The Skip Culture – Marketing for ‘Short Attention Spans’

Posted on September 28th, 2018 | Tags: Marketing

You’re watching Youtube and an ad pops up in the middle of the clip you’re watching. You wait till the little box in the corner says skip the ad. The moment you can and go back to what you wanted to watch. Some say this is the results of the modern multitasking short attention span culture of the internet age. The truth is it’s always been like that, with skimming past the ads in print, getting up to do things during the commercial breaks on television, changing the station during the radio ads; it’s only now that technology has reached the point where we can track these actions in very fine detail. This problem affects all marketing, including yours, so what can you do about it? That’s what we are going to talk about here.

Some Bad News

First things first. You will never create marketing that will have everyone in rapped attention. No one can. Not the big global advertising companies that set up multi million dollar marketing campaigns and not people who have a small business and maybe have a few hundred dollars to spend for the whole year.  People are going to ignore your advertising unless they have a problem that you can solve right now. It’s the reality of marketing and you can’t escape it. 

You are also competing with other businesses for that same limited number of eyes/ears that need your services. This means that unless you’re offering something very unique or specialized there will be others offering the exact same products for same or even cheaper prices. This can be especially true if you’re a small business that also have very large companies competing in the same field. For us at Copy Express, we have to compete with Vista Print, who is a multinational company that can spend money on lots of ads and offers the same sort of products at prices we don’t try to compete with. (That being said we offer both better and faster service which helps us stand out.)

With the advances in technology means that it’s easier to ignore advertising too. The five second skip button on Youtube, fast forward button on Freeview recorders, the ad blockers on websites, the list goes on. It might be ongoing technology war between the people who want to advertise and the people who don’t want to be advertise too, but in reality most people just ignore marketing.

The Good News

Way back in April 2015 I wrote about my ‘5/15/60 second rule’ to help deal with the above problems and if anything it’s even more relevant today than when I wrote it three years ago. You can follow the link to the article to get the full explanation of who the rule works but here’s the TL:DR version of it

  • You have the first 5 seconds to hook someone’s interest in the ad
  • The next 10 seconds are to make the pitch at what you are offering
  • The last 45 seconds are to close the deal and reinforce why they should go to you for the product or service

Notice that you have only 5 seconds to hook someone’s interest. It’s not just how long a streaming company will force you to watch/listen to an ad before you can skip it. It is also about how long someone will scan a subject line of a email, scan over the layout of a printed or digital page, put up with an ad before changing a station or fast forwarding, looking at a flyer before it goes to the rubbish bin. 5 seconds, that’s all you’ve got.

You can do a lot in 5 seconds. A heck of a lot, if you spend that time wisely. Remember it’s the time you hook the viewer/listener/readers interest. You’re not making the whole pitch, you just have to hook in the potential customer to want to learn more. (Though I’ve recently seen New Zealand created Youtube ads that do the complete sell in those five seconds rather well.) That’s the job of the first five seconds, to get them interested, after that you can spend the time you need to ‘complete the deal.’ 

Closing Thoughts

You can’t stop people skipping/ignoring your marketing, because unless it solves a problem they have right now they won’t care. That being said, a well designed 5 second hook may get them to pay attention long enough for you to promote yourself to them. If you do your marketing right, it will be memorable without it being annoying. Then when they do need that problem solved you will be remembered and you will get their potential custom.

This is just one part of the long list of different things you need to think about when you are planning your marketing. If you get stuck on how to setup your marketing plan and need advice on what to do next, then why not give us at Copy Express a call. We can book an appointment for in depth support, or give you a what you need in a quick question and answer session. We are always there to help you and your business.