How to Market in an Attention Deficit World

Goldfish have a longer attention span than humans.

No, this is not fake news or a salacious headline designed to generate clicks.  Believe it or not, there is real scientific data to back this up. According to a new study from Microsoft, most people generally lose concentration after eight seconds.  The same study also reports that goldfish have an attention span of nine seconds.

It’s easy to blame the almighty smartphone. The explosive growth of portable devices has undoubtedly led to a massive disruption in the way we consume information. We expose ourselves to a frenetic and often fleeting stream of news and trivia on a daily, well, who are we kidding, hourly basis.

We have become a nation of addicts, checking our phones dozens of times every hour.

A study by Deloitte found that Americans collectively check their smartphones upwards of 8 billion times per day. On average, people in the United States across all age groups check their phones 46 times per day. Not surprisingly, 18-24 year olds lead the pack, checking their phones 74 times a day.

Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Twitter, sports, news, and the list goes on and on. Notifications and alerts bombard us by the second.

So what’s a marketer to do? How do brands stay relevant in the face of this digital onslaught? Here are five simple ways to cut through the clutter.

  1. Be authentic. Everyone can spot a fake. Make sure your blogs, tweets, and content is representative of who you are and what your brand stands for.
  2. If you don’t have something to say, then don’t say it just to put something out there.
  3. Less is more. Call it the Twitterfication of content, but we all suck at reading these days, so be brief.
  4. Be visual. (see above.) We are a nation of viewers more than readers. After all, we only have an attention span of 8 seconds.
  5. Create content that makes viewers want to do something or take some kind of action—this can be as simple as making viewers want to share, learn more, or read more. Give them something to do or somewhere to go.

Goldfish are cute and look good in an aquarium!