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Marketing to shorter attention spans: What you need to know

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Marketing to shorter attention spans: What you need to know

In the age of information overload, capturing and retaining consumer attention has become one of the biggest challenges for marketers.

Our attention spans are shrinking. It's all thanks to the constant barrage of content and stimuli that we're faced with all the time.

The digital world isn't slowing down anytime soon. In film, the average shot duration is decreasing. We're spoon-fed adverts that are under four seconds long, and most of us need to be entertained within the first two seconds otherwise our attention is gone.

We can't even wait twenty seconds through Youtube ads, to watch something that could entertain us.

Blink, and you'll genuinely miss it.

The dense variety of content and our waning attention spans mean only one thing: The competition is high.

We have to get our marketing right, otherwise it's just not going to hit.

Understanding this shift is crucial for marketers looking to cut through the noise and connect with their audience effectively.

Many people blame smartphones and the internet, we're so used to quick info and lots of choices. There are only milliseconds to grab attention and hook interest.

It's completely revolutionising the way we market. Essentially, the short-form video has taken over, and it's not stopping time soon.

Not only is it affecting the way we consume content, but the way we create it.

What does all this mean for marketing

So, how do we navigate this pace?

How to keep up with shorter attention spans:

  • Personalise
  • Shorten messages
  • Use visuals
  • Interactive content
  • Influence on social media


The most effective personalised marketing uses data and automation to generate tailored personalised messages. 

Piquing interests and preferences is key here, as you want to generate content that your buyer persona will engage with. Know their pain points inside out, and use quick-hitting content that they'll instantly be interested in. This means relatable content, familiar images, and strong openings.

Shorten messages

It's a no-brainer, but shortened attention spans mean that our content should match this and therefore, be shorter.

Heavy-loading dense content will only frustrate your audience. No one wants to read paragraphs of content they didn't choose to connect with. Instead, craft snappy content that condenses your message into something concise, but engaging.

Interactive content

Make your content interactive to hook interest. Incentives, games, competitions and giveaways are always a reliable way of gaining customer interaction.

It's captivating, and it works. It's a great way of attracting new leads whom you might not have otherwise reached out to. It helps to build excitement and pique interest around your brand.


It might be stating the obvious, but visuals in marketing are very, very important. Short-form video will capture interest that could lead to curiosity click-throughs and enquiries.

The human eye is naturally and instinctively drawn to images over written content. Images require less effort for our brains to absorb, whereas text requires a little bit of thought. Thought requires time and energy, which are precious.

Use short-form videos as much as possible - whether that's TikTok, Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts.

Social influencing

Influencing is a trend that is still highly successful, even when everyone and their pets are doing it.

It might be a saturated marketing method, but influencer marketing is one of the most successful forms of 'attract' marketing (the first stage of the buyer journey). It humanises your brand, it gives glowing reviews of your product or service - which is the strongest incentive to convert.

Is it a generational thing?

Well, Gen Z are certainly the pioneers of short-form content. But that doesn't mean short-form content isn't just as effective for all audiences.

Will we have invented more AI that retrains and lengthens our attention spans in twenty years? Who knows.

Will lower attention spans become a problem? And if so, how much technology do we throw at other technologies to quell the side effects of short-form content? Either way, marketing will relax and contract to suit these shifting tides, and it's an interesting space to watch.

For now though at least, we know that chasing these trends is the best way to keep up with content shifts.

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