From 12 to 8 Seconds – The Shrinking Attention Span

From 12 to 8 Seconds – The Shrinking Attention Span



Do you find yourself catching up on Facebook while watching a movie, losing interest in just a short video, or constantly checking your phone for anything that catches your attention? If any of these examples sound like you, you’re definitely not alone. A study by the National Centre of Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that 79% of respondents used portable devices while also watching TV (known as dual-screening) and 52% check their phone every 30 minutes.

Holding your concentration in the digital world is hard these days. In fact, our attention span only continues to shrink – according to a Microsoft study, the human attention span is deteriorating, saying it has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds. This is one second less than the believed attention span of a goldfish – yes, a goldfish.

Social media is great for communicating information quickly, however, it continues to rewire our brains to be able to process information quicker. So quick in fact, research is showing that content will get even shorter – known as “micro-content”.

Here are five ways to create micro-content that will capture short attention spans:

1. Get to the Point

Cutting down information to 140 characters or less doesn’t just come in handy on Twitter. Social Media Today published an analysis stating that Facebook posts with 70 or less characters get the most likes and comments; 71 to 140 characters do less well. If you’re looking to encourage retweets on Twitter, perfect your content to around 115 characters.

2. Visual Content

Visual content grabs attention – our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Visual content doesn’t have to be just images or video either, they can be anything from infographics, slideshares & more – get creative & mix it up.

– Images
Images improve the speed of learning and information retention. Tweets with images are twice as engaging as those without and Facebook posts with photos account for 93% of the most engaging posts on the platform. According to kissmetricks, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. For maximizing your engagement, pair an image or video with a sentence long quip.

– Video
The average length watched of a single internet video is 2.7 minutes according to a study by the National Centre of Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, so aim to get your information across in the first 8 seconds to grab viewer’s attention.

3. Strategically Write & Publish Content

When crafting your post, use action words. According to buffersocial, tweets that contain more adverbs and verbs have higher click-through rates than noun and adjective heavy tweets. On Facebook ask questions to spark engagement; start with the words “should”, “would” or “which” to gain attention. Post content when your audience is online to get the most exposure – experiment & test what times receive the most responses by posting similar content different hours of the day.

4. Appeal to Your Platform & Audience

Whatever platform you choose to publish micro-content on, customize it in a way to fit with your audience. Get to know each platform’s strengths and weaknesses and determine which one will be best for getting your message across.

5. Using Micro-Content for Your Brand

Micro-content is the hook, line and sinker. Attaching a call to action or providing a link will create a larger connection back to the brand. Think of micro-content as the trailer before the film premiere, enough to catch your attention and gain interest without giving too much away.

If your attention has been held for this long – congratulations, you’ve proven your attention span beats that of a goldfish! Now, it’s your turn to use these five tips and do the same with your audience. Remember, by strategically approaching communication from the perspective of how your audience absorbs information, you will stand a better chance of making a lasting impression. And, knowing how to care for your followers (or goldfish) is essential to keeping the attention & relationship alive.

DSC01485_BioKelly Balogh makes up part of the creative team at parari as the Jr. Graphic Designer and social media expert. Kelly has earned her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Painting & Printmaking and applies her vast knowledge in fine arts to her work. Her work has also been featured in multiple galleries across Virginia.