Peter Shankman wrote a post today re: the ubiquity and ridiculousness of “Predictions” posts. It’s good, funny and smart so you should go read it.
One phrase Pete used grabbed me. “Super-Short Attention Span Theater.” Pete prayed, “May 2013 be the year that our industry truly understands that the consumer attention span drops by an order of magnitude each year.” That’s pretty self-evident, ain’t it? As far back as 2002 researchers were noting that human/web cyborgs (that’s us, by the way) had attention spans of approximately 9–seconds… equivalent to a goldfish.
As marketers how do we deal with this?
Answer #1 is likely Twitter. 140–characters. Boom. Done. Want more eyeballs to see those tweets? Promote them. It’s okay. Consumers are warming up to it. It’s how things work on the Web.
Answer #2, you also already know: 2012 was clearly the Year of the Infographic. While we’ve been abused by marketers who insisted on ramming far too much “info” into their “graphics,” the concept of at-a-glance content is clearly a winner.
So what else will feature in the Super-Short Attention Span Theater?
Photography. Everyone loves a funny meme … but only a brave and funny few will genuinely explore those. Meanwhile, marketers should also investigate other, more sober but still cool ideas for how to incorporate photography into engagement strategies.
Newsjacking. Via my friend David Meerman Scott (p.s. dude, we’re overdue for a lunch), who describes it in his eponymous book as “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.” You’ve gotta be judicious and ever-careful to not be exploitative but this is quick-hit stuff and can ensure that elements of your story surf a bigger wave.
Much shorter videos. Forget virality, think snackability. If you’ve nabbed a consumer’s attention for the 5–seconds it takes for them to view a synopsis of your video, e.g., in a clever Facebook post, they’ll likely click to watch a video that’s sub 45–seconds. One minute vids? Probably too long, unless you’ve got something special on tap.
Facebook posts that never, ever require a fan to “click to read more.”
Curated content. You don’t need to create everything, you know. I’ve argued that up to 70% of the brand’s outbound marketing can consist of curated content. Few take me up on this suggestion; it has a subversive “Not Invented Here” flavor to most clients. But if your company gains recognition for its ability to identify and promote “other cool stuff” in the industry (and especially if you’re doing this in a brief, neat way), how is that not a win? It’ll mean folks pay closer attention to the 30% of your stuff that does matter.
“Togglegoodies.” I just made that up. You like? — More and more often you’ll see content that adjusts on-demand, e.g., infographics with built-in interactivity, as you might see in a children’s museum display. They’ll have toggles and switches; they’ll change as you scroll; they’ll feature embedded video. Here’s a great example from the BBC, which allows readers to “take a dive 11,000 meters down” into an ocean trench.
Surely I’m missing something. What else?
Posted on: December 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm By Todd Defren