Attention span may be the most endangered resource of the information age. Increasingly, web users seem unable to focus on any particular thought or task for more than a few short moments before being interrupted by an incoming message or other stimulus.
The Battle for Attention
Think about it. That is, if you can spare a few brain cells for more than a few seconds. We cannot create more attention. We cannot manufacture time. There is more competition than ever for eyeballs. The battles of the future will be fought over the brain cells that control thought and attention.
Thanks to the spread of technology, there are more ways to communicate than ever. There are also more people to communicate with. With social media sites and omnipresent mobile technology, you never have to lose touch with society.
Implications for Your Business
Whether it cost $300 or $3,000,000, your website is designed to attract and retain visitors until a desired action is completed.
Visitors and web users have many more external distractions that can take them away from your site in a split second. Unless you can capture and retain their attention, your website is likely losing a lot of potential business to other, more intrusive interactions.
Engage and Resonate
How do you reach and retain people that are just a click away from a competitor’s site? First, you have to engage your visitors. Give them a reason to stick around and navigate to your “money pages”. A compelling design, a unique interactive element, and valuable resources can go a long way towards keeping people interested.
Second, your message has to resonate with the visitor. This means it has to stand out in their mind amongst the thousands of other ads they’ve seen that day.
Measure and Refine
Check to see if your website analytics package tracks pageviews, time on site, time on page, bounce rate, and other engagement metrics. If so, you’ve already got a lot of information about what people are doing on your site once they get there. Use Google Analytics’ Event Tracking capabilities, Time on Site or PageView goals to assess whether or not visitors are engaging with your content.
Do they stick around long enough to absorb your message? Do they click through past the landing page that brought them in? Pick an engagement metric and think of ways to improve it. For example, try to decrease your landing pages’ bounce rates. Depending on your business model, you may want to try to increase the number of pages viewed by your average visitor or decrease the number of obstacles that prohibit them from accomplishing a task.
Now You Know
What other ways can your website compete in a world with shorter attention spans and consumers with non-stop Oh look, a butterfly…