Catching your target audience’s attention

DATE:May 3, 2017

As attention spans are getting shorter, companies have to figure out how to hook their customers more quickly. Here is a quick breakdown of the average human attention span and how to get your message across in that short amount of time.

The gold fish

Picture your goldfish swimming around his little bowl—did you know his attention span is only 9 seconds? According to the latest studies, humans generally lose their concentration after only 8 seconds! While many would likely state that the younger the generation, the shorter the attention span—all we can confirm is that the attention span length continues to drop as the years go on and technology usage increases.

TIME confirmed in a survey that there are some different generational distractions that cause the shorter attention spans. For example, 77% of people aged 18 to 24 responded “yes” when asked, “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone,” compared with only 10% of those over the age of 65.

Those under 19, Generation Z, are even more distracted, says Bloomberg.  “They multi-task across five screens: TV, phone, laptop, desktop and either a tablet or some handheld gaming device, spending 41 percent of their time outside of school with computers of some kind or another, compared to 22 percent 10 years ago. Because of that they ‘lack situational awareness, are oblivious to their surroundings and unable to give directions’.”

Catching their attention with print

Smart design and knowledge of the attention span will help your print marketing grab your audience’s attention before it’s already gone. Here are a few tips:

  1. Make it speedy – Your readers shouldn’t feel like they have to wait for information. Design with space so that the eye moves from element to element quickly. This eye speed and quick understanding of the content will make the design easy to digest in a hurry.
  2. The inverted pyramid – Put the most important information at the top (or in the forefront) and trickle down to the least important information. Structure your design in the same way. Not sure how to identify important information? Answer these six questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
  3. Engage with touch – Throw in elements that your readers can feel like they are engaging with. Whether that’s different textures, glosses or finishes—add elements that stand out from the rest of the print material.
  4. Keep it consistent – Using similar fonts, colors and element styles makes it easy for users to move through the design because they don’t have to learn something new visually or stop and think about usability patterns. The design should be consistent with commonly accepted user patterns and practices to put usability – and speed – at the forefront of the design.
  5. Think readability – Text that’s easy to read is more likely to catch someone’s attention that trying to decipher a complicated typeface. It helps users scan the design for keywords or bits of information they find relevant. You only have a few seconds to do this, so users need to quickly identify something that relates to their needs right away.

Imagine! Express can help you create and print materials that will consistently engage your audience and grab their attention. Have you heard of fabric printing? It’s the biggest trend in print right now, and it’s making waves! Learn more.

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