Around the year 2000, the human attention span was approximately 12 seconds. It’s since declined to 8 seconds. In addition, people spend over 6 hours a day staring at a screen. This much screen time is contributing to what’s now known as digital burnout, the physical and mental exhaustion prompted by spending too much time online and with digital devices.
So, digital marketers are not only battling a brief attention span, but they also have to be mindful of people wanting or needing to spend less time online because they’re burning out.
The following tips will help you navigate the short consumer attention span and fast-track getting customers to buy into your brand, story and vision.
Define your brand
One of the first things that attracts many people’s attention is branding. A company with a unique brand personality, identity and accompanying visual branding elements stands out and intrigues customers.
So, define your brand. What makes you unique? What’s your expertise? What’s your brand’s personality? How do you want to come across to customers? What visual branding elements can you incorporate to help you stand out?
Another tip for navigating the consumer attention span is to leverage targeted marketing.
Leverage targeted marketing
A short attention span isn’t the worst thing in the world if you know your ideal customers inside and out. That’s essentially the foundation of targeted marketing.
Targeted marketing makes for better campaigns, and uses research and an understanding of customer interests, needs and perspectives to direct messaging and budget at the most promising prospects.
If a consumer’s attention span is 8 seconds, isn’t it best to focus on capturing the attention of the people most likely to purchase your products and engage with your brand? The answer is a resounding yes.
Figure out who your ideal customers are. Learn their demographics, behaviors, challenges, feelings and anything else that could help you market to them better. Then, focus your digital marketing efforts on this specific segment of your customer base.
Your campaigns, visuals, messaging and branding should all focus on capturing these individuals' attention rather than trying to grab the attention of as many people as possible. Not only will your engagement improve, but so will your return on investment (ROI).
It may not seem like it at first, but prioritizing accessibility can directly impact your ability to navigate the short attention span of your customers.
Yes, accessibility is rooted in making everything from digital content to physical spaces enjoyable for individuals living with a disability. But in doing this, you actually make things easier and more enjoyable for all people.
Making your digital materials difficult to engage with almost guarantees people scroll past them and your business. On the other hand, ensuring your digital marketing materials are ADA-compliant and accessible makes them much easier to interact with, bettering your chances of gaining your customers’ attention.
Making your digital channels accessible will be an ongoing project. Start by ensuring all your images have alt text and all your videos have captions and transcripts. Enable keyboard navigation and pay special attention to color too. And if you want to improve your accessibility even further, refer to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Establish a presence on social media
You’ll always be a step behind in navigating the shrinking attention span if you don’t establish a solid presence on social media. Most of your customers aren’t just on social media. They’re thoroughly engaged on these platforms daily.
So, if you aren’t on social media, your customers’ attention will go to your competitors with a presence. Start with the platform your customers are on the most. Really dig into the details of the platform and how your customers navigate it.
Then, create content for the platform and publish it consistently. Consistency is key in ensuring your customers see your content on these platforms and is a deciding factor in their engagement with your business.
In addition, on social media and the rest of your digital marketing channels, lean heavily on visual content.
Lean heavily on visual content
Visual content is vital to successfully addressing the short attention span of your customers. As crucial as skimmable written content is on all of your digital marketing channels, visual content might be the most important.
This is because it takes much less mental effort to consume visual content than comprehend written content. In addition, you can get a lot more creative with visual content, which betters the chances of capturing your customers' attention.
So, if consumers are searching for visual content more than anything else, give it to them. Focus a lot of your time and creation efforts on short-form video content. It’s especially impactful when you can convey your marketing message in a highly-entertaining video in a minute or less.
You can supplement your visual content with stunning images, infographics, graphs, screenshots, memes and GIFs. Incorporating interactive content, like polls, surveys and worksheets will also improve your ability to intrigue customers in those first 8 seconds.
Digital marketers looking for engagement, feedback or lead generation, need to be mindful of the shrinking attention span of customers as well as digital burnout. You have to cater to both to connect with your audience genuinely. Use the tips above to do just that.