Attention span, our ability to remain focused on a single task for a specific amount of time, is a topic that has always fascinated clinical and cognitive psychologists. Whereas attention span has traditionally been seen as purely belonging in the world of psychology, marketers have recently discovered that this previously unchartered territory should also be of interest to them as well.
ATTENTION SPAN AND WHY IT MATTERS
Why? Well, the answer lies in the fundamentals of marketing. If you want to sell something, you must first grab your potential buyers’ attention. Once you have that attention, you need to tailor your marketing strategy within that span. In other words, you only have x amount of time to sell whatever it is you are selling. Give information, promote it, convince your buyer that they want what you are selling, and finally, convert.
Granted, this does not seem to be such a daunting task, unless of course, you realize that this said span is rarely more than a few seconds! A 2000 study on attention span, by Microsoft, Canada, showed that average humans remain focused for 15 seconds. Interestingly enough, this dropped to a mere 8 seconds by 2015. The Technical University of Denmark published a study in 2019, explaining this phenomenon. According to their results, an abundance of information narrows our collective attention span.
Once we are online, we are constantly bombarded with a never-ending stream of information, bait clicks, ads, pop-ups, etc. Smartphones allow us to log online anytime, everywhere, anywhere. We can log online for a few minutes while at work, waiting for the bus, or sipping our coffee at the local cafeteria. We no longer only log online to research for a specific topic. We surf the net to kill time or entertain ourselves. Facebook, Instagram, and other social media apps invite us to hop online and check “what’s new” for a few minutes multiple times a day. Indeed, there is a world of so many exciting things to read, watch, and listen to online; we rarely spend more than 8 seconds on any content.
Attention span, therefore, matters. And it matters because declining attention spans are, unfortunately, killing your content marketing strategy at worst, and shaping it at best.
IS SNACKABLE CONTENT THE REMEDY?
You are a savvy marketer and understand why attention span matters; you only have 8 seconds to promote your brand before your potential buyer turns his attention elsewhere. In fact, the closer a potential buyer is to to the top of the funnel – the brand awareness phase – the shorter the attention span they have for your product.
So, what do you do? How do you engage your audience and get them to stay on your page longer? You use snackable content.
Snackable content is website content designed to be easy for viewers to consume and to share. It is bits and pieces of more extensive content skillfully designed to engage your audience. To promote brand awareness, marketers must frequently publish fresh content to drive site traffic. If the content is not intriguing enough, viewers will not spend time on it and will soon click away to more exciting and riveting content. Clicking away decreases any chance of your content being shared, let alone leading to conversions.
Snackable content, on the other hand, grabs the attention of your viewers. It temps them to stay on your page longer and spend more time getting to know your brand. Getting viewers to allot your content more than its 8 seconds fair share is not an easy task. Viewers are often passers-by who are browsing and don’t have the time or patience to consume long, text-heavy content filled with information.