A few years ago it was widely reported that thanks to the hyper-connected world of social media the average adult now has an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish. That’s since been debunked as a myth, but what is a fact is that in today’s busy life most people decide within the first few seconds whether they will watch your online marketing video or switch to one of a man being hit repeatedly by a soccer ball in the face.In 2015 Microsoft Canada published a report “Attention spans” stating that due to the influence of social media the average human attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013 – one second less than that of a goldfish which was reported to be 9 seconds.
The news went viral, reportedly widely until a BBC journalist Simon Maybin began to investigate and found the source of the much-quoted findings on decreasing attention spans can’t be verified.
Well-known editor Nicola Brown then wrote an article on what the debunking of the 8 second attention span myth means for content marketers. She highlights three principles that marketers must take note of (and they would equally apply also to online marketing of listed properties).
- Divided attention and distractions: Brown says divided attention has always been around, our brains are wired to sort through what is happening around us and then deciding what to focus on. What has changed is the amount of distractions available, especially on social media (just think how many people regularly check up on their accounts on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp).
- This means: When marketing a property online, provide content that is engaging and will hold the attention – rather than ‘flashy bite-sized morsels that often encourage further attention splitting’ says Brown. Think what questions clients would ask about this property and provide the answers.
- Details matter: People aren’t always consciously aware of all they observe but this information often later influences the decisions they make and the actions they take.
- This means: Details matter. Just note how much more enticing this property appears in this video by Capture HD Media because of details like having the lights on, table tops and mirrors that shine as well as making sure each room and the entire property is shown from the most attractive angle possible. Who knows it may just be that glimpse of the beautiful view that will clinch the sale!
- Keeping it fresh: It is amazing how quickly people can become used to something and stop paying attention to it. Brown uses as an example the frequent false alarms in her building which she now no longer associates with fires but with her cat disappearing into dark holes out of fright.
- This means: You must keep your marketing strategy fresh, constantly coming up with new ideas and ways to market properties. As illustrated by the Capture HD Media video, stills of a property was the old way of doing things, where as a professional video instantly grabs the attention of your prospective property buyer.
So, the good news is the average human still has an attention span longer than that of a goldfish (apologies to the goldfish as apparently there aren’t verified grounds for theirs’ being limited to 9 seconds either). However, the fact remains that there is so much input on social media to choose from, that prospective buyers make decisions within seconds whether to flip through stills of a property or watch the hapless goal keeper Scott Sterling block another soccer ball with his face.