The Results are In… Drumroll Please…
Congratulations fellow humans, our attention span is now a whopping 8 seconds. This according to a Microsoft study released in May of 2015. They looked at 2,000+ Canadians over the age of 18. Here is a LINK to the article if you want to see the breakdown in demographics. I ponder this study as if I was a little fish swimming in a giant pond. Is this a FACT? As a culture, do we absorb less and less than in any time in history? We have the world at our fingertips and on multiple devices. Yet it seems we are not utilizing them to our advantage. What is the fall-out for our 8-second attention span?
So much information is shared online. We absorb so much from social media sites. Do we question the information we have been presented with? Or has our attention span waned so much that we simply assume things are right? I have seen quotes associate with everyone from Pope Francis to Abraham Lincoln. These are figures we often associate with great cultural movements. Yet because we SEE it in a graphic, do we assume it to be true? The answer is yes.
How have we become this culture? Is the internet to blame? Smart Phones?
I myself have fallen victim to re-posting a quote I liked, but it was associated with the wrong author. In a world where nothing is exactly as it appears do we not see the irony in our own lack of commitment to research? What ever happened to researching something before you commit it to fact? I will now personally blame my goldfish attention span.
What Are the Implications for Marketers?
What is the fall-out for our culture if we are only absorbing things for 8-second snippets? We now have 8 seconds to do our jobs. In 8 seconds what are the things we remember the most? My misquoted re-post was a beautiful quote about tolerance associated with Pope Francis. Unfortunately, it was not the Pope who said it. Yet that beautiful image and the simple saying drew me in. It was the imagery that I gravitated to. I bought it, hook line and sinker like the goldfish. It is more important than ever to get the message delivered quickly.
In fact, if you are still reading this article you must have a better attention span than the goldfish, proving there are exceptions to the Microsoft study. That is not however what we can assume in regards to the marketing we create. We have default to the reality that as a culture we have less time to present our products and services.
Marketing requires us to look at the common denominator. If that denominator is 8 seconds we have a real challenge on our hands. Happy swimming.