You have 8 seconds to get the customer’s attention!

29th April 2016

According to recent studies, you now have around eight seconds to get a customer’s attention. This is a big decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000.

To put this in to context, the average goldfish is estimated to have an attention span of nine!

Research carried out by Microsoft suggests that the constant barrage of information and notifications from our smartphones, along with the fast pace of online media in general, has created a constant demand for our attention, and are likely contributing factors leading to this decrease, as people are pulled from one distraction to the next.

You have 8 seconds to get the customer’s attention!

What does this mean in practise? Well, in today’s competitive environment, you have to get your message across in the first few seconds of engagement or your potential customer has likely moved on to the next shiny thing and forgotten all about you.

A good example of how some marketing campaigns fail to understand this concept are the pre-roll adverts on YouTube. How many times have you clicked a YouTube link, only to see an ad start to play, featuring a group of generic, smiley young people hanging out together, with music playing in the background but giving no indication of what the product is? Five seconds later and you’ve hit the ‘Skip’ button and you’re on your way to the video you wanted to watch, with no idea what was being advertised to you. Creating an advert that runs for thirty seconds and expecting someone to voluntarily sit through it is highly unrealistic, especially if the amusing cat video you want to watch is only 10 seconds long. If advertisers haven’t got their message across in the first 5 seconds that the viewer is forced to watch, then the ad has missed its mark and become an expensive waste of time and money.

The short attention span can also have huge implications on your content marketing strategy. People don’t have the patience to read through long winded content, so make it interesting and engaging. Too many marketeers focus on the length of content (longer content is better for SEO), but don’t put enough emphasis on telling their users an interesting story.

Other considerations should include website speed, UX, ease of navigation and website accessibility. Users won’t hang around if they can’t find the content they are looking for or if the page is taking forever to load.

But before you start creating bite-sized content consumable by a goldfish, read the BBC study that suggests the “attention span lower than a goldfish” claim as a myth. The study disagrees with the concept of attention span decreasing.

Source Global Research states their survey about the habits of numerous business people and thought leaders, demonstrated that a significant number of them are looking for substantial content pieces. However, it also confirmed the short articles were the most preferred.

So what should we focus on? Do what’s right for your audience. If you provide an amazing experience to your audience, they will come back for more, regardless the length of your content.

Short attention span and translated content

A similar consideration should be taken into account when it comes to targeting foreign markets and overseas customers. If your content is not in the native language of the intended recipients, potential viewers will simply skip past and look at the next search result, or website. The decision to click a link, or read past the first few sentences of content has almost become instinctive nowadays; with the click of a mouse, or swipe of the finger, occurring before the brain has had a chance to fully process the action. It is therefore vital that your content is presented in such a way as to immediately grab the attention of the viewer and make clear what the benefits of reading or clicking further will provide. While SEO might get you to the top of search results, if the first snippet of content that the viewer sees is not in their native language, they simply move on to the next one.

Adding translation to your project costs less than you might think and is a far more effective allocation of budget when compared to the cost of creating a YouTube adverts that nobody watches. By ensuring your content is translated by Foreign Tongues, and targeted for foreign territories and their audiences, you make your content accessible to a much larger number of consumers and, more importantly, you keep them engaged.

Call us on 0800 032 5939 or contact and see how we can help you with your next project.

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