How Attention Spans Affect Your Marketing Plans (Part 2 of 2)

How Attention Spans Affect Your Marketing Plans

(Part 2 of 2)

In my last blog post I discussed Microsoft’s recent study on attention spans: how they’re now shorter than that of a goldfish, what entails “attention span,” and how our brains are evolving. And that’s all well and good, but what you really want to know is how shorter attention spans affect your business. As a direct result of the study, I’ve listed three important ways to adjust your marketing strategy.

1.       Utilize unique content

Real world example: Fortin Construction blogs provide their readers with informative, helpful posts.


Real world example: Fortin Construction blogs provide their readers with informative, helpful posts.

By “unique” content, I don’t just mean make sure no one has the exact same copy as you. No, you need something that will stand out, something consumers haven’t seen or heard before. The study found that finding something new actually released dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter. With today’s digital lifestyle, you need to grab their attention right away.

Get to the point

Don’t make users work to find what they’re looking for. Instead, work to make it easy for them to see what you’re about at a glance. 19% of online users defect in the first 10 seconds. Think about what they’re searching for on your site and make it accessible. And no fluff! No one is going to sift through fluffy copy to find your point.

What does this look like in real life marketing?

  • Get to the point quickly and make sure your message is clear and concise, whether you’re making a video or writing a blog post.
  • Provide useful content that’s personal and effectively communicates its value.
  • Ask yourself, “How can this make my consumer’s life better?”

2.       Tailor your message

Real world example: Solar Advantage utilizes a clean design, streamlined to effectively communicate their message.


Real world example: Solar Advantage utilizes a clean design, streamlined to effectively communicate their message.

In addition to no unnecessary content, you need to make sure the content you’re providing is relevant to users. According to the Microsoft study, 46% of users are looking for ways to filter their content so that it’s more tailored to their needs. Don’t add to the noise. Instead, make sure your content is relevant and applicable to their needs.

Hold their attention

Since 3 out of 4 users are using multiple screens, you need to find ways to hold their attention, instead of adding to the stimuli around them. If they’re overwhelmed with input, their selective attention will fail. One of the ways you can accomplish this goal is by eliminating distractions,

What does this look like in real life marketing?

  • Make sure your message is clear by eliminating distractions. This speaks to clean design and navigation elements in websites.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand out! Remember, different is good. Challenge the norm.
  • Help draw users to the right spot with movement. Prey on their selective attention by causing them to focus on one thing.

3.       Encourage interaction

Remember what the study did find is that even though our attention spans are getting shorter, we’re getting better at multi-tasking, and alternating attention is on the rise! According to the study, “While consumers may be looking at their phones (rather than the TV), they are still responding to auditory cues, like laughing at jokes. It was also observed that ‘calls to action’ were effective in encouraging consumers to look up at key moments (e.g., when a brand/product is featured).”

Real world example: ForeverLawn uses a video with both visual and aural appeal to engage their consumers.

Adjust for multiple screens

Assume consumers have eight other tabs open when they’re on your site. Assume they’re playing a game on their phone while they’re watching your ad. Assume the TV is on while they’re reading your blog. And compensate for it. Grab their attention, pull them in.

What does this look like in real life marketing?

  • Utilize immersive content like videos to engage more senses and draw in your audience.
  • Embed calls to action within content. In a video, for example, make sure your call to action in a video is auditory and not just visual.
  • Give consumers the opportunity to dig deeper. The internet brought a wave of researchers, allowing anyone to become well-versed in almost any topic. Add depth to your company’s messages by engaging them on other devices.

Educate yourself

It’s important to see technology not as a threat but as a tool. Successful marketers have always been those who are ahead of the curve. Stay educated on technology and especially how it intersects with psychology to be the best in the business and then adjust your strategies in reaction.

Want to find out how your company can be better at reaching consumers with the attention span of a goldfish? Contact us for some suggestions tailored to you. 


About the author

Autumn Nicholson.jpg

I'm Autumn Nicholson, Director of Internet Marketing. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina. I joined Farmore Marketing in 2014 to put my internet marketing experience to good use—and to spend more time on the beach. I invest much of my time volunteering for nonprofits, reading, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. You can connect with me here:

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