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Get to the point! You only have eight seconds

Ryan Mallory


Mar. 25, 2022

Yes, you read that correctly. A study sponsored by Microsoft (click here to read their findings) discovered that the average attention span is around eight seconds. Also, in the same report, in 2000, the average attention span used to be 12 seconds — yikes, the problem seems to be getting worse. The culprit: many of us have addictive technology behaviors that result from media consumption and digital lifestyles that reduce our ability to focus.

Depleting attention spans — not shocking

My guess is you know it to be true — you’re not surprised. We have all observed people at a restaurant, working, walking, watching TV, or even driving constantly consuming media on our Smartphones. We are guilty of habitually looking down at our electronic devices to plugin into our [insert favorite social platform].

Now, this article’s purpose is not to point fingers or blame anyone or anything. If we’re being completely transparent in some ways at Neomark, a digital marketing and technologically firm, we contribute services that help facilitate these types of behaviors. We are merely just reporting the facts.

An interesting side note of this study is you would have thought spending more time online and consuming media would heighten one’s ability to filter out distractions. Nope. Why? Because we as humans are wired for survival, which depends on focusing on what’s important or, instead, paying attention to something moving. This skill hasn’t changed. It’s now in a digital environment.

How can we grab our audience’s attention?

Okay, since we all know this information, how can we harness this knowledge to help make our marketing promotions more effective? The answer is simple: be clear, develop relevant content specifically for your target audience, and get to the point. Below is a 3-step guide that will help communicate your message with very little time:

  1. Get your audience’s attention: Write that headline that emphasizes a problem or solution, be creative, develop a promotion that attracts your audience’s attention.
  2. Provide a focused message: Boil your message down to one or two sentences. Highlight your problem and solution. The key is to be specific, use simple wording, avoid being too clever. Don’t tell your customer how many years you’ve been in business, and the customer is number one. Instead, focus on the problem and provide a solution.
  3. Establish a call-to-action: Provide your audience with the next step, learn more about your product or service, call your company, or fill out an online form. The call-to-action must be specific and get your audience to do something.

I realize encompassing your message in a few sentences is easier said than done. The problem is we are passionate about our business and subject matter, and we tend to go on and on thinking that our audience cares. And maybe they do, but the key to your promotion’s success is to grab your audience’s attention, supply your customers with a valuable message and have a call-to-action statement in eight seconds or less.

That’s hard to do, but it’s not impossible. Now, your promotion may want to mention additional details. I am not advocating that you leave them out. Rather, prioritize your information and make sure your salient points are revealed first. After that, you can provide secondary information, but keep in mind that these messages may be discarded or ignored by your audience’s digitally-distracted mind.