How to Cater Your Content to the World’s Dwindling Attention Span

How to Cater Your Content to the World’s Dwindling Attention Span

22/01/21 | Rebecca Dudley

It is no secret that attention spans are getting shorter and…

– Ooh, butterfly –


As a human collective, our attention span has a massive impact on our performance at work, in school, or even just around our home. Across the world, we have introduced so many new distractions (mainly due to our phones and social media!) into our daily lives, and these have all impacted our productivity and focus in all areas of our lives.

Technological Advancements and Distractions

Increasingly, we’re becoming bombarded by distractions every day – from our phone or smartwatch pinging with new notifications to our tablet or laptop device alerting us to watch the latest TV shows and movies on streaming services. 

There is an endless amount of new, brilliant technology now present in our day-to-day lives which, in equal measures, distracts and entertains us. 

It is the price we pay to scroll endlessly through social media feeds, stream our favourite TV shows and films, as well as chat to friends and family via video calling.

While the downside of innovation is increased distractions, on the flip side, they have a whole hoard of benefits too. From easily ordering food to your door, to searching for directions and keeping up-to-date with the latest news.

Do you find yourself getting easily distracted when you’re working on a task?

According to statistics, the average attention span has gone from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, which is less than the average attention span of a goldfish (9 seconds). Not great – and a little embarrassing, if true!

However, others believe that this just simply isn’t true and that our attention spans haven’t changed much. Instead, they believe what is happening is that we are more task-dependent compared with previous generations; and, how much attention we apply to a particular task varies depending on what the task is and what it demands.

For example, if we don’t enjoy writing, but we are set a writing-based task at school or work, we are more likely to find that our attention span dwindles, compared to a task we would enjoy. 

With a collective shrinking attention span in mind, what does this mean for marketers? Specifically, content marketers and copywriters? How can we market and cater to the world’s dwindling attention span? Is it possible, and how can we adapt?


How Can Content Marketers Cater to the World’s Dwindling Attention Span?


  • Strong Storytelling

Our world is inundated with digital experiences, which means that linear narratives are no longer bringing in the crowds and compelling people into action. Because of this, content marketers must rethink the way we deliver stories, and embrace new opportunities.

Ultimately, this means that we need to shift the way we produce work, from managing content to creating experiences instead.

Stop the linear narrative

Throughout human history, we’ve told stories. It is part of the fabric of humanity; it’s how we learn, grow and navigate through the world. 

But, the way marketers tell stories has to change. Previously, the narrative has been very linear and routinely depicted from one point of view with one corresponding outcome. However, the linear narrative no longer captures and retains our audience’s dwindling attention span.

It has become too planned, too predictable and expected. 

 A non-linear approach will better retain audience attention

How? Well, we must start by creating multiple narratives. When posting a video or piece of content to your website, instead of just hoping it gets hits, share it. Share it on social media and, most importantly, tag your colleagues and write something personable. 

Not only will this help expand your reach, but it also makes it instantly more engaging when there are featured people in the post (who are also more likely to share the content, too). 

By starting to rethink your content marketing strategy and telling non-linear stories, you can recapture your audience’s attention and start creating experiences that they’ll stick around for.


  • Create Engaging Content

So, you’ve decided to switch things up and diversify your content marketing strategy. Now what? It is critical that your content is engaging, thought-provoking and authoritative.

The goal for any piece of content is to evoke emotion and spark a deeper connection with your audience. 

Create more video content

To elevate your content, start driving engagement through video, as well as the written word. Video content is proven to evoke emotions that last, as well as show that an audience is more likely to retain its message compared to reading it in a text.

Use humour

Everyone loves to laugh. It instantly makes us feel good. Therefore, it’s the perfect ingredient to add to your content; it’ll help elevate it and make it more engaging. If you’re looking to amplify your content and brand experience, then using humour will help retain your audience’s attention and create a memorable, pleasant experience.


  • Provide Bite-Sized Content

You’ve mastered the first two stages, what next? To keep your audience engaged, keep your content short and to the point. You want to grab their attention and keep it without them having to scroll through the text searching for the answer they want, or skipping forward in a video.

There are a few tips and tricks you can use to make your content more user friendly:

  • Split up your messages with smaller paragraphs, snippets, quotes and statistics. This allows your reader to scan the page and digest the content quickly and easily 
  • Engage through shorter social stories rather than web pages 
  • Create long-form content for authority, but shorten and condense it into snippets to share on social media. The aim of this is to create skimmable content that will help retain your audience’s attention


  • Design Compelling Visuals

We’ve talked about the benefits of using the right colours in your web design, but ‘colour’ is also essential for creating engaging visual content. To increase people’s willingness to read, you can design infographics to capture their attention. Not only are they easy to digest, but they showcase all your points in a very visual and clear format.


  • Personalise the Experience

Today, more than ever before, we expect information and content to relate to us and our needs. That means personalisation is critical to attracting attention.

The main is to keep ads targeted, personal and customised to your consumer’s interests. But, it’s not just ads that need to personalise, it’s also applicable to email marketing. 

In this area of digital marketing, you should segment your email lists based on user engagement, past purchases, and throughout the buying journey. 

This will enable you to have a much better success rate and a chance at engaging your audience, no matter where in the customer journey they are.


  • Don’t Just Capture Attention, Retain It!

With all the above in mind, they better equip you and your team with the tools to captivate the world’s dwindling attention span. With a shrinking attention span, we need to work harder to satisfy the need for instant gratification by rethinking and modernising our digital marketing strategy.


Contact Active Internet Marketing (UK)

Get in touch with Active Internet Marketing (UK) to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our business development team. We’ll get to know you and your business, and explain what we have to offer. You can give us a call today on 01604 765 796, alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form, and we’ll be in touch with you shortly.