Seconds to Sell
Attention is a hard problem to crack.
- Morgan Housel: “You have five seconds to get people’s attention. Books, blogs, emails, reports, it doesn’t matter – if you don’t sell them in five seconds you’ve exhausted most of their patience.”
- Exchange4Media (quoting research): “Human attention dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8 seconds in 2018, beating out the ever-distracted goldfish, which clocks in at 9 seconds. This could mean that as a result, advertisers and publishers are struggling to hook consumers and keep them engaged.”
- Wyzowl has some infographics on attention span.
- Digital Doughnut: If you are an email marketer, you have only 3 seconds to capture the attention of your audience.
An alternate view from The Mobile Presenter: “If the human attention span was really that short, we would never have made it down from the trees. You have to be aware that there are two types of attention span: Focused attention is the amount of time that a human can focus his or her undivided attention on something. This, according to several sources, is indeed at around 8 seconds for the average human these days. For the context of presentations, however, the other type of attention span, called sustained attention, is more important. The average value for that attention span is somewhere close to 20 minutes.”
Adds Faris Yakob: “I recently saw a speaker from one of the world’s largest digital media companies claim, without substantiation, that on mobile our attention spans have decreased once again. We can now only muster two seconds for an ad, they maintained, which borders on the subliminal. It turns out that’s because that’s how much they get on average in the stream – it has nothing to do with the audience or effective brand communication.”
More from Andrew Littlefield: “Marketing departments have built entire strategies on top of this unproven assumption [of the Goldfish Myth]. They’ve pushed down the quality of their work, made it shorter and “snackable,” desperate to appeal to an audience of fish. Yet that same audience will watch a 4-hour football game or binge-watch an entire season of House of Cards in a single weekend. The result has been a wave of low-effort marketing content that floods your audiences timeline. It adds no value to your customer’s life, but we sit and wonder why our content strategies aren’t working.”
Put it all together and here is my take my how to grab attention (especially in the email inbox):
- Communication must be based on an opt-in (subscription) and not spam
- The Subject line is obviously important: this is where “Mus” can play a role by paying recipients for their attention (and action)
- The content must not be purely unpersonalised infinitely long promotional broadcast – this is where microns matter
- Ideally, there should be a dedicated inbox for brand marketing communication – here is where the micronbox comes in
The combination of subscription, an incentive (Mus) wrapped in a micron and delivered to a special inbox can transform brand-to-consumer communications. Just as loyalty programs reward the Best customers, Mus in microns are the key to unlocking attention of the Rest customers – moving them from inactive or semi-active to expectantly engaged.