The Rise of Video and Death of Attention Spans

The average attention span of a person dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013, according to the National Center for Biotechnology information. That’s one second less than the attention span of a goldfish. It was also found in 2013 that 78% of adults online watch or download videos. With the rise of Vine, these statistics aren’t hard to believe, especially when you understand that there are over 40 million Vine users sharing 8,333 Vine videos every minute. The easiest way a marketer can adapt to the lowering attention span is by taking advantage of the rise in video.

There are a few things that have been found to greatly affect whether or not a user will stick around to watch a video. The first thing is video quality. A study done by Akamai Technologies found that viewers will start to abandon a video if it takes more than 2 seconds to load. Researchers have also found that there’s a correlation between video length and number of viewers. Chang Wen Chen, in the book Intelligent Multimedia Communication: Techniques and Applications, found that videos that ran from 2.5 to 4 minutes received the most views.

Using video as an Internet marketing tool happens to be highly effective for getting a message across, as 95% of the message is retained when it’s delivered via video compared to 10% when it’s read. Using YouTube pre-roll ads is the biggest way that a marketer can take advantage of that. By using Google Adwords, your message will play for 4 or 5 seconds before the video that the user wanted to watch. If done right, this can be a super effective way of driving traffic to your website and raising awareness for your brand. The biggest barrier between marketers and this marketing opportunity is expense. For this to work and to be worth the effort, you have to have a good video. One resource that helps marketers get around both of these problems is PowToon. You can create short and interesting animated advertisements for free using their site.

Another way that you can use video to connect with your audience is by taking advantage of live streams. Many companies use webinars to get content-heavy messages out to potential customers, but live streaming through sites like YouTube is also a viable option. It comes with its own pros and cons, though, just like anything else. Live streaming can be immersive in a way that a webinar can’t because viewers aren’t just watching something that has already been recorded and can be viewed at any time; they’re watching it as it happens and engage more because of it. Streaming Media magazine found that a webinar service like Onstream often produces more registrations (131:80), but Livestream produces more viewers (124:70).

The downside of live streaming is that you have to get the timing just right. It has to fit in well with the rest of your viewers’ day. Technical difficulties can also be a drawback. You have to make sure you have enough bandwidth to get your content to the viewers without performance problems.

In short, there are lots of ways that you can take advantage of online video to raise awareness for your product, and if you can get around the barriers to doing it effectively, it will be an awesome marketing opportunity for years to come.