headlines and images above the fold, they maximised their chance of securing a sale.
Above the fold in practice
CandidSky Optimise The Flavour Factory
The Flavour Factory are a luxury and established e-liquid brand that launched in 2013.
Having attracted a significant client base through organic search, The Flavour Factory understood they needed to make continuous improvements to their website to keep on top of ever-changing client demands and maximise profit from an increasingly competitive marketplace. The Flavour Factory approached us to help them achieve these objectives. Our conversion rate optimisation (CRO) team created the strategy. Our web design and development teams implemented the necessary changes to deliver, test and tweak the hypothesis. From our site audit and customer research, we identified important insights related to UX and conversion, specifically impacted by the above the fold information being presented.
- The primary product, bundles, was located below the fold
- There was no easy way for a potential customer to register interest without making a purchase
- The navigation bar included low priority links that were not the primary focus of the purchase cycle
- Relocate bundles above the fold and pump up the size of the image tile to give it prominence
- Add a subscriptions tile to capture the data of potential customers not quite ready to commit to a purchase
- Decrease the size of the product category image tiles pulling them above the fold
- Relocated the login and basket icons to decrease clutter and reduce distraction
- Replace FAQ and blog links in the navigation with higher priority links – bundles and subscriptions
- Increased revenue by 91.02%
- Increased click-through rate by 60.40%
- Increased conversion rate from 4.07% to 5.70%.
Small changes grounded in solid customer research and analysis of highly relevant data sets will result in noticeable improvements for your brand. Clearly, in this instance, the hierarchy of information on the page, in particular, what the above the fold content was, had a massive positive impact on The Flavour Factory.
Despite faster internet connections decreasing page loading times, and a massive uptake in mobile and tablet usage making scrolling more natural, the fold can still effect conversion and user experience.
Customers are in charge; they have more choice than ever before meaning you have to make it as easy as possible for them to complete your desired action. Customers have become impatient; they can and do leave websites if they do not find the information they want straight away. Customers do scroll, but they need a reason to do so and this reason needs to become apparent quickly.
As a strong advocate in the power of CRO, I am a firm believer in employing the principle of marginal gains. Constantly look at your website, think about each page and what you want it to achieve then trial various ways of achieving your goals. If it doesn’t work, try again. If it works, make it better!
I’ll be writing more on marginal gains in the coming weeks so stay tuned, and as ever I’d love to hear your opinion or answer any questions you may have. Find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.