How's your attention span? Can you pay attention for more than 10 seconds? Studies are saying...not so much. Our attention span seems to be shrinking, from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2012. PLUS, 17% of internet page views last less than 4 seconds. Words, it seems, give us the most problems. One study found the average adult will focus for just 2.8 seconds - enough time to read approximately 140 characters. Maybe we can blame Twitter's 140 character limit for that one... Either way, the implications are clear: marketers need to produce content that is more quickly consumed and more engaging than ever. It's time for snackable content.
What Is Snackable Content?
Typical web content is text - blogs, articles, web pages...commitment. The new web content is short - bullet points, images, infographics...easy. Brad Cohen, Director of Strategy at JESS3, defines snackable content as, "Bite sized nuggets of content that are easy to consume, sometimes they're images or image-based, whose meaning can be grasped quickly, and often create deeper meaning by referencing shared experience or shared stories. And essentially it's faster than reading an explanation of the same information."
So snackable content speaks directly to our apparently ever-shrinking attention span. It's more meaningful and engaging to viewers than advertising. It gives them something to respond to, interact with, and share. It seems like a tall order for something that's supposed to be tiny.
How to Transform Existing Content into Something Snackable
1. Turn text into a video.
Because it combines visuals and audio, video is highly digestible by audiences... which also makes it easier to share and harder to ignore. Because video is frequently shared on a social site, like Facebook or YouTube, it also invites comments, responses, and user participation. The best video productions are short, high quality pieces that cause a reaction. Make something your customers, prospects, and audience will like; don't worry about going viral.
The advent of ultra-short video sharing apps like Viddy and Vine might just make video the most snackable medium ever.
2. Add An Infographic
If you're writing about data or processes, a visualization might be the best way to get your point across. Try creating an infographic that shows the information in a way that complements your written content.
3. Get Interactive
Some of the most memorable web content are the things that hold our attention because we can use them. Let's think about some memorable Google Doodles: The Les Paul Guitar, Pac Man Game, and the series of doodles during the 2012 Olympics all come to mind. They're all super short activities that really engage people. They get shared on social media and even make headlines. Maybe your own interactive content is the way to go - a short virtual tour might be the way to go. Even a Prezi can help you get interactive.
4. Share More Images
So one time, I did an experiment. On the Holdcom Facebook page, I shared the same blog post twice. Once, I just included a brief description and a link to the article, using Facebook's like preview. In the other, I posted the image that I used for the blog post, which included the post title, and a link to the post in the description. The results? The link-only post was seen by less than half of our total fans. None of them shared or liked it. The image post was seen by more than 5 times our fan base, and had much higher engagement and sharing frequency.
The truth is, people might not want to read your words, but if you sum it up in a visually appealing picture, they're likely to engage with that.
So, still here? How's your attention span feeling? Are you looking for something a little more snackable? Check out this SXSW presentation about "The Future of Snackable Content" from JESS3: