“The average attention span of the modern human being is about half as long as whatever you’re trying to tell them.” – Meg Rosoff
From my short, but intense experience with digital and content marketing there is one thing that I definitely have learned – it is extremely hard to get people’s attention, and even harder to keep it if you somehow get them to click on your post or page. People do not like to spend too much time on one place. That is probably because there is so much going on on our little smartphone screens, that it is almost impossible to make someone read over a thousand words. This makes content marketing a huge challenge for every marketeer.
When I was a child, we only had two TV channels and one of them was on air for 12 hours a day and the other one was on at 5pm till midnight. I had no problems on watching whatever it was on, nor was I clicking between the channels continuously. One of the reasons was because we did not have a TV with a remote control yet and as the youngest in the house, often I was the remote, so when I was on my own I was happy with whatever was on.
Then cable TV and remote control TV sets changed everything. Now we had hundreds of useless channels and the ability to quickly go through all of them, without having to leave the comfort of the armchair. Suddenly it was very hard for me to keep my attention focused on one programme, because I had that urge to keep on clicking as if I will miss on something if I stop.
Today history repeats itself and the same thing happens online. There was a time when writing a blog was enough, words were enough to get people’s attention. Even at the beginning of Mark Zuckerberg’s, then thefacebook.com, people were happy with just reading about what is going on with their friends. Then in 2006 they introduced the News Feed and everything completely changed. The continues scrolling has begun. This goes not just for Facebook, but everything that is published online. People just read the title of an article or watch just a few seconds of a video. To make them read or watch the full material it needs to be extremely interesting for them.
There is that need to continuously keep scrolling as if we are going to miss on something if we stop. It is the cable TV story all over again. It is extremely hard for humans to just keep their attention on just one thing for a few minutes. Really interesting post by Hubspot shows that “55% of people are spending fewer than 15 seconds on your website”. This information could make any new blogger give up, before they even start.
Then again, we can’t really blame people for having a hard time on keeping their attention and stop scrolling for a minute or two. Unless it is a video of a cute kitty or puppy that is, apparently cubs have some sort of control over people’s brains. Remember when the hundreds of TV channels became available and made everyone keep on clicking and not giving the remote a rest? Well, now it is the same with blogs and news feeds. And they are not hundreds, or thousands, we talk millions here. A statistic from brandwatch.com shows that “On WordPress alone, 56 million blog posts are published every month”. That is only WordPress (you can see life map of people posting on the platform here). To this we have to add the other blogging platforms and your news websites and your social networks and sports pages and so on. It is impossible to stay on the same page.
The content today, of the content marketing strategy cannot just be text, no matter how good of a writer you are. A Pulitzer prize winner will probably lose to a one-minute video of falling asleep puppies. There are though plenty of tools that can help content marketers to change that and take some of that attention of their customers back.
Images is one of them. Like children minds work, text (i.e. books) looks more appealing to them if they have big bright colorful images. These images have to make sense and be relevant to the content. A kitty chasing a butterfly won’t help you for your new product release email campaign…. or maybe it will, who knows. Relevancy is important! In one of their eyetracking studies, Nielsen Norman Group concludes that:
Another helpful tool for your content are infographics. Infographics are like visualised text. It is much easier for people to understand. It is not as boring as a plain text and it is to the point. According to massplanner.com “Many marketers favour this type of visual content which is shared and liked 3X more than any other visual materials available”
The last tool and the one that is going to be (or already is) the next big thing in content marketing is video. A prediction by syndecast states that “in 2017 video will take 74% of the internet traffic”. Bad news for bloggers and great news for vloggers. Marketers are realising that and are moving to that direction for their content marketing strategies. Think about the last time you were product searching for a tech gadget. You probably looked at, at least one video review of the product.
In social media video is growing with an insane speed. At the beginning of 2015 there were 4 billion videos viewed on Facebook and by the end of the year that number has doubled to 8 billion (source: techcrunch.com). Obviously people prefer to watch than to read and the technology and internet speed is finally able to support this need. Marketers are starting to use it in their advantage to persuade more customers.
If you are still here and read the whole thing, well done to you and thank you for proving me wrong. Here is a reward in the form of a funny pug by Loca the Pug