Updated: Jan 21
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.
Snackable Ideas To Feast On
In the world of content marketing arena, it appears that less is now more. You must find ways to promote your brand and pack as much information possible while using as few “brain cells” as possible. Here are some creative ways to incorporate snackable content in your marketing.
1. A Picture Is A Thousand Words
Research has shown that our brain possesses pictures better than words. Pictorial stimuli are easier to process and tend to stay in our memory for an extended time. According to an article in Forbes, the use of pictures and Infographics adds credibility to your website and boosts traffic. Social media statistics indicate that visual content is shared more frequently than textual content. If you want to attract your audience’s attention, say it with a picture, not a thousand words.
The word meme first appeared in Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book “The Selfish Gene.” Fast forward 30 years later, and the word meme is the new internet sensation. From animals to famous actors, from politicians to historical personas, memes are doing all the talk, without the long texts. Memes are ideal if you want to grab your audience; throw in a bit of humor for a spur of spontaneous laughter, and you have a win-win situation. The best way to create a meme is to find something familiar and present it from a different angle and viewpoint.
Vine is a video sharing app by Twitter that allows you to post and watch 6-second looping video clips. Vine has taken away much of the hassle of creating and uploading a video. Numerous brands use vine for advertising their products using short video clips that fall within the 8-second attention span. If a picture is better than a thousand words, then a video is better than a thousand pictures.
Content marketers can probably learn a thing or two from Japanese wisdom. Japanese are typically people of few words, and so their Haikus offer a bulk of content condensed in three crisp lines. This style of spartan short content is the epitome of “less is more”, and when you are competing for 8 seconds, haiku is a creative and memorable way to get your message across without using too much white space.
5. Quote graphics
A compelling quote is always the right way to capture attention. Add to it some riveting visuals, and it instantly becomes more memorable. Your quote is the main dish of your content, serve it with a side of graphics, and instantly elevate it to a Michelin five-star culinary experience. Create quote-oriented snackable content relevant to your product, pair it with graphics and visuals, and give your audience something delicious to snack on.
In this world of constant information flow, our attention span is limited to a mere 8-seconds. Content marketers find it increasingly hard to engage their audience long enough to push them through the funnel towards conversion. Snackable content seems to be the remedy for short attention span: it is quick, engaging, interesting, and memorable, and you should absolutely consider it.