How Shortening Attention Span Is Making Marketers Rethink Marketing

Have you noticed how we grab our phones as soon as we finish work? Or when nothing is happening and we need something to capture our attention? We simply cannot stand if there is nothing that we can pay attention to. Have you also noticed that we get bored quickly? We tend to move from one thing to another within seconds due to our need to transfer our attention somewhere else. 

Well, if you have noticed these, your beliefs are supported by a study done by Microsoft corp. This study confirms that our attention span is a maximum 8 seconds which has drastically decreased since 2000, which used to be 12 seconds. To make us feel even worse, the study confirmed that a goldfish’s attention is 9 seconds which is just a bit longer than ours. 

What does this mean for marketers ? 

Marketing teams aim to capture our attention and retain it in order to deliver their information effectively. Their ultimate goal is to make us do something they promote or buy something they advertise. Until now, they had limitless marketing methods to reach their goals. With a huge advancement in technology, marketers have to rethink their marketing methods due to the changes in humans’ attention span. 

People are surrounded by countless distractions every moment of the day. There is rarely any moment when we are not paying attention to anything at all. With technology being available on our hands, we have access to limitless information. We became dependent on easy and quick access to information. This has contributed to a shorter attention span and shorter patience. We need a lot of information, in the least amount of time possible. 

There have been claims that age determines the way marketers target different groups of people. However, there is a common characteristic of all people in these times and that is quick satisfaction. All groups of people want to reach an information piece quickly and with maximal satisfaction possible. This is called an Impulse Generation in which people are reliant on their technological devices to achieve instant gratification without spending too much time on a specific thing. 

What this means for marketers is that they have to adapt to consumers’ need to gain immediate satisfaction and to organize the information in a manner that can be digested within 8 seconds. 

Adjusting to the short attention span phenomena

1. Utilizing WIIFM

Essentially, we all look for something that benefits us. We look for products or services that will ease our life in some aspect or will maximize our utility. It can safely be said that, in everything we hear, read, or do, we look for something that can be used for ourselves. Whether that is information, product, or service. So, the slogan WIIFM which stands for “What’s in it for me?” Simply calls upon the importance of personalizing the content to your target audience. 33% of the customers stated that they would love if the marketing content would be personalized according to their personal preferences. 

With the shortening attention span, the customers want to get the answer to WIIFM as quickly as possible. While, in the past, making long advertisements could have been effective, nowadays this is different. People, regardless their age, want to see WIIFM as quickly as possible so they can move on to other things.

2. Creating genuine content

Emotions are among the most important aspects of content marketing. A marketing content built upon powerful emotions will reach your audience more effectively.

What marketers can do is to empathize with the potential user. Ask yourself: What is the customer trying to solve? How do they want to achieve that? When the marketer understands the needs of the customers, this will have to be conveyed in the content that is being marketed.

Genuine content means content that comes from the heart. Sometimes we tend to forget that everyone is unique and the audience consists of thousands or millions of people. What we all share is that we can all feel and have emotions.

Creating genuine content means creating content that truly delivers a message to the audience. A message that answers their needs and wants. This can be created in many ways. Marketers can choose personal stories and experiences, common problems that people face, or a difficulty we have been going through. 

3. Using engaging methods

Marketers have to use methods that convey the message in the best possible way. With the shortening attention span, people’s preferences have moved to video-based contents. Why? Because it is easier, quicker and more effective. You can listen to a video no matter whether you are driving, commuting to work, or preparing a meal for dinner.

There are almost 100 million internet users who watch an online video each day. Also, 90% of people have admitted that when they are deciding to buy a product, watching a video aids their decision process. So, videos seem to be more effective when it comes to marketing. 

Final Thoughts

As technology advances, people’s habits, wants and needs will also undergo many changes. Marketing teams will need to change and update their methods as they go. So, change is inevitable.

However, as a rule of thumb, the audience needs constant monitoring to be able to track the changes that happen. As long as marketing teams practice empathy, and appropriate marketing methods towards the audience, the marketed content will be able to reach the success it aims.

About author : Edita is a Freelance Writer. She graduated in Psychology and Public Policy and she is a lifelong Mental Health advocate. She loves reading, writing and talking to people.

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