The average human attention span may be declining, but it’s a challenge that marketers can meet with well-formulated strategies.


With the new marketing opportunities of this digital age comes a growing problem: the human attention span. The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that in the year 2015, the average human attention span has dropped to 8.25 seconds, almost one second less than that of a goldfish. According to AMA, research shows that television marketers “could have 10 seconds or fewer to get their messages across before consumers turn to their smartphones or hit fast-forward on their DVRs.” It’s an understandable issue, of course; whether you’re using a laptop or smartphone, chances are you have at some point found it difficult to focus on your task at hand.

So how are marketers supposed to catch and keep their target customers’ attention? Here are some tips:

  • Keep your message short and sweet. There’s a reason Twitter limits users to 140 characters. Make every tweet count. WriterAccess.com suggests using adjectives “to create curiosity and urgency. Instead of saying ‘new,’ say you’re ‘innovative’ or ‘have a refreshing outlook.’” Consider each social media post as a pitch. To drive potential customers to a link and sell your product, you must present your content in the most clever and concise wording possible.
  • A punchy headline is key. This follows the previous point. Forbes suggests this three-step formula:
    1. Make it engaging.
    2. Make it descriptive.
    3. Make it short.
  • Tap into people’s emotions. What can you relate your brand or product to that will make people feel something? A Harvard Business Publishing article reads:
    • “The goal is to find the link to an issue that plagues your consumers and relates directly or even tangentially to your brand or product. At the same time, you must make sure that the topic you choose also positively reflects the position of your brand.”
    • Inc.com recently published a video of Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, in which he explains the importance of emotional marketing.
      • “Make people emotional about your goods and services, and then you get unbelievably fanatical customers. You get unbelievably fanatical employees that are proud to work for such a cool place that people don’t like—they love. Emotion is what people want out of the brands that they support,” Tindell advises.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Actually, a lot more than that. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text, and 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text, according to this infographic from Digital Sherpa. Videos in particular drive website traffic and increase consumer interest. Here are some other notable statistics presented in the infographic:
    • Consumers who watch a product video are 85% more likely to purchase that product.
    • Posts that include videos attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts.