Ready for your best enrollment year yet?

The Human Attention Span & Its Digital Marketing Implications

Table of Contents

In 2000, Microsoft reported that the average internet user has an attention span of 12 seconds. In just a little over 20 years, that number has shrunk down to 8 seconds. And every year, the human attention span goes down by 88 percent.

Although the internet has opened the world up for lightning-quick access to information and global connectedness, it’s also become increasingly harder to hold your audience’s attention long enough to start a conversation. Or sell a service.

How does low attention span affect your business?

  • It’s harder to retain website visitors
  • Visitors mostly skim and forget about your content

With humans having a selective and limited attention span, here’s what you need to know about today’s restless, constantly overstimulated audiences.

The Micro-moments

Micro-moments are intent-heavy instances in the customer journey when a lead turns to their mobile device to act on a specific need. Imagine looking for a last-minute recipe online because a friend is coming over without a heads-up. Or having a conversation on your ideal first date and the next second you’re looking up flights to Hawaii.

Instant gratification and impatience are at their highest during micro-moments. That “now” moment when a lead wants to learn, get, do, or buy something means that the brand that can deliver in that instant will likely earn a customer.

Screen Fatigue

The forced isolation due to the pandemic has produced a drastic demand for social connectedness, but it came at a hefty price tag: excessive screen time. In just 3 years, our digital habits have radically changed, creating a new meaning to how we spend our time online. The regular device user’s screen time has shot up to 76% during COVID-19.

Internet users have turned to digital detox or a conscious effort to minimize time spent on devices after seeing its detrimental effect on physical and mental wellbeing.

Now, more than ever, businesses have to pay attention to the content they publish. By providing the informational value customers are seeking out, you outperform competitors, and audiences end up feeling like their site visit was time well spent.

Personalizing Your Brand Experience

The average person comes in contact with 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements a day according to Forbes. Being exposed to such an overwhelming amount of content, it’s no wonder audiences are constantly distracted, hyperstimulated, and unfocused.

Brands that are able to beat the mindless scroll and spark off-screen action are those that consistently embody their audience’s persona, language and motivation throughout their branding materials. Advertising to students? Imagine yourself as an enrollee. Trying to appeal to professionals climbing the corporate ladder? Tap into the psyche of an aspiring C-level executive.

It takes a mammoth amount of research to create branding that transcends screens. Just take a look at Dove’s women and body empowerment campaign. They’ve associated their brand with confidence instead of simply aligning their product with hygiene. Strap in for this long-haul marketing research and copy-testing process, and get ready to rake in instant brand recognition and sky-high conversions.

The human attention span has been significantly affected by the increasingly tech-driven environment we live in. This means businesses and marketers have to adopt new practices to remain relevant and valuable. This may involve utilizing more visually appealing and engaging content and using personalized messaging and micro-moments to grab and hold the attention of potential customers.

Ready to beat the 8-second attention span? Talk to our team and we’ll show you how you can set up campaigns that win over customers.


Table of Contents
Get education digital marketing content straight to your inbox
Related Articles
Latest Podcasts

Subscribe to the Grow Enrollments Podcast