The scarcest resource in marketing is consumers’ attention. In fact, while Americans spend an average of 10 hours per day devoted to screen time, our level of focus hasn’t necessarily kept up: According to data from Facebook, its mobile users spend an average of only 1.7 seconds interacting with content and just 2.5 seconds for desktop users. In light of this, marketers need to find ways to engage consumers and leave a lasting impression about their product or brand in the time it takes them to blink.
The secrets? Personalized content, lightning-fast load times, and smooth user experiences.
One of digital marketing’s strengths is that it doesn’t need to paint with a broad brush—ads can zero-in on users with content tailored precisely to the individual based on their prior purchases, their interests, and more. At the same time, as they traverse an online environment that can be challenging to navigate, users want clear guidance to point them in the direction of a product or brand that meets their specific needs. Therefore, ad content should be personalized whenever possible.
After all, when 71% of consumers report a preference for personalized ads that take their shopping behaviors into account and an incredible 75% more likely to buy from a brand that recognizes them by name, marketers would be unwise to serve their audiences generic ads rather than individualized ones.
Another critical pillar for brand engagement is loading speed. Users spend barely two seconds interacting with content, so they’re not likely to spend time with a website or app that makes them wait just for the page to load. Google, in a study published on the Think with Google site, noted that users abandon 53% of visits to mobile sites that take longer than three seconds to load, which underscores exactly how high-stakes loading speeds are for consumers and marketers alike. Brands should ensure their web platforms align with consumers’ fast-paced expectations.
Along with fast loading speeds, consumers also crave smooth user experiences when scouting the web to make a purchase. Even if they’ve been enticed by a personalized ad and a website that moves like the wind, a confusing checkout experience will prompt them to empty their carts and look elsewhere. All platforms should be optimized for mobile and make sure that consumers have an easy time completing their purchases.
Standing out to consumers whose attention spans are measured in seconds presents a difficult challenge for marketers, but thankfully, there are a range of effective strategies to do so. They don’t need to reinvent the wheel: Marketers just need to make ads personalized and make sure web platforms are easy to use.