Marketing to Goldfish: How to Survive Decreasing Attention Spans

If you do any kind of marketing at all for your company, then I'm sure you're already aware of how hard it is to get in front of your target customers.  What about when you finally did get their attention... did you realize that you'd have an easier time trying to hold the attention of a goldfish than you would on keeping a human focused?  With decreasing attention spans it can feel like you'll never get your message through and bring in more customers.

People forget things and get distracted

People forget things a lot. Even some of the basics, like:

  • 7% of people forget their own birthday from time to time
  • 25% of teens forget major details on close friends or family
  • 39% of people have forgotten a basic piece of information, or lost an everyday item one day in the past week!

That’s a lot of seemingly easy and basic things to forget. Maybe it has something to do with how easy we get distracted?  

Human beings are so easily distracted that...

  • An average office worker will open their email inbox around 30 times an hour,that’s 240 times in an average, 8 hour, workday
  • People usually pick up their phones an average of 3 hours and 16 minutes a day, which means they picked up their phone an average of 1,500 times a week

Because of these reasons, people don’t tend to spend long looking at blog articles and in fact, most readers will only read about 28% of what you write... at most!

So, what do I do to keep their attention?

Try to make them see eye to eye

When making an article, you may be writing something that makes perfect sense to you because you understand what it’s like.  You have either lived it, saw it personally, or had it happen to a loved one.  But your target audience may not understand, and then you’ve lost a potential customer who may have otherwise finished the article.

So, how do you prevent this?

Make sure your position is crystal clear. Describe a personal experiences to the reader to help them understand.  Think about their 

Make it personal

Whenever you write something more personal to the reader, it becomes more important to the reader. Personally interesting or meaningful information can grab attention. You don’t have to do a lot of explaining when it’s something the reader can relate to on a personal level. For example, most people have moved houses and have had a problem of some sort. A common problem is hiring a bad moving company. This is a problem that most have dealt with, so it doesn’t need much explaining to get the reader to have an image of what you’re talking about in their head.

Show emotion

When you write showing emotion, readers latch on to it and it can bring clarity to the reader. It can also give the reader a good reason to talk about you and your business. There’s some neurological effect as well. Using emotions triggers the circuits in the brain that activate behavior and decision making. Emotion is much better at effecting these parts of the brain than logic.

Use video

Using a video instead of text can be a very effective tool to keep attention.In fact, most people, 59%, would much rather watch a video than read text, when there is an option provided, but videos need to be able to get someone’s attention in 8 seconds or less, because by the ninth second, they’re already heading towards the back button. You need to keep in mind is that  just like with the text, you need to keep your video short. The average length of watched videos is around 2.7 minutes.if your video needs to be longer than, say about five minutes, try and break it up into two parts.

If you would like to learn more on making a video, check out this article:

What have you read that kept your attention

I would love to know if you've read an article or watched a video that kept your attention all the way to end.  Share a link or tell me about it in the comments below!

Ashley Burnett

Web Ninja

One of my first jobs was running a cash register in my grandmothers diner. My job was to talk to customers and and to keep everything in my area neat and organized. Now years later those lessons I learned help me in managing client files and projects. Making sure our team is working to help our clients reach their business goals is what drives me everyday.

I am a strong believer that to succeed in life you have to work hard and never let roadblocks stand in your way. You have to read and study but you also have to experience life and all that it can teach you.

My mission is to help clients and our team have the materials and knowledge they need to make every project a success, while making sure to spread some of the information I learn around for others to enjoy.