A goldfish has a longer attention span than most people, by nearly 10% .
According to a study by Microsoft, people have an attention spand of eight seconds which is a decrease from twelve seconds in 2000  and a second less than a goldfish, which has an attention span of nine seconds. Furthermore, their study claims that the human attention span decreases by 88% yearly. The Statistic Brain Research Institute also confirmed this study .
It would be easy to blame the reduction in people’s attention span on social media. However, care should be taken not to jump too quickly to such a conclusion. It is often found with further research and investigation that multiple factors cause most things in life.
For example, depression is often linked with short attention spans, as is ADHD and other similar neurological conditions. We know the incidence of depression and anxiety, and ADHD is increasing within society. Hence as these conditions increase, there are likely to be growing numbers of people who experience short attention spans for other reasons than their social media use.
However, while social media may not solely be to blame, there is a strong correlation between decreasing attention spans and the use of social apps. There is also a strong correlation between the number of hours a person is on social apps and their mental health. The longer a person uses social media apps, the greater the likelihood they will experience anxiety and/or depression .
While social media use may not decrease attention span, people’s habit of using it is one of the driving factors behind this decrease in attention span .
These habits have led to what is known as micro-moments.
Micro-moments is a term coined by Google Marketing Team to describe those moments when customers want to learn something, do something, buy something, or go somewhere .
When potential clients are flitting between multiple screens and their attention space is reduced to eight seconds, there is less time to convert shoppers hence the importance of capitalising on these micro-moments to engage with customers when their attention is focused on making a quick decision.
It is essential that content or products provided by companies must be helpful in the exact instant when consumers are researching, doing something or want to accomplish a task in those specific micro-moments .
Micro-moments change the way marketing is carried out in several ways. Customer loyalty cannot be relied upon in the way it could be with traditional marketing, where time could be taken to build a client’s knowledge about a product or service, and the company could get to know customer preferences, likes and dislikes.
Client impatience and a reduction in attention span are causing companies to re-look at how they market.
How people use platforms has changed.
Computers are used for browsing, and mobile phones and social media are for action. Smartphones are used to chat, play games, and make reservations. Companies need to create effective content that competes with other notifications and text messages popping up on potential clients’ smartphones. Otherwise, the content will not be ignored as irrelevant . Companies can spend budgets on parts of the customer’s journey that are irrelevant if they do not understand micro-moments or when customers are tuned out.
Hence, creating content that will effectively reach clients in these micro-moments when they are ready to act is essential.
Millennials and Gen Z will only pay attention to your content if it assists them in doing something, achieving something, or going somewhere. As much as we believe in the importance and wisdom of taking our time to consider information and delaying gratification, for Millennials and Gen Z, if our content doesn’t assist young people immediately, it will be ignored, however valuable we may think it is.
It is easy to forget that content only has eight seconds to attract a person’s attention. Hence the more straightforward the content is, the more effective it can be in getting a person’s attention. The fewer words, the better because if a person has to take time to read information or try to understand what message is being conveyed, it will be ignored. This is not only effective communicaiton, it provides an ethical approach to ensure a negative contribution to people's further reduced attention spans isn't occuring.
Visuals rather than words are more effective in conveying the message.
Rich media is more effective than static creative as it generates a 23 % higher click-through rate and 1000+% more engagement because it plays on the basic human instinct to look at moving objects .
Stories engage people. Great storytelling captures our attention because it engages our emotions, and these emotions impact our actions. Effective advertisements engage our emotions because they tell a story in pictures. They show us the before and the after with minimal words, and the most effective ads engage our emotions to act.
In a time when attention spans are reducing and people are more distracted, we must adapt our marking to make use of the micro-moments. We must catch people’s attention and demonstrate how we can assist them, research the information they need, and buy the product that will help them or go where they want to go.
Traditional sales funnels compacted into seconds to make an impact.