In an era where the human ability to focus seems increasingly on par with that of a goldfish, consumers are literally being driven to distraction by the volume and frequency of ‘stuff’ that demands their attention on a daily basis.

“Stuff” is a catch-all for literally anything and everything that puts pressure (subconsciously or otherwise) on people to perform mental multitasking at a rate that is often overwhelming. Right now you probably have one eye this article, and one eye on your inbox, glancing at your laptop and checking your phone.

A quick Google on ‘human attention span’ provides some interesting reading in this regard, particularly since research cited across the web claims attention spans vary from two hours, to twenty minutes, to as little as 8 seconds. There is clearly much dispute, and of course for marketers this is not very helpful.

If you’re in marketing or advertising, you’ll know the time pressures of getting a brand message out there with high impact in as little time as possible. With the ubiquity of the internet and mobile devices, and the intrusion of pop-ups on websites and the “skip ad” option on YouTube and other streaming platforms, the job of brand management has only become more challenging.

But something else emerges from the research: that attention span is determined by the task at hand. People who are deeply engaged in a task they enjoy will be less distractable. Could the silver bullet for brands lie in catching people during experiences they relish? Afterall, sporting events have for years provided an ideal platform that brands leverage in engaging consumers. The problem is that few brands have the financial resources to benefit through these investments.

There are however still myriad opportunities and platforms that marketers can use to best participate in the ‘attention economy’: social media, gamification, video, out of home, print, television and radio, influencers, events. However, the thread that binds is content…and in a tight market, content remains king (or queen).

The question therefore remains: “How does a brand build, boost and bag the attention of an audience in today’s world?”

What role does content play? And on what platforms are target consumers to be found? How do you find the balance between being an intrusive irritation, or becoming a valued message? How has technology changed our habits? How do we fight through the fog with a brand that shines?

Stay focused during this episode of the Future of Media online conference series, where a panel of experts discuss everything you need to know about human attention as a scarce commodity and how to earn it in an age flooded by brands vying for the same eyes, minds and hearts.

Panelists in the discussion, moderated by Siya Sangweni include:

  • Isla Prentis – intelligence lead, Tirisano Consulting, within The MediaShop
  • Danny Druion – creative director, Wunderman Thompson Digital
  • Deborah Schepers – chief strategy officer, Primedia Outdoor

Date: Wednesday, May 5

Time: 10am

Click here to register>>>


Partners of the Future of Media online conference series include Vodacom, EziAds, Primedia Outdoor, The MediaShop, TILT, Wan-Ifra, The FM Redzone and The Media Online.