To grab people’s attention is a very important issue for brands today. To live in a world increasingly more connected means that it’s growing increasingly more complicated to grab the attention of clients and potential clients. Connectivity has reached ubiquity; in fact, people’s attention periods are at minimum levels. It is said it’s about 8 seconds on average. Eight seconds! The battle to grab the attention is taking place online and it’s being fought with an army: contents. In order to conquer the attention of the consumer, we have to stop copying somebody else’s formulas and get into attack mode: adopting creativity and innovation as a norm, experiences as a means and customization as an end.
The fight for attention is, in fact, a battle to conquer people’s time, and this time means money, no more no less. It is said that attention is the new currency for brands. Attention=Time=Money. If today attention and time are worth the same as money, it’s clear then how important it is to generate powerful content online that is capable of winning people’s time and attention.
There has never been a better time than this to be a spectator, a reader, a listener or and observer of human creativity. An almost infinite flow of videos, books, music, films, games, applications and multimedia creations, multiplies in front of us. Each second something else pops up, something new. Each year, the volume is growing bigger and bigger and the assortment and the easiness to access it is improving as well.
But while consumers never had it better, those who up to now held the monopoly of the creation of contents are worried about the emergence of new models and competitors. The goal is to try to win the most valuable element: our scarce time to pay attention.
Technology’s invasive trend, specially internet, makes the screens that inhabit our daily lives scream for our attention from any part of the planet, even turning them into a highly addictive drug.
Since time is the only limited resource over which we have any control, we tend to “give away” each day all the time we have left, because we cannot keep it or save it. Even though people’s time and attention are finite, the demands on their attention and time are infinite. Currently there are millions and millions of hours of attention that are undervalued and unexploited. Let’s consider the number of hours people dedicate to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. These are just some examples of the big attention grabbers that have not been monetized –yet. Others, like Netflix, have. There’s no limit to the creative ways in which to grab people’s attention and there’s no end to the wealth it will create for the people that follow them.
The greater the capacity to attract, gather and grab the attention, the bigger the demand will be for a more interesting, intelligent and attractive way of investing our time amidst this super abundance. To develop attention-grabbing strategies to win this fascinating battle that is taking place, will require much more than enthusiasm, money and tools. It will also require a new behavioral action scope, one in which people live in real time and in which every second counts.
More than 150 million users are already streaming live video every month, and that figure is expected to grow three times by 2017. The interesting thing about this phenomenon is how these services capitalize on people’s desire to access “can’t–be-missed” moments in real time. Video offers the opportunity to align brand content to be streamed live. As a result, live streaming will continue to grow, encouraged mainly by music, sports, and to a lesser extent, politics. Entertainment, again, rules.
The most important message today is that the consumer has to realize how valuable his attention is for brands. He must not give it away nor waste it, but learn how to manage and direct it to show how valuable it is. If brands are interested in monetizing the attention (which is both legitimate and necessary), they will have to think about what they offer in exchange. Something that offers authentic value to the audience.
This new brand/audience relationship is starting to make people discover the value of their attention. And it’s also making brands fight for it without loosing sight of the most important thing: humanity.
In this expanding market that is taking shape little by little, the need to answer this question is starting to appear: what should I pay attention to?
Here is where the new “attention managers” will have to focus their work: a very hard and essential work for the survival of the new global entertainment machine.
What seemed to not be important before is important now. What seemed to not have value before has it now. We have to accept it : attention is the foundation of the new wealth in this digital economy.