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We often get requests to put an ad over or below "the fold" - the visible portion of the screen on page load, a term derived from newspapers which are delivered folded in half.

I use Chrome on a Mac with a super light address bar (no favorites, etc) on an external monitor with a 1680x1050 resolution. My fold is a bit lower than someone on IE7 with 18 search bars on a 13" Dell Inspiron 8800.

Is there an industry standard for how many pixels high the fold is? I briefly checked the IAB but was unable to find specifics.

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This answer has some figures in it: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/2838/… – paulmorriss Aug 10 '11 at 16:07
up vote 7 down vote accepted
                        **The fold does not exist.**  

                        **The fold does not exist.**  

                        **The fold does not exist.**  

                        **The fold does not exist.**  

                        **The fold does not exist.**  

                        **The fold does not exist.**  

                        **The fold does not exist.**  

                        **The fold does not exist.**                         

There is no universal 'fold line'. Browser and device sizes are too diverse to point to a single point on the screen and say, 'yep, that's where it'll cut off.' The best you can do is say, 'based on the information we've collected about visitors to this particular website, the vertical cut off point will be here for around x% of them.'

Web designers have been gently suggesting for at least five years that the fold never existed in the first place:

If your clients are asking for adverts to be placed above or below "the fold", you have a couple of options:

  1. Come clean. Tell them that, because of the vast range of devices people are using to access the Web these days, it's impossible to say where the fold will be, but that you can happily put their ad 'higher' or 'lower' on the page and charge them accordingly for the more prominent position.
  2. Collect visitor data for the website they'll be advertising on and set an 'approximate fold' based on the average visitor's screen resolution. If you're using Google Analytics, look under Visitors > Browser Capabilites > Screen Resolutions to get an idea of where this might be for each site.

What you can say with some certainty is that, the lower you put an ad down the page, the less likely it is to be visible without scrolling. So, while it's impossible to say where the fold is, it's much easier to say where it isn't. Or at least where it's less likely to be. And so it does make sense to charge for ads higher up the page. Just don't sell them on the basis of being above an imaginary line. It's impossible to make a promise like that.

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Thanks for the info. This reaffirms my position with things I can bring back to the client. – hookedonwinter Aug 10 '11 at 18:04

There is no fold, as in there being any such thing as The Fold, especially when you start factoring in weird custom toolbar configurations.

Not that it's made any significant progress toward making people stop asking for this. The true answer for your site is going to require looking at your analytics and seeing what the most common window size is. Note I did not say screen resolution. Research has repeatedly shown that people with large monitors don't browse full-screen. In absence of actual numbers, this can generally be estimated with some confidence. 1024x768 and 1280x800 are still the most common screen sizes. You can use things like Where is the Fold to get a look where(-ish) the cutoff might be for various viewport sizes.

If you look around a bit you'll notice that most sites that are reliant on advertising put their ad slots in more or less the same places: a 300x250 after three or four posts in the main column, probably another one near top of the sidebar, maybe a 160x90 not too much further down, etc. The pattern is common because it tends to satisfy this request.

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Google Labs has a neat tool for visualizing the percentage of users who can see a section of a web page. It works vertically and horizontally.

Google Browser Size is a visualization of browser window sizes for people who visit Google. For example, the "90%" contour means that 90% of people visiting Google have their browser window open to at least this size or larger.


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+1 Super handy, I appreciate actual data. – M. Dudley Aug 16 '11 at 20:36

I wouldn't think that there is a standard. I do think that most people these days have monitors that are 720+ pixels high (720p, the lowest widescreen resolution currently in use). What i would do is subtract the base browser controls of the worst browser (in terms of viewing area), without any search bars or other addons, and make that "the fold". Unfortunately I can't be more helpful than that.

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I think the most accurate figure is going to come from your webstats. Your target audience might be different to others. And consequently your users might be a different average?

A bit of an aside... but I think the importance of the fold has lessened to some extent with the introduction of the mouse wheel.

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