5 Ways to Optimise Content for Short Attention Spans

Man Vs Goldfish  and SMO

With 8 in 10 adults in the UK adopting the “second screen” culture and indulging in the availability of endless entertainment and information online, attention spans have dwindled from 12 minutes to 5 minutes over the past 10 years in our offline lives and now average only 8 seconds when browsing online which is staggering when you consider the attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. Will goldfish eventually inherit the earth? I can’t say, but until that day comes you may be wondering how to optimise content for an audience with diminishing levels of mental retention. While there are many techniques, I have compiled my top 5 tips below to help capture and keep attention so that key content is not overlooked:

1. Keep titles short & “above the fold”

We have found short titles < 100 characters result in a 2.3x higher click-through rate on many of our content marketing campaigns.

2. Align content with trends

Trend-jacking allows us to tap into an audience that is already interested in a topic.

3. Optimise page load time

A study by Mozilla found that a one second delay in load time resulted in 11% fewer page views with an inverse exponential trend as the delay increased. Lowering page load time can have a significant positive impact on bounce rate.

4. Find the perfect post length

So you have got them to your page. Good. Lets hold on to them. Optimising post length for your audience though metric-based experimentation can increase average viewing time on page as shown by this excellent study by Medium with the optimal length being 7 minutes. This does however vary by audience and content so it is important to gather and study your own data.

5. Find the perfect time of day

Gathering data points and comparing average time on page to time of day can provide insights over time which illustrate when your consumer, reader or target audience is most attentive. Of course great content will always outperform the poor but with a large enough data set, patterns will emerge.

At immediate future we believe SMO is a key part of campaign delivery and as attention spans dwindle the onus is on content marketers to create methodologies to measure and combat this to stay not only visible, but attractive in what is becoming an increasingly crowded messaging space.

Well done on making it this far! We have hope yet. Although if this article is anything to go by, the #fishpocalypse is not long off. You have been warned!

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