How to Capture the New, Shorter Attention Span

How to Capture the New, Shorter Attention Span

As a society, we have a new, shorter attention span.

The average attention span for many people in 2020 is close to 8 seconds. That’s shorter than the amount of time that a goldfish can focus. So, if you’ve been noticing that your employees seem easily distracted, then you might be onto something. 

(Are you still reading or has your attention span shifted?  Just checking.)  A shortened attention span seems to be a natural consequence of digitization and constant advertisement.

That brings us to our question, how can marketers continue to capture attention? (Don’t worry, we’ll keep this short.)

Start With a Hook

We know this is writing 101. However, a short hook is incredibly hard to write, record, and edit. It may sound simple when we say it, but believe us when we say that writing for a short attention span can take months of work. 

A catchy hook will appeal to emotion in one sentence or two sentences, TOPS. You can learn a little bit about scriptwriting here

Write to Be Heard

Chances are people who watch your ads will be several tabs away while they wait for their YouTube video to start or for their next tab to load. That means that the most crucial part of a hook is your AUDIO. 

Ensure that you have something unique, funny, or attention-grabbing as your hook. Anything interesting will help you to grab hold of a shortened attention span.   

Use Social Proof

One of the best ways to appeal to emotion and to capture the human attention span is to use social proof. 

So, what is social proof?

Well, social proof is a confirmation to your audience that their favorite people also enjoy the things that they enjoy. In a video, this often takes the form of celebrity testimonials or using famous speeches for voice over as we’ve done in the video embedded below. 

Any way that you can use easily recognizable pieces of social proof makes you a winner because you’re not trying to create a feeling from scratch – you’re leveraging what’s already there. 

This strategy is especially important if you’re trying to capture new customers. 

Take Advantage of the New, Shorter Attention Span

On the bright side, our collective ability to multi-task has improved as our ability to focus continuously has fallen. Allow your audience to multitask while they watch your video for the best information retention. 

Make sure that your visuals and audio can work independently from one another. Your audience’s attention span may only be able to handle watching or listening to your ad and not both at the same time. 

All Is Not Lost

All this information tells us is that markets are changing and that we need to adapt to meet them. You can learn to tell good stories yourself using our Masterclass on storytelling or reach out to us directly to talk through how your next project can take advantage of the new, shorter attention span. 

We would love to work with you!