So you’ve heard the line you should have a call-to-action “above the fold” right?

In the past it was a almost a rule that you had to have what we call a call-to-action(CTA) above the fold. What if I told you that some research shows us that placing your CTA below the fold actually allows for a higher conversion rate? Got your attention now? Well how about this. What if I was to tell you that conversion rates aren’t affected by where you place your CTA? Let me tell you why…

What is above the fold firstly?

For those of you who might not know “above the fold” refers to the section of your website that you first see when a page loads. Essentially the visible part of your website when someone lands on it. Now as a rule web designers and marketers would insist that a CTA would be placed in this section for a visitor to act upon. The concept of “well you’ve got the person to your website make sure they do what you want them to do”.

In the past this Call to Action would normally be a form which someone would somehow feel the need to fill out to receive something in return. Be it a call back, a eBook or something like a free quote. This was down to solicit your details immediately without really explaining your service or product just yet. The trend these days are CTA buttons that prompt you to go to sections that apply to what you are looking for. Some websites just have impactful images that make you want to read on.

Here are a few pictures to show you what we are talking about. and the various options.

Apples version is to showcase their featured product with large impactful images.

Samsung current website has the buttons to prompt you top view or purchase their product.

Here smartsheets has a signup via email field to receive something for free in return.

Here is the traditional 50/50 split screen with a signup CTA from Evernotes website.

So where where should I place my CTA?

Marketingexperiments¬†showcased an example where they had a 20% increase in conversion when they moved the CTA below the fold. So I should move my CTA below the fold then? No I didn’t say that! What we are doing is creating the argument that a CTA doesn’t always have to be above the fold. There are several examples where companies experimented with above and below the fold CTA which resulted in a variety of results.

So what so is the ideal place to put your CTA?

Well you won’t like the answer: It depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Now before you say that doesn’t help there’s more to that. Why I say it depends is because what research shows us is that CTA shouldn’t just be placed in certain areas, they should be placed in the right areas. These areas are where you want your visitor to take action.

Example 1:

You are a new service provider that hasn’t been established yet and want people to leave their details so you can call them and offer your services. Now what are the chances that when a visitor arrives on your site, having never heard about you, the first thing they will do is to give you their details? Not very good. So, would it not rather be a better idea to tell your audience a bit more about the service you offer and then hit them with a special offer?

I think we all know that answer! Obviously there will be exceptions but just be reasonable. Establish trust in your brand. Don’t demand it.

Example 2:

You are an established brand that sells online. You have a featured product that you want people to buy. Now most people will know about this product so when they are visiting your website they are going there for a reason. Give them the opportunity to quickly buy your product as they land. Don’t allow them to wonder your site and forget what they were there to do. Get them to make the decision, purchase then they can browse.

Again not a rule but with pre sold customers you want to keep their momentum going and force the purchase decision.

Example 3:

You have new app that nobody knows about but is free to download. So easy access to your product but you need to tell people why they need it in their lives. This is where we need strong imagery and content to back up your CTA. A few strong lines with the right images might just be enough for people to want to check out your app and act on your CTA.

Not so much establishing trust in your brand but rather intriguing people enough that they will want to act and giving them the option to do just that.

In summary

What we have learned is that it doesn’t matter where you place your CTA, but rather what motivates people to make a decision. Understand your target audience, your offering and then plan your user experience on that. Personally I will say that using buttons for shortcutting around your site to the right places is a great way of getting people to act but doesn’t always apply.

The placement of your CTA on your website has everything to do with conversion. Not just anywhere but in the “right places”. The moment you have a prospect wanting to take action your CTA better be visible! Remember though, don’t spam people with CTA’s, rather ensure they are put on a path that ensures conversion. Sometimes less is more and ensuring your users have a great experience on your website is everything.