A recent research paper published by Professor Ramesh K. Sitaraman from the University of Massachusetts reveals that online users are willing to wait only two seconds for a video to buffer before they get frustrated and decide to leave it. Moreover, if they got frustrated and left, they are less likely to return to the site where the video was.
The results of this research support a broader phenomenon among online consumers: a shortening attention span. Consumers nowadays are looking for visual quick-to-understand cues and get frustrated whenever they are required to read or concentrate when online.
For marketers, shorter attention spans mean that consumers’ attention can no longer be bought; rather, marketers have to earn attention by using methods that promote engagement and conveying an authentic and exhaustive message that resonates with consumers.
So, what should you do to get the little attention online customers are willing to give your business?
Bottom Line—First: People who are already loyal to your business might be interested in reading about your products and company in great detail, but others who are not familiar with your brand want to get the bottom line first. Your online marketing messages should, in a short and to-the-point way, focus on the value your services and products provide to the consumer. Moreover, even when you write a status update on Facebook or compose a tweet on Twitter, you must keep it short because these posts usually promote greater engagement.
Bottom Line—Always: You must be consistent and clear with your message. Use the main values you present as your key differentiators whenever you create any online content. Emphasizes those values on your site, social media posts, and interviews—everywhere—in order to make sure you create a cohesive no-brainer connection between those values and your brand. Another important thing is to constantly deliver your message on the various channels you use. Shorter attention spans also mean that consumers are quick to switch from one brand to another; therefore, you need to keep your company at the top of their minds at all times.
The bottom line for this post is that consumers’ shorter attention spans are changing the face of online and mobile communication. Unless consumers are truly engaged and interested, they are no longer willing to invest the time and attention to learn about almost anything, let alone new brands or products. To answer that challenge, SMBs should focus on delivering short and meaningful messages that give consumers what they really want to know—the bottom line.
Source: Krishnan, S. Shunmuga, and Ramesh Sitaraman. “Video Stream Quality Impacts Viewer Behavior: Inferring Causality using Quasi-Experimental Designs.” Proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC). Boston, MA. Nov 2012. Address.