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Short Attention Spans & The Need For Brand Repetition

Remember when 8 seconds was the go-to number for customer attention spans? Times have surely changed. Before we go further, I've got a question: Do you think adapting TV commercials for social media platforms is a smart move? Let's dive into the evolution of our attention spans and how brands can keep up in this high-speed digital age.

The Shrinking Window

Rewind to the year 2000. The average attention span was 12 seconds. Fast forward to 2015, and that number shrunk to 8.25 seconds. Microsoft's study in 2021 noted a similar 8-second span. With the rise of TikTok and other micro-content platforms, Google now suggests a mere 5 seconds is all we have to grab attention. Forget the memory of a goldfish; we're approaching bee territory (with an estimated 2.5-second memory span).

For our Aussie readers, does this strike a chord? Our own internet consumption habits are a testament to this trend. But what does this mean for brand storytelling?

Adapting to the Times

Traditional TV commercials and social media video content are fundamentally different. However, with younger generations becoming key consumers, there's a pressing need to re-evaluate our advertising strategies.

"Alright, mate, how can I tell a story in just 5 seconds?" you might ask. A legitimate question! You might need to introduce the brand, set up a narrative, and push a call-to-action, all within a blink of an eye. Seems impossible, right?

Enter Google's ABCD

Google suggests an ABCD approach for crisp storytelling:

  • Attention
  • Brand introduction
  • Connection
  • Direction

All these while maintaining a rhythmic 'heartbeat arc': beginning with a compelling scene and oscillating between intense and relaxed moments. Incorporating tight frames, vivid colours, and engaging graphics can make a world of difference, especially for mobile viewers.

Addressing the Aussie Market

Australia is no exception to this global trend. Many local businesses, particularly SMEs, lag in adapting to these swift changes. Our consumption patterns on platforms like YouTube reflect our evolving preferences. Yet, some businesses persist with traditional, lengthier ads, especially on platforms like Connected TV.

In these challenging economic times, with businesses fighting tooth and nail for market share, isn't it worth experimenting with these newer, concise video formats?

Final Thoughts

Drawing from past direct marketing strategies, we know there's a formula:

  1. Brand introduction
  2. Present a problem
  3. Reinforce the brand
  4. Offer a solution via the brand
  5. End with the brand and a call-to-action

Sound familiar? This isn't far from Google's ABCD. With a little twist catering to the modern consumer, brands can effectively communicate even within a tight 5-second window.

Let's not get left behind. Let's understand our audience and mould our strategies. And if all else fails, think like a bee. Time is fleeting; make every second count.

About the author

Connect with Cath

Cath is Head of Strategy at MPA. A seasoned professional in marketing and media, Cath has worked across multiple Agencies and Clients from multinationals to start-ups

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