Goldfish_iPhoneDid you know that the average online user attention span is only 8 seconds long? By comparison, the average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. Unless you make fish food, your audience isn’t goldfish. Sadly, goldfish fins are not ideal for navigating a website so you’re still relying on goldfish owners.

As prior research shows, roughly 18% of viewers drop-off within the first 30 seconds. Most of those are likely within the first 8 seconds. Don’t panic. This is the average. You’re planning to create above average content right? Right. That’s why you’re here.

Here are three tips to keep in mind to keep that audience engaged as long as possible:

Tell a story

Nothing grabs a viewer’s attention more than seeing something out of the ordinary. Make the “hook” in your story unique and people will pay attention. A viewer’s mind will naturally begin to look for answers which will get them invested in your video and how the story resolves.

Be clever (but don’t be cute)

Similar to writing a blog post, when you write a script you want to grab people’s attention quickly. Part of that is the story but the other part is a clever hook. You want to arouse curiosity and keep them engaged in those first few seconds. This is where you really let that creativity bubble to the top and come up with something that engages your audience.  I say don’t be cute because while you want to tell a story, you also don’t have very long, don’t forget about that short attention span. Cats playing synthesizers are only a click away so keep them engaged, pique their curiosity and get them to your call-to-action quickly. Which brings me to…

Keep it short

Seriously short. The less the viewer is familiar with your brand, the shorter their attention span will be for watching your video. If some one clicks to watch your business video they want one question answered,”What’s in it for me?” Will your product or service help them? Speak to that. If you can’t answer that very simple question quickly…they are gone. I know you are proud of your product or service. You should be! But as much as you may be tempted to cram everything into one video, viewers are going to get bored or distracted and eventually move on. A more engaged viewer who is closer to the point of purchase or has already purchased has a longer attention span but for introductions edit your content and then when you think you’ve trimmed enough, trim some more. Break all that content you wanted to cram into one video into a series of short, snackable video content. These will help guide the viewer through your sales cycle.

To go back to our goldfish metaphor, it’s OK if some goldfish swim away. It’s natural. Not every goldfish is going to be interested in what you are trying to say. But those that are interested you want to keep engaged and entertained until they decide to stay in your pond.


Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts