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Can You Focus Like a Goldfish? How Snapchat Capitalizes on Our Shortened Attention Spans


Did you know that the average goldfish can focus a second longer than the average human? In a 2015 study conducted by Microsoft, it was determined that the average human adult now has an attention span of eight seconds, compared to the goldfish, whose attention span averages nine seconds. This could be a key factor in explaining Snapchat's meteoric rise--surpassing Twitter-- for the number of daily users this summer. While this may be disconcerting news to some professionals, such as school teachers, it does have important implications for marketers.

Gaining a consumer's attention is one of the fundamental pieces in the marketing puzzle. To attain this puzzle piece, Microsoft recommends being clear, personal, relevant, and to (quickly) get to the point. Snapchat can be a useful tool in supporting these efforts.

The maximum length a Snapchat is ten seconds. Marketers are forced to trim their message to match our newly truncated attention spans. Due to the temporary nature of the app, the content on Snapchat is constantly changing., For marketers to stay relevant and engaging, their messages need to be “in the moment.”

Here are a few practical applications for marketers who want to use Snapchat

  • Provide exclusive “behind-the-scenes” footage to give your audience a look at an event or process they wouldn't normally get to see
  • Offer a contest or giveaways to capitalize on the interactive nature of the app. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is a great example of a company utilizing Snapchat for this purpose with weekly ticket giveaways and other contests
  • Deliver private content, or give your audience a preview of products coming up for release or of special events

Snapchat can be overwhelming for first-time users, but once you develop an understanding of what it can do, it can be a useful instrument in the ever-growing field of real time marketing.

Emily Kent Headshot
by Emily Kent
Emily is the Marketing Manager for LyncServe. After years in the experiential marketing world, Emily could not resist the pull of digital marketing any longer and dove head first into LyncServe's growing portfolio. She hasn't looked back since.
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