Marlin PR | Is content marketing a waste of time and money?
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Is content marketing a waste of time and money?

Science of Attention - Prezi_1

Is content marketing a waste of time and money?

Zsofi Somlai, senior account manager

Our ever-decreasing attention spans are a hot topic for today’s media. The attention capacity of Generation Z (the generation following the ‘Millennials’, and anyone who was, or will be, born between the mid-1990s and mid-2020s) has apparently decreased to a mere eight seconds. That’s less than that of a goldfish (nine seconds).

Recently, our client Prezi set out to debunk this myth. Partnering with renowned cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Carmen Simon, we wanted to explore the human brain works and why this ‘shrinking attention span’ is misleading for businesses.
Science of Attention - Prezi_2
Dr. Simon explained that humans are perfectly capable of focusing their attention for long periods of time. If we weren’t, no one would be able to watch a movie, and Hollywood would swiftly go out of business. The trouble is that around the world, people have grown accustomed to excessive and near-constant stimulation. When they don’t get it, they’re likely to switch their attention to something that will provide it.

When it comes to creating and delivering branded content for marketing and sales, we must bear in mind that we have a limited chance of catching – and keeping – someone’s interest. But marketers and salespeople shouldn’t just be focusing on attention span. Effective content must also be memorable. There’s simply no point in investing money in branded content that nobody remembers. What you produce must be powerful and valuable enough to influence people while they’re making decisions about your products and services, and generate real returns.

Working with Prezi, we conducted a study in the UK that surveyed over 2,000 respondents to determine how attention and memory can impact our interactions with content, and how sales and marketing teams can increase its effectiveness.

Our research found that 80% of people can’t remember most of the information from branded content they’ve seen just three days prior, and half of people can’t recall a single detail after that amount of time.

The three most common reasons consumers forget content are:

  • Irrelevancy (55%)
  • Lack of motivation to remember it (35.7%)
  • The fact that there is simply too much content to retain (30%).

Surprisingly, distractions (18%) and stress (9%) were far less significant factors, meaning the primary reasons for forgetting relate to the content itself, rather than external factors.

It’s clear from these findings that content creators have quite a bit of work to do in order to develop assets that truly deliver a positive business impact.

If you want to learn more about what Prezi found with its research, have a look at the online Prezi presentation here