As we all know, the marketing industry is constantly changing, especially with how we distribute content. In past years we focused on creating high-quality content in the medium of photos or graphics. Though in recent years, there has been a shift. HubSpot did a survey in 2018, and they commented on how 54% of consumers said they wanted to see more video content from a brand or business they support. I believe that sentiment is still the same as we analyze the new social media trends that have come up in 2021. For example, if we look at Instagram’s new algorithm, they seem to prefer Reels. The Reels feature was adopted from the latest social media platform TikTok, and it is a way for brands to share engaging content in a minute or less. As a result of this phenomenon, today, the primary form of media used in content marketing is a video (HubSpot).
I support the way the social media industry is going as I find videos more interesting than photos and feel like they can tell more, even though there is that saying about how “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Though recently, I was in discussion with a friend of mine, who felt that new trends, especially the preference for short videos, that in her case it has decreased her attention span, to where she can only actively focus for around two minutes. I thought that was very interesting and wanted to see if there was a correlation between this new social media trend and our attention span.
A study done by Microsoft Corp indicated that people now generally start to lose concentration after about eight seconds; apparently, that figure has been falling over the past couple of years and is at an all-time low. Yet, in my research, there was no concrete evidence that this new trend impacted our attention span but more that it was the result of this observation. However, there is research out there that suggests that social media as a whole has negatively affected our attention span. For example, Philipp Lorenz-Spreen from Max Planck Institute for Human Development states that the abundance of content that we now receive as a result of a digital world exhausts our attention, and our ‘urge’ for newness causes us to switch between topics more rapidly.
Now as marketers, what do we do with this information? I doubt that we can increase our collective attention span, but there are ways that our content can hold our audience for just a bit longer.
Cooper, P. (2021, March 30). The 2021 Instagram ALGORITHM BREAKDOWN: How to get your content seen. Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-algorithm/.
Lorenz-Spreen, P., Mønsted, B. M., Hövel, P., & Lehmann, S. (2019, April 15). Accelerating dynamics of collective attention. Nature News. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09311-w.
Mawhinney, J. (2021, February 16). 50 visual content MARKETING statistics you should know in 2021. HubSpot Blog. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy.
Stefanski, R. (2020, July 14). How declining attention spans impact your social media. Muck Rack. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://muckrack.com/blog/2020/07/14/how-declining-attention-spans-impact-your-social-media.