Why short attention span might be the end of bad content

The average attention span of a human is decreasing. How do we captivate an audience in the future?

What was the longest video you watched this week? For the average person, this is probably a video no longer than 1 minute and 55 seconds. (Excluding Tv-series and feature films)

Content, and especially video-content is getting shorter. Why? Because our attention span is getting shorter. Why? I think you can guess the answer to that one. The world is simply moving faster and faster.

As Jason Fried and David Heinemeier point out in their book; It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.

People these days are breaking their days into 5 & 10 minute bulks.

We didn’t do that 15 years ago. As a kid, I often asked my dad to tell me what his day was like. He could easily break his whole day into 3–5 bulks. He worked at a window factory. His answer went like this:

First I finished my work on the new window for the grocery store, then I went onto repairing the glass on the window for the local post office. In the middle of this it was time for lunch. After lunch I finished repairng the glass, and went down to the post office and put the glass back into the frame. After that the day was over.

Breaking down my day into 3–5 bulks is pointless and wrong. 10–15 bulks maybe. It is horrific but true. The book I quoted above discusses whether this in fact is productive at all, but that is a theme I can come back to in other posts.

The point is:

For content creators, it is getting harder and harder to keep peoples attention. A few sources say that our attention time span has gone from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8.25 seconds today. (This is highly debated) But let’s say that there is some truth in this. That means that a content creator must give the viewer a new reason to keep watching, every 8.25 seconds! How do you do that for… say… seven minutes?! Seven minutes needs a total of 50.9 good reasons to keep watching.

That is why you keep seeing this:

This is a video drop-off graph.

Good news

This is good news, but for who? You! – The hungry internet consumer. Looming around the internet for some good content to digest.

pst* See the cookies as pieces of content

This short attention span will force all content creators to be even better at captivating their viewers. Success in content creating is when people watch your content.

Therefore content creators will do everything to make you watch it, or they will eventually quit making content. ’Cause we are all about success are we not?

BY Arvid Knutsen

26 Feb 2018