With the onset of the information age, people have more options than ever to find their preferred content. Breakthroughs in research are showing that customer attention spans are shortening.
Shorter attention spans mean people prefer to consume short-form content rather than long-form content traditionally found on the internet. The widespread adoption of short video-sharing sites has facilitated this movement.
After this read, you will be equipped with practical steps that you can start implementing today to take advantage of short attention spans. In this article, we will analyze the five steps you can follow to get the most out of this.
How Did We Get Here?
Starting back in 2013, the video-sharing platform, Vine, started this movement. The creators of Vine had compressed entertainment into six seconds. It quickly went viral and became the new norm for entertainment.
Vine’s strategy has been rejuvenated by TikTok. It is now one of the fastest-growing apps of all time. It’s clear to see that people love this form of content – some are genuinely addicted to it.
While TikTok does not limit its users from uploading content longer than six seconds, users prefer the shorter form of content.
Other social media platforms have adopted this style of content. The Instagram equivalent are the new ‘Reels’. YouTube also has included ‘Shorts’ to their explore pages and SERPs.
Adverse Effects of Short Form Media
This constant supply of short-form content has trained our brains to have shorter attention spans with people being less interested in longer forms of content.
The above data illustrates how rapid the decrease in user attention spans really is. The research shows how long, on average, users spend on web pages. Several other research projects show the same trajectory.
Going back to our main topic, TikTok and other social media platforms are learning to capitalize on this new trend. The sheer amount of dopamine released from constant novel content is unmatched by traditional longer forms of content.
If you are marketing your product, it is best to keep it short so that you do not lose potential customers, since they’ll immediately click away as soon as they start getting disinterested.
You can get very philosophical and start to reconsider the path of our society. You may even opt out of these platforms altogether, nonetheless, this is a fact and it is affecting the way people consume content today.
5 Steps to Take Advantage of Short Attention Spans
1. Shorten your Website’s Content
We all know that most people are not willing to sit through a blog post that spans multiple pages. This is not the point, however. People just want easy and quick-to-read content.
If your business web pages have a lot of copy, try to minimize it as much as possible. Nowadays, people quickly scan through content and only get the information they need.
To retain customers on your website you can divide the content into sections. This way, users can just skip to the parts related to what they’re looking for.
You can also make the most important and relevant content bold to draw the attention of the user to a specific area of text.
This is one of the reasons Google has added quick access features to its SERPs. They know that users would use their search engine even more if they could quickly get the information they wanted and left.
Your user interface must be as streamlined as possible. Think about it, if you are on a homepage and it takes you more than 3 clicks to get to the pricing page, then you’re more likely to click away.
2. Decrease The Length of your Videos
This might seem straightforward, but you need to be able to compress all the information stored in your marketing videos into shorter content.
There is no set rule for how long your content should be. Typically, videos that are less than a minute are the easiest to go viral.
Packing videos with a lot of information can be challenging at first, but after you get the hang of it, you will be able to rapidly produce high-quality posts daily.
3. Post High-Quality Videos
The videos you upload to your social media accounts need to be held to some standard of quality. Before you publish any marketing material, ask yourself, would I watch this?
Having a storyline for your videos helps. Of course, this is more targeted towards viewers that are primarily looking for entertainment.
Otherwise, you can provide users with “inside” information. Content that shows the daily lives of business employees usually goes a long way. Subway workers have been adopting this strategy. All they do is record themselves preparing food for their customers and they get millions of views!
Look at what the competition is doing, what formats of posts do they use that go viral?
3. Add a Punch to your Videos
Adding a twist has proven to help engagement and virality. The topic of optimizing posts for engagement is an endless one. Ultimately, your ability to emotionally touch your audience directly affects your chances of going viral.
Typically, a viral post would be concise, whilst also having a storyline. Build-up to the climax of your video and then do something completely unexpected.
There are other “shady” tactics to get viral easily. For instance, some creators intentionally mispronounce words so that they can get corrected in the comments…
4. Focus on your TikTok Presence
Because TikTok has been the spearhead of this movement, I will mainly refer to the app as it has some amazing opportunities.
If your brand tends to be popular with teens, this is the best place to promote your content since TikTok users are primarily aged between 18 and 25 years old. The best way to capitalize on this increasing trend is by directly catering to the audience that is consumed by this newfound form of media.
The first step is to increase your presence on these social media platforms. If you are not on TikTok, make sure you create an account for your business there.
Since TikTok is a relatively new platform, smaller businesses have had much success because of the lower competition. TikTok’s algorithm is notorious for its ease of virality.
Although nobody fully understands the algorithm,everyone is aware of how easy it is to become viral on TikTok. As long as you are consistently posting quality content on your account, you’ll eventually have a breakthrough.
This means that you can significantly increase your brand awareness at zero cost. You do not need to advertise your content, rather some believe that advertising may limit your organic viral potential.
Even the most mundane business processes can go viral on TikTok. People are curious to learn about new things. “A day in my life” videos work like a charm – you can record random moments (make sure production quality is high) and just post them.
5. Shorten your Videos on Other Platforms
As a business, it is in your best interests to be active on all the major social media platforms in order to maximize the promotion of your business. You can manage all your online touchpoints through the use of a customer experience software.
Since most social media platforms have adapted to the lowering attention spans of users, you should reap its benefits too.
A great way to expand your reach is by simply reposting the content you optimized for TikTok on other platforms. For example, you can seamlessly repurpose your TikTok videos by posting them on Reels too. If a video has not had much success on TikTok because it does not match the algorithm requirements, it may find success on Instagram.
While this article may seem sinister, in implementing these steps, you are just adapting to changing environments. Your customers would much rather watch a thirty-second TikTok than read a boring flyer.
The biggest opportunity here is the potential that these platforms have. It is incredibly easy to go viral. And let’s face it, the fact that this can happen for free is also a great motive.
Following these steps is ideal for those who wish to market to a mass audience. This advice could also be implemented for businesses that cater to a niche audience. At the end of the day, going viral is beneficial for any business!