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Why You Must Have Calls to Action Above the Fold

I recently stripped all third party ads and promotion from this web site, and used the space to promote my own products more effectively.

I put three promotions / callouts / calls to action in the side column: one for the Pro Web Design Course, one for Save the Pixel, and another for my SEO from Scratch video series.

Then I thought I’d repeat those promotions, so they appear again below the recent posts and site search.

Those lower promotions have different text. (In fact, I allowed myself to write more, because real estate gets cheaper the lower down the page you go.)

I thought it might be interesting to put a different link on each of the side promotions, so that I could go back and see how many people click the top one versus the lower one.

Here are my results

From the past month…

Pro Web Design Course Sales Page

  • Out of 2993 total clicks (from all sources, including other callouts in articles, plus email broadcasts)
  • 680 people clicked the promotion at the TOP of the side column
  • 109 people clicked the├é┬ápromotion LOWER DOWN the side column
  • So over 6x as many people clicked the promotion above the fold

Save the Pixel Sales Page

  • 1541 total clicks
  • 876 clicks on the TOP promotion
  • 101 clicks on the LOWER promotion
  • Nearly 9x as many people clicked the TOP promotion

SEO from Scratch Sales Page

  • 944 total clicks
  • 386 clicks on the TOP promotion
  • 118 clicks on the LOWER promotion
  • Over 3x as many people clicked the TOP promotion


  1. All the promotions nearer the top of the page got significantly more clicks than the lower ones.
  2. The promotions that appear “above the fold” (i.e. visible without scrolling) – the Course and Save the Pixel – got significantly more clicks (2993 and 1541, against the 944 that the third promotion got).
  3. Plus, a higher proportion of those clicks were clicked on the topmost promotions – the ones that are visible above the fold.
  4. So if you have an important promotion, make sure you put a call to action above the fold. I would say in the top 600 pixels.

Follow-up Experiment

I wonder what will happen if I rearrange the promotions. If I reverse the order, I would expect these results to change.

Of course, this will help me isolate other factors, such as the differing appeal of these offers.

I will make that change now, and we’ll see what happens in another month’s time.

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben has over 20 years' experience in web design and marketing, and is one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written a bunch of books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally. In 2015, Ben created Open-Source Marketing, which promises to turn the practice of marketing upside down.. Find out more at http://opensourcemarketingproject.org

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