In today’s online world, anything and everything is at our fingertips. In the blink of an eye, we have access to all sorts of information or entertainment, more than we could ever need or even want. With so many options available, information with no emotional engagement or intrinsic value to the viewer is quickly set aside or ignored. This perpetuates the trend towards a shrinking attention span.
The Convenience Factor
As time flies by, we demand things faster and more convenient than ever before. We are willing to disengage at any second, if we are not quickly entertained. Our attention needs to be captured immediately and maintained. This trend shows no sign of slowing down. It’s no wonder why Time Magazine now reports our attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. They cite a recent study by Microsoft Inc. The new 8 second average attention span brings up a challenge for marketers that continues to get harder and harder to tackle. People are not paying attention; It’s a simple fact.
Consider that today’s average online viewer is subjected to an average of 5000 ads per day as opposed to 50 in 1970.
Our Willingness to Disengage
The challenge is capturing your viewer’s attention long enough to deliver your message and value proposition. But how does one do this when the landscape is more saturated than ever. Marketers have be nimble, they have to capture, and they have to engage.
Appealing to Emotions
So how do you capture an audience and get them engaged? You have to capture emotions. Emotions are hard wired into our psyche and control our most primitive decision making. This is why many non-profits show shocking or sad photos to raise money. One can easily remember the 1990’s Feed the Children commercials, or even The SPCA’s campaign featuring a tear jerking sound track “Heart of an Angel” by Sara McLachlan. Check out the video here, but try not to cry.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are funny videos. Humor is a positive emotion. Unlike fear, anxiety, and sadness, humor has the ability to leave a good taste in someone’s mouth, and arguably, a better brand experience. A great example of humor (and a little bit of comedic awkwardness) is the Old Spice campaign featuring Terry Crews and Isaiah Mustafa.
Images cause us to feel a certain way and cause a reaction. If a picture can say a million words, how many words does a video say?
Leaving your audience with a positive brand experience within this short amount of time is daunting, but not impossible if you truly know your audience, and can find a delivery method that is fast and effective. Therefore define what your audience wants first. Then decide what kinds of emotions you want to draw out of your audience. This is how you can decide what tools to use, whether video, images, or complete brand experiences.