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The Human Attention Span [INFOGRAPHIC]

Last updated on 25th September 2023

Feeling like you can’t concentrate for more than a few seconds these days? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Turns out, humans are now officially worse at focusing than a goldfish. Yep, you heard that right – our aquatic pals are leaving us in their slipstream when it comes to paying attention.

Research has shown that between 2000 and 2015, our attention spans shrank by a whopping 25%. That’s like going from being able to binge-watch an entire season of Friends to struggling to get through a single episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Sad, but true.

Check out the infographic below to get all the juicy deets on our flimsy attention spans.

And if you manage to make it to the end without getting distracted by your phone, your email, your cat, your neighbour’s dog, or that weird stain on your shirt, give yourself a round of applause! You’re officially a focus superstar!

Attention span facts (in case you missed ’em…)

All data sources can be found at the bottom of the infographic.

  • According to research, our attention span has markedly decreased in just 15 years. In 2000, it was 12 seconds. Now, 15 years later, it’s shrunk significantly to 8.25 seconds.
  • In fact, scientists reckon we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish, who are able to focus on a task or object for 9 seconds.
  • That means – as marketers – we’re all trying to sell to goldfish. No wonder it sometimes feels difficult!
  • Human beings are very, very forgetful…25% of teens forget major details of close friends and relatives. 7% of people forget their own birthday from time to time, and studies suggest that each week, 39% of Americans will forget one basic piece of information or lose one every day item.
  • Oh, and by the way, we’re also easily distracted! An average office worker will check their email inbox 30 times every hour (yup…every two minutes…wow) and will pick up their phones more than 1,500 times per week amounting to 3 hours and 16 minutes a day.
  • What about when we’re browsing online? Similar story, I’m afraid. On the average web page, users will read at most 28% of the words during a visit, with 20% a more likely expectation. The average page visit lasts less than a minute and users often leave web pages in just 10-20 seconds.
  • The good news is that there are still ways to hold attention. Nielsen research suggests that pages with a clear value proposition are able to hold people’s attention for much longer.
  • Our top tips are pretty simple – be clear in your messaging. Focus on UX and ease of navigation. Keep your messaging short and sweet. Appeal to consumer desires – tell stories. Oh, and use video.
  • Yeah, video is sweet. Some of the attention span stats above are pretty bleak but did you know that the average viewed length of a single internet video is 2.7 minutes? And that 59% of senior executives would prefer to watch video than read text where both were available? We’re biased but the data definitely fits what we’ve been saying – video is a great way to override the shrinking attention span of the human goldfish!
Published by
Adam Hayes

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