Human Attention Span

The Human Attention Span [Everything You Need to Know]

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In this article, we dig a bit deeper into the human attention span and what you can do to help hold your customer’s engagement.

“Can we have your attention, please?!”

How many times have you heard this? And how many times have you actually paid attention to what was being said?

Well, we have some good and some bad news for you. The good news is that you are not alone. The human attention span has been going down at the speed of light, in the past few decades.

The bad news? Just like your attention span keeps shrinking, so does your customers’. What does this mean? Well, it’s probably going to get harder and harder to grab their attention and keep it for as long as you need, especially if you are trying to promote (and sell) your brand’s products and services.

What Is an Attention Span?

Short attention span

First of all, a quick definition of the human attention span. This is the amount of time you are able to focus on one specific thing, task, or subject before you start feeling distracted or need a break.

While the average attention span, as we said, it’s constantly lowering, some people have an even shorter attention span than others. This can be down to lots of things, including age, neurodivergence, mental health conditions, physical illnesses, and more.

People with a short attention span can show signs such as:

  • Making lots of mistakes
  • Having trouble reading
  • Not being able to complete tasks
  • Finding it hard to stay organised
  • Regularly forgetting things, activities, and appointments

If any of this sounds familiar then you might be one of the many people who have a short attention span. Having a short attention span can negatively affect many areas of your life. This might include your job, relationships and even your ability to relax and wind down at the end of a busy day.

The Average Attention Span of Humans

Average attention span

The human attention span wasn’t always this low. For example, research has found that just 22 years ago, the average attention span was around 12 seconds. Now, it’s gone down to just 8 seconds – and it looks like its downward path is bound to continue.

This is actually quite worrying, as our current attention span is even shorter than the one of goldfish, who can focus on something for around 9 seconds! But there’s even more. Recent studies have discovered that:

  • 25% of teenagers are very forgetful, and they struggle to remember important details about their close friends and family members.
  • 39% of Americans lose one object or forget one, basic piece of info every week.
  • 7% of people forget their own birthday occasionally.

And what about online users? Well, with technology being one of the main reasons for our shrinking attention span, it’s no surprise that online users generally read only around 28% of the words written on a website homepage. Also, people leave a web page after just 10 seconds of being on it.

Now, all of this can feel a bit scary if you are a small business looking for ways to reach out to your target audience and promote your products or services. All you have is, literally, a few seconds to grab your customer’s attention and turn them into paying customers.

OK, so how can you go about doing all of the above in only a matter of seconds? Let’s find out in the next sections.

How Can You Capture Your Viewer’s Attention?

If you are trying to market a product or service to your target audience, you need to find a way to communicate with them. But pure and simple communication is not enough.

You need to use communication tools and channels that boost engagement, involvement and passion in your customers.

Forget about telling them exactly what you sell. You need to show your potential customers WHY your products or services are the best, and HOW they can make their lives better. To this effect, visuals are so much more powerful than words and far more effective in capturing people’s attention.

The Power of Visuals

You might, for example, choose to forget a written blog post and swap it for a fun and visually appealing infographic. With an infographic, you can highlight specific parts of content by using images, illustrations, and other graphics. The written content will be very minimal, whereas the visual elements will be much more prominent and engaging.

Also, make sure that your visual elements are as varied and colourful as possible – without being too overwhelming, of course. This, in fact, can boost your customer’s eagerness to read the rest of the content by a jaw-dropping 80%.

Another great idea to keep your customers’ attention high is to include photos in your communication channels, such as your website, your blog, and your social media pages. What photos, you might ask? Well, humans are naturally driven to images of other humans, which means that including some shots of your team and your customers might be a winning idea.

Humans also tend to associate with people who look similar to them. So, if you choose to add images of people to your website, blog, or social media accounts, make sure that they connect with your audience.

Do you sell skincare products aimed at busy, Millennial women living in urban centres? Then, photos of teenagers having fun in the park just won’t work. Are you in the business of fitness and health for menopausal ladies? Skip the cute mum and baby snaps, and opt for reassuring, smiling photos of women in their 50s.

The Role and Benefits of Animation

animated video content

They say an image is worth a thousand words, right? Well, imagine, then, how much an animation might be worth. Yes, animations are perfect for holding your viewers’ attention span as much as possible.

The reasons are many, and they are pretty simple, too. To begin with, animation generally tells a story using images and other visual effects. Research has proved, that this is dramatically more effective than static images when it comes to attracting your audience’s attention.

How much more effective? Well, just consider that 59% of senior executives stated that they would rather watch a video than read a paragraph of text if they could choose! What’s more, video ads help viewers remember around 95% more of the message that is being communicated.

On top of the visual engagement, animation also uses music and sound effects to create an emotional connection to your product or business. This can help draw the viewer in further, hold their attention and lead to an action (like a sale or enquiry).

How Can An Explainer Video Help?

When it comes to choosing what type of animated video you should go with you are spoilt for choice. If you are a video newbie, you should definitely begin by creating an explainer video.

With an explainer video, you can answer three super-important questions:

  1. What? – describe what the customers’ problem is
  2. How? – show how your product/service can solve that problem
  3. Why? – explain why your product/service is the best way to solve that problem

With an explainer video, you can use slick branded graphics to build a story that entertains, educates, and informs. This will let you promote your products or services and demonstrate how they can be used to solve your customers’ problems.

Animated explainer videos are fun, user-friendly, easy to understand, and offer you the opportunity to reach out to a much wider customer base.

Human Attention Span – The Bottom Line

So with the average human attention span reducing at lightning speed, it’s important that you know how to capture your customer’s attention and keep it for as long as possible. This is one of the only ways to ensure that you can successfully promote and sell your products or services to your target audience.

While images and graphics can help there is nothing quite like an animated video to really drive your message home. Videos can attract, engage, and influence customers in a matter of seconds.

At Creature Productions, we’re a full service UK animation studio. We make awesome handcrafted animation videos that improve user engagement, increase conversion rates and educate viewers.

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