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Your Attention Span is Decreasing

I’m sure you’ve heard this before …

“Our attention spans are less than the common goldfish” 

In a study conducted by Microsoft, they determined that human’s attention spans are decreasing. 

In 2000, it was 12 seconds. Now we can barely stay focused on one thing for more than eight seconds. Which is one second shorter than a goldfish’s nine seconds. 

Let me tell you something …


You read that right. It is a myth. Our (adult) ability to stay focused on a task in front of us is between 30 and 48 minutes. But then what was the Microsoft study referring to and is it accurate? 

Yes the results were accurate. But Microsoft’s study was actually about the amount of time we spend on websites or online content. Which makes sense. 

When it comes to the internet, we’re very impatient. And if someone can’t grab your attention or keep you engaged for the first eight seconds, you’re out of there. 

In a way, our “attention span” is shorter than a fish’s. 

So in the words of Adam Hayes, we as marketers are trying to sell to goldfish. And that’s no easy task. 

Like I said previously, humans (specifically adults) are able to stay focused on tasks for upwards of 40 minutes. The whole “8 second attention” applies more directly to how long people spend on websites or social media posts.

Think about it. How long on average do you spend looking at an Instagram post? Or Reel? Or YouTube short? 

Though somewhat shocking, this poses an interesting challenge for us entrepreneurs trying to grab people’s eyes. 

And on top of that, we’re easily distracted, especially with access to everything sitting in our hands. 

People pick up their phones once every 5 minutes. So chances are (if you’re like me), you’ll check your phone at least once while you’re reading this article. 

I’m going to throw some statistics at you real quick …

The average read duration for a website is 10–20 seconds, which lines up relatively well with our “eight second attention” … and visits rarely last longer than one minute. 

But listen to this …

The mean view duration of an online video is just over 2 minutes and 60% of people would rather watch a video than read text when both are offered.

That’s crazy. That’s the power of video right there. 

Basically what this means is video is a great way to override human’s decreasing “attention spans”. 

So in a world where people are constantly distracted by their phones, notifications, or even their own mind, how do you keep them focused on YOU?

It seems like you’ve got a lot stacked up against you. 

But the good news is that there are ways you can hold people’s attention longer and it doesn’t matter if you’re using video or text. But remember it will always be better to provide both. 

So what does this mean for your business? How can you hold people’s eyes before they get distracted or lose interest?

Here are 5 tips to hold people’s attention longer:

  • Be clear in your messaging – Don’t make vague offers or statements. Be crystal clear. 
  • Focus on ease of navigation – This means make it so easy for someone to navigate your website or social media that even a newborn could do it. You don’t want confusion.  
  • Keep your messaging the length of a girl’s skirt – This what my mom used to always tell me. Make it long enough to cover what it needs to, but short enough to be interesting. 
  • Tell stories – Be engaging and tell relatable stories, people will connect with you.
  • Pages with clear value proposition will keep people interested longer – If you’re upfront with what you can offer, people will want to stay and listen to learn the benefits. 

So is the “eight second” attention span accurate? In a way, yes. Basically you have eight to ten seconds to grab the attention of a viewer or reader before they leave. 

The tips I gave you should help with that, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s other things that also contribute to engaging people. There’s thumbnails for videos, formatting for articles, and lots more to consider. 

There’s several components you need to think through and plan for. If you need help capturing customers’ eyes, check out my other articles. 

I talk about how you can do that and actually drive traffic to your websites and online assets. 

See you there.

Looking to create more content in less time with the maximum impact? Let’s talk.

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