Five tips for beating the 8 second attention span


I’m Nieve or since year nine drama class ‘WOB’: passionate for the colour orange and that playlist they play at Frankie & Benny’s. I’m an experienced Graphic Designer having worked with Branding, Web Design, Social- Media Marketing and much more. I love experimental design, working with data, typography and seeing how far I can push design itself.

Since the year 2000, the average attention span of adults has dropped from 12 seconds to 8.25 seconds.

That’s 0.75 seconds shorter than the average attention span of a goldfish.

Scary, right?

Over the last few years, we have increasingly become used to getting what we want with just a few clicks of a button.

Whether that’s newly released films available on-demand, free of adverts and the effort of making a trip to the cinema or accessing an astounding collection of information all from your back pocket.

We are a society that has lost patience, and with it, our attention spans.

Naturally, this means it is much harder to hold the audience attention in this digital world.
And if you’re having trouble keeping your audience engaged in your site, you’re not alone.

With the average user leaving web pages within 10-20 seconds, those first few seconds are crucial in keeping your audience interested.

Here are 5 tips for optimising your content to make the most of those 8 seconds.

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1. Make it focussed and to the point

When capturing your audience’s attention within a few seconds, don’t waste time beating around the bush.

You must state clearly what you are writing about, your intentions and what your audience can gain from reading your content. 

Whether blog posts, articles, or social media posts, the information should be easy to read and digest. It is common for audiences to scan a page for the information they are looking for; therefore, information should be concise and broken down for clarity. 

Grammarly is a great tool that can help you communicate with the right tone of voice, offering suggestions, sentence rephrases and spellchecks. It is an effective tool that is excellent in sifting your writing and making for clarity and conciseness.

2. Know your audience and appeal to them.

Knowing your audience is essential to creating the right content. 

You must know who you are writing for in order to grab their attention, and starting small is always an excellent way to go. 

Aiming to appeal to a mass audience is ambitious and will not only make your life harder in figuring out how to tailor your content, but it will likely result in you appealing to no one at all.

Understanding your audience and what they think, feel, and want will allow you to make the best possible content decisions and help hold that interest.

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3. Personalise your content

Writing content is easy, but personalising it to speak to your audience and resonate with readers is an entirely different ball game.

And it all boils down to focusing on the person, not the channel.

Appealing to your target audience takes time and research. If you want readers to invest in you and your services, you must take the time to understand their point of view, don’t just step into their shoes. Go through their entire wardrobe.

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4. Understand the importance of visual language 

  • People are 85% more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.
  • Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts.
  • Posts with videos attract three times more links than text-only posts.

Visuals are always effective when communicating information or data. Info-graphics, videos and imagery are all great ways to keep your audience invested and entertained.

Not to mention branding itself. Your brand and website must communicate who you are through both content and writing and visuals and brand elements.

Having a strong and clear brand will allow your audience to have an enjoyable experience and help them trust your brand if it looks professional, up-to-date and well put together. 

Visuals can help audiences judge your content, brand, and site in those first eight seconds.

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5. Tone of voice and relatability

Selecting the right tone of voice for your audience is key, and with it, relatable content. 

Relatability is a vital element of content creation, helping to hold readers’ interest and improve engagement.

Being relatable and personalising content will help allow audiences to know they are more than a number to you, making your target audience more likely to want to work with you.

That’s a real win for everyone. 

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To summarise

In a nutshell, the key is personability and relatability. 

If you can target an audience and cater your content to them, you’re far more likely to hold attention and increase engagement. Be playful, have conversations, encourage responses.

No reader wants to invest their time into cold, empty marketing strategies. It’s all about connection

And remember…

  • Make it focussed and to the point
  • Know your audience and appeal to them
  • Personalise your content
  • Understand the importance of visual language 
  • The tone of voice and relatability

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