It is the era of Instagram and Snapchat, the era of binge reading and instant gratification, the era of short attention spans. Advertising today must focus on these key facts if it has to be successful. An advertiser today cannot afford the luxury of 30-45 second ads which monotonously glorified the brand or its key attributes. The advertiser today needs to get across its message in short one-liners in the online space.
Consumers are now increasingly occupying the digital world as the more prominent place of existence. Social media has changed the marketing landscape over the last decade or so. Marketers and advertisers now need to keep pace with this evolving landscape or else mus fall out of the competition wheel.
Small attention spans among consumers require the advertisers to be direct yet innovative all the time. They have to catch the consumer’s fancy and then persuade them to engage with the brand or buy. This is a two-step process requiring entertainment and education. The consumer must first be drawn in through the entertainment and then retained through information. Since attention spans are short, doing this in one step is not possible. Hence, media channels such as television and print work in tandem with digital media.
The television ads provide the entertainment and the hook for consumers to go to the second step of the process, usually their website or microsite where the consumer receives further information and hence, the reason to engage with the brand. While this is easier said, the entertainment factor is key here as it provides the compelling reason for a consumer to engage with the brand on a separate platform. Since the attention spans are short and the television is full of advertisements, the creatives have to be really good to grab consumer attention.
To produce great creatives which are also relevant for the consumer, brands need to analyse the consumer journey and find out where they are in their journey. If they are still unaware of the product, then the advertising must focus on grabbing attention through entertainment. However, when the customers are already aware, they need to be provided information to make the brand stick in their minds. This strategy is effective and not following this approach can land brands in trouble, as has been the case with several automotive ads which have failed to grab attention in the initial stage through entertainment and hence, later failed to find conversions.
The consumer has to be slowly persuaded. Advertising is much like dating, you first ask someone out on a coffee and only later for dinner. A relationship has to be built gradually in a step-by-step procedure. With short attention spans, a consumer must have a strong reason to give 30-45 seconds of their time for your ad. That reason is the relationship which they share with your brand and that has to be built.