The Science Behind Capturing Your Audience’s Attention

by • March 23, 2016 • Experts TalkComments Off on The Science Behind Capturing Your Audience’s Attention4453

Social media is victim of its own success. Everyone is already there: you, me, our friends, our families, our colleagues, but also all the brands we love and like a little less. Everyone.

So, how can we still hope to be heard? How can we ensure a maximum of users see our brand messages, or that our friends engage with our updates? Well, we need to capture their attention.

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Attention is a complex thing, it is made out of three different levels. Immediate attention (also known as fundamental attention), short attention and long term attention.

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1. Immediate Attention

Immediate attention is at the core of our very own survival. It is made out of subconscious elements that form what we call our “instinct.” It is very easy to capture: someone shouts, we look in that direction, if something move, again, we tend to immediately focus on it.

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This is why GIFs are doing so well on Facebook for example.

2. Short Attention

Short attention is the next stage. It is about our ability to focus on something we judge worthy of our attention. Short attention is when we move from a subconscious state to a conscious one, when we decide to allocate our brain resources to something.

Short attention does not necessarily have to be “short” in time. It could last 3 minutes when watching a video on YouTube, it could be 10 minutes when reading a blog article (like this one for example) or even one hour and a half when watching a captivating movie.

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What really characterises short attention, is that it only exists until something else comes to distract us and makes us consciously choose to focus our attention elsewhere.

3. Long Term Attention

Long term attention is acquired via repetition. It is a state of expectation. Long term attention is deeply linked to what we know, to what we have experienced time and time again. In fact, Long-term attention is the opposite of quick wins, it’s about building long term interest that will help trigger short attention over and over again.

Long term attention is born through repeat exposition to a brand, to a person or a specific interest.

It’s the reason why pop stars get attention every time they release a new track, or why Kim Kardashian breaks the Internet. But it also is the reason why a video suddenly seems to go viral out of nowhere. Believe me, it is not out of nowhere, it is because the specific brand or context had our long term attention long before the video was published.

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Capturing Attention: The 7 Triggers

Now that we have established that, I have to tell you: people are not good at paying attention. And you are not the only one trying to capture their attention, on social media or elsewhere for that matter, so you will have to work for it.

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Lucky for us, there are ways to do it. In fact, there are 7 known triggers to help you capture your audience’s attention.

They are: automaticity, framing, disruption, reward, reputation, mystery and acknowledgement.

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Read Next: 7 Triggers To Capture Attention On Social Media And In Everyday Life


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