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How to market to goldfish . . .

Social media columnist
Social media columnist

A study a couple of years ago by Microsoft revealed that the human attention span had supposedly dropped from 12 seconds in 2002 to only eight seconds in 2013. This is a second shorter than that of a goldfish!

On the good news side, the study found that our ability to multitask had improved. Also that those who use social media heavily had more “intermittent bursts of high attention” and that they were “better at identifying what they want/don’t want to engage with”.

The problem with short attention spans and content marketing is that usually it takes more than eight seconds for the user to click through to the content and start reading. But, there are ways to fight back and conquer marketing to people with short attention spans – which is nearly everyone.

If you only have eight seconds or less, that means you have to greatly shorten whatever it is that you are doing to market to your audience, or you need to do something new every eight seconds to grab their attention again. That’s why some public speakers can speak for over an hour and keep the audience’s attention while others put everyone to sleep after the first eight seconds. Which type of marketer are you?


What are your objectives? – What is the overarching thing that your business needs to accomplish? You can include an objective from each sector of your business.

What are your goals? – Describe in concrete terms what the above means in terms of measurable results.

What are your strategies? – Describe for each of the goals, in one or two points, what will be done to meet the objectives.

How will you measure results? – Describe, using the goals, how you’ll measure those results. What tools will be used, and when will it be done?

Try to answer each question in only one or two sentences. The idea is to keep it short, succinct and to the point. If you can’t keep it to the point now, it will be hard for you to do so when you’re creating your marketing campaign.


* You can focus on one objective at a time.

* You can focus on one goal at a time.

* You can choose one strategy at a time.

You can make a list of each and create a series of advertisements that all fit together to answer the first list of objectives and goals that you created, all in seven- or eight-second increments. But, start with just one. Get one completed, launched, and measured before moving on to the next. In this way you can ensure that you are on the right track and gauge how you’re keeping the attention of your audience by the metrics you are choosing to measure, which are based on your clear and specific goals.

Once you have everything spelled out, it will be a lot easier to follow and succeed in marketing to people with short attention spans. You’re going to find that using this method will help market to all sorts of people, whether they have short attention spans or not. It’s probably better to assume that 99.9 percent of your audience has a short attention span and work from there!

Of course, if you do have a short attention span you probably won’t have read to the end of this article!


Facebook Adds Weather Tool to Desktop and Mobile Apps: Facebook introduced “a useful new feature that puts a full weather forecast inside its mobile app and desktop site.”

Facebook Rolls Out Community Help: Facebook expanded Safety Check to include Community Help, a new tool that allows users to “find and give help and message others directly to connect after a crisis.”

Facebook Shares Q4 and Full-year 2016 Earnings and Community Updates: Facebook shared its Q4 and full-year 2016 revenues and provided an update on its “progress in building a global community.” Facebook announced that its community now boasts almost 1.9 billion people, including 1.2 billion people active every day.

Facebook Updates News Feed Algorithm to Show More Authentic and Timely Stories: Facebook rolled out two new updates to the algorithm that prioritize “more authentic and timely” content in the news feed.

Twitter Plans Update to Collapse Abusive and Low-quality Tweets: Twitter will roll out three new ways to help users manage abusive, low-quality tweets and accounts. These updates to Twitter Safety include the ability to stop the creation of new abusive accounts and offers “safer search results” that omit sensitive content and tweets from blocked or muted accounts.

Twitter Tests Video Views Counter: Mashable reports that “some people are now seeing video view counts in their feed next to the usual timer” on Twitter videos. Twitter confirms that it’s testing the video views counter as a way to “provide helpful context on the popularity of a video and… to help surface the best content” on the platform.

LinkedIn Adds Option to Disable Comments on Long-form Articles: LinkedIn now allows publishers to directly manage comments on individual published articles on LinkedIn “at any time.”

LinkedIn Notification Settings on the Desktop Coming Soon: LinkedIn published a quick guide on how to navigate the new Notification tab rolling out with the desktop redesign and announced that user settings for this new feature are “coming soon.”

Instagram Tests Multiple Image and Video Posts: The Verge reports that Instagram appears to be testing the ability to showcase multiple photos and videos in a single post among regular users. While this capability is currently only available to advertisers as carousel ads, the latest beta release for Instagram for Android suggests that “this same feature is making its way to the app’s 600 million users.”

Snapchat Rolls Out QR Snapcode for Websites: As part of a recent iOS update, Snapchat added the ability to convert web links into snapcodes that can be used to open web pages within the platform’s in-app browser.

Snapchat Experiments With New Lenses for Landscapes: TechCrunch reports that “Snap, Inc. is working on an updated version of its in-app Snapchat lenses that would be able to recognize landscapes as well as faces… and intelligently overlay augmented reality animations and objects overtop of scenes captured through your camera.”

YouTube Expands Mobile Live Streaming and Launches Super Chat: YouTube rolled out mobile live streaming to “every creator with more than 10,000 subscribers” and announced that other creators will have it “soon.”

Pinterest Adds New Visual Discovery Tools: Pinterest introduced three new visual discovery tools “that turn any image into an entry point to finding more ideas” and make it “easier than ever to find ideas across Pinterest and from the world around you.” Pinterest also rolled out two new buttons, Shop the Look and Instant Ideas. The Shop the Look button is found on home and fashion pins and offers users “a new way to shop and buy products you see inside Pins.”

Pinterest Introduces Search Ads: Pinterest rolled out search ads with “a full suite of features, including Keyword and Shopping Campaigns that are shown in search results… [and] powerful new targeting and reporting options.”


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