There are many ways social media and technology in general have affected us – it looks like our collective attention span is the latest victim.
I came across an article from a social media summit out of Dubai that indicates that users spend 8 seconds on a piece of content. 8 seconds! Out of curiosity, I did some searching of my own to support that statistic, and found this interesting chart from Statistic Brain:
Goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds; this study reveals that our attention span is 8 seconds, down 4 seconds in the last 13 years. While there are some other fun statistics (the fact that 7% forget their birthdays from time to time), there are some interesting implications for business:
1. You have 8 seconds to grab a potential customers’s attention: Count to 8 and you’ll realize that’s not a lot of time at all. Short and sweet is the way to devise a home page. Customers should immediately know what you’re about, where to click to find what they’re looking for, and be given a reason to stay on your site. Images can be powerful, as can video. Consider the above image – it states that 17% of page views last less than 4 seconds, yet the average length of time a video is watched is about two and a half minutes. We know images are powerful, but maybe it’s time to consider video as a way to capture a customer’s attention and keep them on your site longer. It’s not possible for all websites of course, but it may be something to consider as customers’ attention spans shrink.
2. Images are powerful, and too many words are distracting: this is my one downfall – I love words. I know I can be too “wordy” and this is something I need to be mindful of. The statistics above show that when a webpage has around 111 words, almost half of the content is read. Conversely, on a more wordy page (approximately 593 words), only 28% of the content is read. This is likely due to the fact that a user will see a lot of words and not even want to begin to spend the time to read. Keep it short and to the point.
3. When you get them to stay, keep them engaged: Make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for, and ways to complete the task they set out to do. In as few words and clicks possible, make them see why they should buy from you and how to make the purchase.
With decreasing attention spans and increased competition, companies need to take a look at their websites and see where changes can be made. Accommodating a customer’s short attention span will gain traction to your site, give customers an efficient experience, and increase customer satisfaction.