You Have 8 Seconds to Get My Attention, Go!

attention seeking by Jonny Hughes -

The average attention span is now just 8 seconds.

A study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine shows the average attention span is down from 12 seconds 10 years ago to just eight seconds today.

It’s more important than ever for brands to capture the attention of consumers. Putting digital at the centre of campaigns is a simple way to connect with and stay engaged with consumers.

Use Creative Point of Sale to Capture Data

Tapping into the digital behaviours of the target audience is vital to the success of any campaign. As an example, take a look at Chupa Chups Sweet or Sharp campaign.

The multi-channel consumer campaign to promote Chupa Chups’ Kolormania range used point of sale activation encouraging consumers to scan a QR code.

This directed users to the online campaign platform, allowing them to instantly receive either a reward (sweet) or complete a challenge (sharp).

By studying the behaviours of the target audience of teens, it was found that they enjoy capturing and sharing photos which can lead to engagement with and status amongst their peers.

The initial contact was made via an in-store digital shopper marketing experience with engagement being continued through various other techniques centred around digital channels.

These included a touring event with photos being uploaded to social media where the community could vote on whether they were sweet or sharp. A competition also encouraged new fans and getting fans to create their own content allows for many other eight second interactions.

This approach attracted 50,000 new Facebook ‘likes’ within eight weeks of launch and 100,000 in six months. These sorts of activities provide brands with a quick and low barrier of entry with a degree of instant gratification.

Shareable Social Media Content

Gluten free bread range Genius used a similar approach to engage with consumers on social media. To challenge misconceptions that gluten free means taste free, Genius created an application that allowed consumers to create their own Perfect Toast.

The toasted creations could be shared with family and friends via social media and printed versions. The toast maker also receives a digital discount coupon, encouraging them to try the real thing and continuing engagement.

Vine is a perfect example of a social network catering for today’s digital consumer. The platform allows users and brands to create six second videos which can then be shared across other social media.

These can form part of an overall marketing campaign or tease new products and allows brands to be creative, capturing the attention of an audience that doesn’t necessarily have time to view a longer video advertisement.

Provide Useful Content that People Want and Need

It’s important for even the oldest brands to ‘move with the times’ and have a strategic digital presence. Tate & Lyle Sugars transformed its digital footprint with the creation of a new website acting as a hub of inspirational content.

On the website, users can buy products, read blogs, try out recipes for baking inspiration and get advice from baking experts. This also integrated into the brand’s social media content – Tate & Lyle Sugars is careful these are not used as sales pitches but rather as a resource for a community of baking lovers.

Social media platforms such as Pinterest were key targets as its users include many of Tate & Lyle Sugars’ target audience. By regularly updating content and acting as a trusted resource, consumers are kept engaged well beyond the eight second average.

The community interacts with the quick questions, challenges and pictures of enticing cakes that are posted. ‘A picture tells a thousand words’ is a phrase that definitely rings true when it comes to digital.

Engaging images and video content will often communicate a message a lot faster than text does.

Long-Term Relationships Bring ‘Eight Second’ Moments

Today’s consumers expect more from brands than simply being sold to.

They want to build a relationship with their favourite brands and be the first to receive offers and exclusives. Social media allows constant contact with consumers and their interest can be secured through engagement exercises which also offer opportunities for brands to reconnect.

A multi-channel approach to digital is the key here; content must be optimised for each channel to ensure as many eight second moments as possible using a broad range of tactics such as offers, competitions, news, product launches and, of course, engagement by enabling them to share their own stories too.


Social media, web marketing, email and other disciplines all need to work together for the best results. So, although the average attention span is down on ten years ago, the resources brands have to reach them offer bigger possibilities.

By utilising each social media platform to its full potential, making consumers feel a part of a community and increasing loyalty, brands can remain engaged with their customers and reach new consumers.

Many other digital channels can be explored to boost campaigns such as QR codes, email, blogs linked to websites, and apps. Ensuring digital is at the centre of campaigns and linking each platform and technique used will ensure the biggest impact.

Photo (cc) Jonny Hughes on Flickr.