Marketing in The Glance Generation

Marketing in The Glance Generation

Will you pay attention long enough to finish this article?

According to a Microsoft study, our attention spans have fallen from twelve seconds to a paltry 8 seconds since the year 2000. Attention is a main ingredient for effective advertising because before consumers can be influenced by advertising they need to first be paying attention. We’re now marketing in a glance generation. 


The fight for consumer attention is a heavyweight match up and brands are getting knocked out.


Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to over 5,000 commercial messages a day. And as marketers are presented with more and more channels to reach their customers, that number is growing rapidly. For consumers, attention is divided across different screens and multi-tasking making the cost of getting attention rise as much as nine times.


As marketers, we face scarcity when we want the attention of our audience, but while competing with thousands of other marketers, companies, people, and things for that finite resource it’s getting harder.


Today, there’s a wealth of attention demands that didn’t previously exist: advertisers want  attention before watching the next video on YouTube; friends want attention on SnapChat, Facebook, and text; and colleagues and marketers out there want attention in the inbox.


Just take email as an example: the average person receives over 100 business emails per day. That’s a lot. And marketing emails are part of that. But those marketing emails only see click-through rates of 1.5%. That means that when we email 10,000 people, 150 might pay attention and click through, on average. And businesses have come to accept this result.


If advertisers watched people as their ads came across inboxes, TV’s, radios, mobile devices, on websites, etc what would they see? First of all only about 10% of the audience even consider reading an email, watching a commercial, listening to your radio spot, and clicking on your display ad.


No matter what you offer, no matter how you offer it, about eight out of ten simply tune-out with barely a glance. Pop a Tums; it gets worse. They’d see that those who are paying attention are willing to grant around 15 or 20 seconds of their attention. They glance at headlines, subheads, pictures, captions, offer statements, and other relevant information. But they’re not likely paying attention intently.


They’re just scanning to see if your e-mail, TV commercial, print ad, radio spot, and/or display ad is interesting or relevant or valuable. And from there half quickly conclude that it’s not.  


Research released by Adobe found only 8% of people paid attention to online ads. But why? Because brands don’t make it relevant. Adobe managing director, Paul Robson told AdNews:


“The preference consumers have towards traditional advertising has more to do with digital. The reason consumers don’t see the value of digital advertising is that it’s not personalized or relevant. That relevancy creates an affinity.”

Mass targeted advertising uses a one-size fits all approach. Businesses believe that if someone fits their target market because of age, gender, income, geography, occupation, etc that their ads will get attention, resonate, and influence someone to take action.


Contextual behavioral advertising, on the other hand, ads that are targeted to consumers based on what they are searching for — actually makes people view brands in a more positive light and have higher conversion rates compared to ads that are targeted to mass audiences according to marketing studies.


This won’t come as a surprise you. Ads that speak to what people are interested in based on their behavior are ads that get attention and ads that get results. Ads that don’t get even get a glance don’t have a chance.


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