Advertising To An Audience With An 8-Second Attention Span

And how to keep them interested beyond those 8 crucial seconds.

A. Sharma
3 min readJul 6, 2020

The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.

The average attention span of a human being in 2020 is 8.25 seconds (and decreasing every year).

Mobile attention span is so short that most people won’t even finish scrolling through a website, or this article. It’s nothing personal though — just how 21st century consumers process information. However, how companies and marketers adapt to this changing attention span of the demographic, is.

But before you go about planning how to market your brand to target these tame fish, highlighted here are some high-level strategies that can help you optimise your marketing to pique your customers’ interest before the eight-second timer runs out.

If It’s Important, Repeat It

A lot of experienced business owners know the Rule of 7. It means that your potential clients need to come across your brand at least seven times before they even think about using your product/service. Repetition can be a key part of your content strategy, and you can re-purpose old content on new platforms, distribute this repeated content across platforms, or use smart re-targeting so people see your brand more frequently.

Clarity Is King (or Queen)

When in doubt, keep it concise throughout. Tell your customers about an offer, promotion, or why they should care about something in less than a line. It can be a powerful single-sentence client testimonial, an exciting image/video that inspires, or a problem with a competitor’s brand that yours can solve. While it can take time to get your marketing strategy on just the right side of assertive and demanding of attention, keep at it and you’ll see increased interest in your brand.

Make It Personal

People see hundreds of advertisements everyday. Make yours stand out by personalising it. Tailor your advertising to specific demographics on different platforms, and create compelling content that inspires off-screen reactions. Advertising to gamers? Become a gamer. Advertising to fashion experts? Speak like a fashionista. It takes research and effort, but looking at advertisements from their point of view will convince them to reconsider your brand.

For example, Coca-Cola started their “Share a Coke” campaign last summer. By simply using popular names and labels (for friends and family), the brand saw a 2% increase in its sales.

Don’t just step into your client’s shoes. Wear their entire wardrobe.

Let Your Photos Speak For You

Sometimes, photos express more efficiently and provokingly than words. Using photos effectively on your advertising or website can not only provide a human touch and impress through color, but when you use your own company’s photos, it conveys your brand’s culture and helps you connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Use Visual and Interactive Elements

Content creates visual interest. Infographics, charts, and graphs can help you convey a lot of information (as we said) in concise ways. For example, flowcharts are a classic case of how to use information in a way that also adds creativity and personalisation. It can be a quiz for clients to choose from a range of options, or a digital “try-on” feature that’s now trending with eye-wear and clothing brands.


The “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” mantra takes Albert Einstein’s “If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough” to heart. The KISS principle in marketing means keeping your content simple and properly formatted. It includes highlighting keywords, using subheadings, and focusing on one idea per post/advertisement. You might have a lot to say, but consumers would prefer a clean and simple campaign in a saturated online environment.

Your advertising efforts in today’s environment now boil down to eight seconds. In these crucial seconds, consumers decide whether they want to continue exploring your brand, or drop it completely.

The good news is: follow these steps, and you can create ads that are short, clear and relate to your demographic on a personal level — and maybe even interest goldfish.

Originally published on and written for Digital Odyssey.



A. Sharma

A Generation Z kid studying sociology and searching for the Fortress of Solitude.