The Digital Audience Attention Span


When it Comes to Keeping Their Attention, Size Matters.

One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five, and you just lost your target audience’s attention. Today’s digital audience is famous for their Goldfish-like attention span. If you do not capture their attention within the first five seconds, you’ve likely lost them for good. Let me clarify that this not a strike at them by any means. They can hardly be blamed for it as they are constantly being barraged by information from nearly every media device they own. People are exposed to multiple experiences all at once these days and thus devote less of their attention to a single one, making it harder for them to engage and stay engaged.

Less is more and more is less.

Many business posts on Facebook and Twitter are guilty of this as well. They will try over and over to cram as much information as possible into their character allotment. These lengthy posts are exactly what today’s users do not want to see. I recently read an article that stated the ideal amount of characters for a Facebook status update is 100, and that Twitter’s already slimmed down character limit of 140 is most effective when users write no more than 40 characters. What is going to obtain your attention better, a short and thought provoking sentence, or a five page explanation of every detail to a product or service? Naturally the shorter of the two is going to win with consumers because it requires less effort.

Digital devices have a role in this too.

Along with the length of our posts, the size of our digital devices plays a key role in the amount of attention a person is willing to dedicate to content. You’ve likely noticed this yourself; you’re probably reading this blog from a laptop, desktop, or tablet, since it would be more of a strain to view it from your mobile device. It is pretty well known that marketers can optimize their content to the media platform of their choosing. That being said, marketers shouldn’t use a one size fits all thought process in their writing if they know it will be accessed on various electronic devices. It is ideal to save the lengthy writing for your dedicated website as users who truly want to engage with your product or service are far more likely to go there anyway. It’s writing to those who do not know about your product/service that should be your main focus. Just don’t scare them away with a 16 page essay; this is social media, not a dissertation.