Did you know that a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds? This means that a goldfish will focus for 9 seconds before deciding whether something piques its interest or not. Fascinating, isn’t it? Well, according to data, the human attention span is even lower. The average attention span of a human in 2022 is 8 seconds! Yes. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and oh, there goes another potential customer. In a world where you have such a short amount of time to get the attention of someone and persuade them to buy your services or products is a tall ask. In this article, we are going to explore how we got to this point and what are some ways to increase your sales in this world of goldfish (no offense).
Declining Attention spans: A nightmare for marketers
It wasn’t always this way; this has been a gradual decline. With ever-advancing technology and always something new demanding our attention, it really isn’t a surprise that our attention spans have shortened so significantly. This decline in attention span has a wide range of effects on our everyday lives. It affects everything from what we eat to what we wear to where we decide to spend our money. Long gone are the days when the competition was low, mediums of information were limited, and people actually had time. Now we live in a world where you can’t afford to sit down and concentrate for even a few minutes lest life passes you by.
When it comes to marketing a product or a service, it all comes down to choosing the right medium that is going to maximize your ROI. You want to choose a medium that is bound to grab the attention of a user and engage them for longer periods of time. Let’s take a look at some factors that you need to keep in mind before making your marketing plan.
- The side effects of technology – The users that you are looking to target live in a world where they are constantly bombarded with new information without them having to make an effort. If someone uses a smartphone, then they are being targeted by marketing from all sorts of companies all the time. They are a notification away from being introduced to a new product or service. You may ask how this is a bad thing, right? Well, it is called information overload, and these users are just looking at this marketing material, not engaging with it. Most of the time, they just look at an email or notification and know that it is a waste of their time to open it and read it. This is a kind of progression from a salesman knocking at your door and you slamming the door shut in their face without even hearing them out. Only, now you don’t have to make any effort to get up, walk to the door and then slam it shut. You can just swipe on your phone and get the same effect.
- Distractions – It is easier than ever to get distracted now. All you need to do is think about all the things that you could be doing instead of paying attention to marketing material. You could be watching a show, you could be posting about your breakfast on Instagram, or you could be playing a video game. Or you could even be scrolling down mindlessly on any social media application. Users don’t have the time to go out of their way to interact with marketing material. If they have to go out of their way, they are not going to make the effort.
- Mental Health – This is a rather overlooked aspect of modern life. It is hard, to the extent of being nearly impossible, to keep up with the crazy fast pace of the world. This has resulted in a sharp uptake in mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. These mental health problems often lead to poor sleeping habits, which further damage a user’s ability to focus, thus shortening their attention span. 1 in 5 users that you are looking to target is likely to be affected by some sort of mental health problem. This number is significant enough to influence your marketing plan.
These are just some of the reasons for the declining attention spans of people around the world. Now, we are going to discuss why it matters from a marking perspective.
Why aren’t you getting the results that you want?
Well, it’s again because of the short attention span (shorter than that of a goldfish). If your marketing, design, copywriting, etc., are not taking into account the 8-second attention span, then it is highly unlikely that you are going to get any favorable results for your efforts.
- Low retention rate on your website – The first thing that is directly tied to short attention spans is the bounce rate that you are getting. If you have an overwhelming amount of people that are leaving your page within a minute of clicking on it, then your website is unfortunately not designed for goldfish. You need to ask yourself a few very important questions. How can you keep people engaged for longer periods of time? And most importantly, is my website designed to pique the interest of someone in under 8 seconds?
- Sluggish and slow – Another thing that is going to do you no favors is poor optimization and slow loading speed. This has less to do with short attention spans, as data shows that most users will wait for at least 10 seconds for a website to load before they give up on it. This has more to do with the fact that you are going to lose a lot of potential customers who spent the entirety of their attention span staring at the loading bar. You can have the best design and the most amazing content, but it won’t matter because of the slow loading speeds.
- Skim and conquer – Did you know that an average user only registers 28% of the total information that they see when viewing or reading a piece of content? Yes, most users nowadays don’t read your full blog or watch the entirety of your marketing material. They just skim through it and find relevant information before clicking off. You need to design your marketing material in a way that the important information is automatically highlighted. It is a common mistake that many businesses make; they assume that the user is going to be through.
- Overload of content – This much is pretty self-explanatory. There is just so much content going around that users can’t afford to take their time with one specific piece of it. There is always the desire to move to the next piece of content. It is almost too easy to skip something when you know that there is an endless supply of it out there. The trick here is to make sure that your content is different and engaging enough to stand out and leave a lasting impression.
How can you succeed where most are failing?
We have discussed the problem at large, and we have identified the causes for you. While the situation for marketers is not ideal and the task at hand is difficult, it is still possible to attract attention to your product or services. Marketing has evolved with the needs of the modern consumer, and you need to adapt to the new system. Here are some ways in which you can succeed where most are failing.
- Identify the right medium – It goes without saying that not all platforms are created equal. The purpose of all social media platforms varies. Each of them specializes in a specific niche. Some social media platforms demand more attention and seriousness than others. Think from a user’s perspective, and try to find the right platform. While it is great to market on all platforms and cast a wider net, it is also important to identify what is working the best. For example, some social media platforms are better for mindless scrolling and entertainment; users are more likely to have a shorter attention span and skip over your marketing content to get back to their entertainment. For the lack of a better word, some social media platforms demand less urgency. In contrast, some social media platforms, such as Whatsapp, demand more urgency. It can be an excellent untapped medium that can be used to get your message across more efficiently. It has more than 1 billion active users. And furthermore, it is guaranteed to have a better open rate than any other platform as it is a messaging-centric platform.
- Quality, Quality, Quality – As we mentioned above, there is no shortage of content in today’s world. You can find content in all forms and shapes as soon as you jump online. But, the big question is how much of that content leaves a mark on your mind? How much of it is high quality enough to engage you and stand out? Yes, you need to focus on the quality of your content. The mantra remains the same, you need to be direct and grab the attention of a consumer in less than 8 seconds, but those 8 seconds need to offer a memorable experience. They need to be creative, unique, and high quality. If you manage to create one quality piece of marketing content that checks all the boxes, it will be better than 100 pieces of mediocre marketing material. You are competing with more businesses than ever before, thanks to technology. You need to fight for the attention of the consumer, and the best way to do that is to stand out.
- Engage – Your marketing content has to engage the audience. It has to be interactive. It has to be relatable. It needs to call out to the consumer. It needs to inspire. Sometimes when putting in all the ingredients to make the perfect website design or copy, we often forget that it needs to be human as well. A mistake that many businesses make is going for perfection. They end up making their marketing content too robotic or uninspiring. This makes that content just another drop in the ocean. Try to make your marketing content as creative and interactive as possible. Make it fun for the user.
So, there you have it. Congratulations. You now know the secret to being a goldfish charmer. On a more serious note, user attention span is important, and it is going to become even shorter in the future. Your marketing strategy needs to be in line with the needs of the modern consumers. Your content has to be extraordinarily appealing and impactful. You also need to choose the right platform for your content. Whatsapp is often overlooked when it comes to marketing. It has more than a billion users worldwide, and you can be an early adapter that can stay ahead of the curve. We hope you find this article helpful. Let us know your thoughts down in the comments section!