Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Consumer Attention Myths; Attention Spans Are Shrinking, Right? Wrong. Publicis Media's President of Digital Investment Helen Lin Busts This and Other Myths

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Consumer Attention Myths; Attention Spans Are Shrinking, Right? Wrong. Publicis Media's President of Digital Investment Helen Lin Busts This and Other Myths

Article excerpt

LET me paint what I suspect will be a familiar picture: Your alarm goes off and the first thing you do is check texts, messaging apps, emails, and feeds.

You grab coffee, rush out. Even at the office, you're constantly checking every device -- in between meetings, in line for lunch, waiting for your turn at the coffee machine. You're toggling between no less than a dozen apps, all at once.

At agencies, it's our job to help clients adapt to this new attention economy. However, I've noticed the same old myths holding back marketers from committing to change.

So, here's a reality check.

Myth #1: People have the attention span of goldfish

I regularly hear it said that attention spans have shrunk. In reality, people can and do still pay attention. In fact, a new analysis of customer behaviour shows 81% of video viewing sessions capture people's attention.

If anything, we're paying more attention than ever before. What has changed, however, is our tolerance for time wasters.

Think about your own life. You no longer put up with something just because it's on. Ten years ago, you may have sat through a video you didn't find interesting. Now, you just "next" it because you can.

On the other hand, when we're really interested, we invest. What does this mean for advertisers? It means attention is available, but the bar has been raised. If you really want someone's attention, you have to earn it.

Myth #2: People pay attention to all screens equally

Actually, not all screen time is equal.

When you've got the TV on, how often do you find yourself fully focused on it? And how does this compare to when you're watching videos on your phone?

The latest research supports what we intuitively know to be true: when people are in a "lean-forward" viewing mode, they're 1. …

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