There’s probably a deep and profound explanation for it, but the reality is, over the years, the average attention span of internet users has decreased steadily, making your job as a marketer even more difficult. With the typical time people spending on a web page being between 10 and 20 seconds, it’s not a very long time to convince your visitor to buy your product or use your service.

Interesting, and quite alarming, studies have shown that the average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, but 15 years later, it’s down to 8.25 seconds. That’s a shorter attention span than a goldfish (9 seconds)! Memories are not what they used to be either – gone are the days when you used to have half a dozen phone numbers committed to memory, these days it’s a struggle to remember your own! With so much information available so easily, on a number of devices, it’s easy to get distracted – they call it an excess of external stimulation. Your average office worker will check their inbox 30 times in one hour, with the average phone user checking their phone 1 500 times per week! So while people are actively involved in online communication, it doesn’t seem to hold their attention.

But it’s not all bad news for marketers. Nielsen research shows that pages with a clear value proposition are able to hold people’s attention for longer. This bottles down to five top tips:

  • Be clear in your messaging
  • Make navigation easy so people can find what they’re looking for, fast
  • Keep your message short and sweet
  • Tell stories that appeal to your customers
  • Use rich media, like video

Social media sharing doubled and content on the internet tripled in a just a couple of years and that pace has not slowed a bit. The upside of all this, is that our ability to multitask has improved dramatically in the digital age.

On that note, here are five attention span destroying habits that you should try and get out of:

  1. Do not email first thing in the morning, or last thing at night. Emails can distract you early in the day, instead of giving you the time to organise and plan your day. At night, emails can stop you from sleeping well.
  2. Keep meetings and calls to 30 minutes, wherever possible. Meetings with no end time can ramble on with little progress.
  3. Check your email periodically at set times during the day, not responding every time a new email pops into your inbox.
  4. At least one day a week, leave your smartphone somewhere where you can’t access it.
  5. Try to get out of personal conversations when you’re working. You might come off a bit rude, but time is limited, so keeping your focus will get your work done faster. There’s time for social conversations after work.

For more on content creation and website design that grabs and holds your readers’ attention, contact us. We’d like to explore your options to get your digital marketing strategy where it needs to be.

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