According to a recent study from Microsoft (Spring 2015), the average human attention span has dropped down to eight seconds — one second less than that of a goldfish and a fall of four seconds from the 12-second average clocked in 2000. The same report also concluded that people are more easily distracted in the presence of devices with screens, finding it harder to focus in scenarios where prolonged attention is needed. In other words, there is a direct correlation between attention and the extent to which individuals lead a digital lifestyle.
Even though our attention is dwindling because of the distracting nature of digital devices, it’s those same devices and the digital world they offer that open up so many opportunities to grab a user’s attention, if even for a moment. Broadly speaking, marketers grab that attention by creating more engaging online content or experiences, yet as content has grown increasingly abundant and immediately available, attention becomes the limiting factor in its consumption — a conundrum.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sums up the situation: “We are moving from a world where computing power was scarce to a place where it now is almost limitless, and where the true scarce commodity is increasingly human attention.”
So How Can Marketers Fight Back? There are two parts to the answer. Since creating online experiences and content is the way to grab attention, it follows that marketers should focus on the quality of the creative itself and, in particular, the richness of the experience across devices. Additionally, there is a need to move away from simple linear success metrics like page impressions to more meaningful ways to measure engagement and attention. Measuring attention is essential to showing where on the user journey things are working and where they need to be improved.
First published in Retail Minded on August 31, 2015. Read the full article here. How does your organization measure consumer attention?