If you are like many people I know, you spend a fair amount of time curating your feeds. What I mean by that is separating out all the stuff that really isn’t important to you so that what you’re reading is meaningful. On Twitter, for example, you might do as I do and use lists. I rarely look at the firehose of my main feed, relying on those carefully constructed lists and the odd specific search to help me stay informed via the service. I do the same thing on Facebook – build specific lists of people – to use the service efficiently.
Why do I bring this up? Because that is the same thinking that should be going into your brand’s marketing these days. Consumers’ attention is a scarce resource. If you think I’m kidding, check out the results of a study from the folks at Microsoft:
Humans have become so obsessed with portable devices and overwhelmed by content that we now have attention spans shorter than that of the previously jokingly juxtaposed goldfish.
Microsoft surveyed 2,000 people and used electroencephalograms (EEGs) to monitor the brain activity of another 112 in the study, which sought to determine the impact that pocket-sized devices and the increased availability of digital media and information have had on our daily lives.
Among the good news in the 54-page report is that our ability to multi-task has drastically improved in the information age, but unfortunately attention spans have fallen.
In 2000 the average attention span was 12 seconds, but this has now fallen to just eight. The goldfish is believed to be able to maintain a solid nine.
You have very little chance of having your 8 seconds of attention continue unless you’re curating the feed (read that as your marketing messaging) with a customer focus in mind. How are you helping solve their problem today? What added value are you bringing into their lives? If you can’t answer those questions, you might as well be marketing to goldfish. At least you get a little more of their attention.