Is your ad being seen, rather than “shown”?

Yesterday I looked at how to ensure you keep important things “above the fold” for the large majority of visitors to your website. But what about other sites which link to you, especially ones which you’re paying to be on?

In particular, I’m thinking of banner advertising. If your advertisement is entirely above the fold (i.e visible to viewers without scrolling down), every visitor has a chance to see it, and evidence says that 60% of visitors do so. If it’s below the fold, only a proportion of visitors will even get the chance to see it, because many will get all the information they need from the top part of the page and will leave without scrolling down.

Now, it’s unlikely that your banner advertisement appears low down on a page: most websites which run banners put them right at the top, because it’s in their interest to make the adverts work. However, if you do find your banner has been placed in a position where visitors would have to scroll down to see it, my own experience is that you might only get half as many views as you would at the top of the page, which you might like to bear in mind when negotiating rates.

Of more concern are websites which run their adverts vertically. Let’s consider the tall, thin “skyscraper” advertisement. This is normally 600 pixels high. As we discovered yesterday, 90% of visitors have screen resolutions of 768 pixels or greater height. But with all the menus and toolbars, and the likelihood that their browser window won’t be maximised to full screen height, at the bottom end of this range they’ll probably only have 600 pixels height available. So if you have a 600 pixel high advert, and you want it to be visible, without being cut off, to 90% of visitors, it’ll need to butt up to the top edge of the screen. And that’s quite unusual.

Bear this in mind too if you’re advertising on those sites which run a whole bunch of small square ads, one above the other, at the side of the page. It’s not unusual for only three or four of these to be above the fold for 90% of visitors, so you’re going to get much better value if you can get a guarantee from the publisher that you’ll always be towards the top of the pile.

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