It’s been proven in many studies that people have immensely short attention spans regardless of their social group and background. The average child has the attention span of 60 seconds and though it may sound counterintuitive this number actually gets lower as a person reaches adolescence and adulthood, with it averaging a mere 8 seconds. A mentally healthy adult can stretch this attention up to 20 minutes, but has to refocus his or her attention several times during that time period.
This is the reason why speakers on stage who have to address a number of audiences use a little technique where they crack a joke every now and then during their presentation to keep their viewers’ eyes and ears glued to them.
Our eyes are constantly fleeting here and there. We check our phones one second, then our tablet the next, then, we turn to our kid, who needs help with the homework, then we check the news, our attention is always all over the place. On the internet, it’s always the GIF’s that crack us up more than the longer skit, and it’s those short product demo videos that get shared a lot. In fact any video longer than 3 minutes is considered a full length movie. Our attention span is so fleeting; even our forms of entertainment have to be brief.
But interestingly, in this age of fast marketing, the one that seems to be impervious to our darting eyeballs is email marketing. Fun fact: the first marketing email was sent way back in 1978 which makes email marketing about 40 years old now. It appears that email marketing is showing a superior track record in comparison to a great deal of other digital correspondence at prolonging a viewer’s capacity to focus. As it turns out, email marketing might prove an exception to the rule that people, (advertisers, organizers, etc.) have to make up for the short attention span of people. This may be due to several reasons, ranging from improved sending platforms to more mobile-friendly consumption experiences to simply producing better content than before.
A study done by Litmus Software spanning five years, from 2011 to 2016, indicates that more people spend more time on the average reading their emails, with an increase of 7% within that time frame. Also, a significant percentage of their test subjects reported to have read more during those years than just simply glancing and skimming through their emails. This is also true across mobile phone users. They spent more time reading their emails and their attention spans grew from roughly 20% in 2011 to 55% by 2016.
The improvement of readership in marketing emails is a testament to many of the improvements done in the past few years. As more and more emails have become responsive or mobile phone sensitive, this obviously attracted more mobile phone users to dive in and be engaged. The popular uses of headers and sub-headers and bullets have helped greatly in reader retention. There are many other tips that you can learn pretty quickly that we will be tackling in the next articles, so stay tuned.