In the words of Lizzo, “all the rumors are true”, our attention spans are getting shorter. This is why it is more important than ever to create content that is short and sweet. The average attention span for a human is 8 seconds, even a Goldfish has a longer attention span than us. Unfortunately, it is not only our attention span geting worse, our memory is getting worse as well.
Here are a few statistics about a humans attention span that may shock you:
On average someone will check their emails 30 times an hour while they are working. 📧 (Hayes, 2022)
The average person will pick up their phone more than 1,500 times a week.📱 (Hayes, 2022)
Humans will only read 28% of a webpage, the rest they just blur out.📖 (Hayes, 2022)
The average person will leave a web page after 10-20 seconds. 👋 (Hayes, 2022)
So what's causing us to lose our attention span?
There is so much information that is so accessible to us these days, if the first few seconds of video content isn’t what we were expecting we can simply find another video. If we see a video that is 10 seconds long, we are directly telling our brains that we only need to concentrate for a maximum of 10 seconds. You have already prepared your brain to know that the video will be over soon.
Through social media we are used to instant gratification, because of this we have developed FOMO (fear of missing out). We need to be up to date with everything, and know every funny meme and trend that is going on.
If our attention spans were truly shortening wouldn't everything be shorter now? Movies, TV shows, books, etc...? So why were all the nominated movies from this year's Oscars all over 2 hours long. When you think about it, 2 hours isn't that long, you could binge-watch two episodes of your favorite tv show in that time.
Researchers have come up with a mathematical model to see how long a topic will have attention, based on these three factors.
The hotness of the topic: or in other words how relevant it is and how new it is.
Progression in public: Is the content helping with progression within culture and trends.
A desire for a new topic: Trends come and go so quickly people want the latest thing right then and there.
I hope this was insightful and has taught you a thing or two about creating your next project. If you’re looking for more inspiration read our blog on Content Ideas for Social Media.
Hayes, A. 2022. The Human Attention Span. [online] Wyzowl.com. Available at <https://www.wyzowl.com/human-attention-span/#:~:text=All%20data%20sources%20can%20be,shrunk%20significantly%20to%208.25%20seconds> [Accessed 15 April 2022].