It’s no secret that people’s attention spans are getting shorter. Research from Statistic Brain in the US last year found that the average amount of “concentrated time spent on a task without becoming distracted” was just 8 seconds. Even more worryingly for marketers, this was down from 12 seconds in 2012, so it has likely dipped again by the time you’re reading this.
The success of Twitter has taught us that consumers like to consume content in bite-sized chunks these days. We watch TV while surfing the web on our tablets and smartphones and vice versa; we’re constantly being interrupted by online alerts, updates and messages. In short, we don’t have the time or the inclination to sit through a 10 minute video or a read a two page white paper – irrespective of how interesting it might be.
Marketers need to understand this by giving their prospects content in smaller, more manageable chunks: snackable content. Think bite-size, not king size. It should be simple, quick and easy to consume, and allow prospects to get a taste of what you’re about without feeling they’re too committed.
Here are a few different types of snackable content:
- Short, 90 second videos (not ones lasting 5-8 minutes)
- Short, c500 word blog posts – pithy and to the point
- Polls and surveys – these can drive quick engagement and allow the prospect to be on their way soon.
What it should do:
- Tell a story – don’t think about the hard sell, but do take the reader through a narrative arc.
- Bullet points and sections with separate headers to break down large, unmanageable chunks of text
- An SEO friendly, attention-grabbing headline.
- Images and videos are easier to consume than words, so try these content types. At the very least accompany text-based content with interesting images to draw the reader in.
- Make it look good, slick, well designed, and easy to share.
- Make sure it works across form factors. OK, there are a multiplicity of devices and platforms, but if it doesn’t look good on a smartphone, you can forget about it.
- Don’t necessarily feel the need to start from scratch. Reappraise the content you have and, where appropriate, edit it down to a more manageable size.
By James O'Flaherty, Group Account Director at Enigma Marketing.
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