Exploding Hamsters! Volcanoes in Manhattan! Juggling Babies!

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago AdvertisingDag it’s tough to get noticed any more.  Back when there were only three channels, you watched whatever was on whenever you watched.  Want to see “Wizard of Oz”?  Sorry kid, you gotta wait a year…  But in today’s world of infinite distraction–these hyper-documented, endlessly updated, exhaustively posted, multi-channel, multi-platform times when more people are spending more time watching more content than ever before in human history– you can’t assume an audience.  Because even when viewers are in front of a TV, you can’t be entirely sure they are absorbing your message.  They could be on their mobile texting oron their laptop updating Facebook.  Attention shifts like quicksilver in this age of the imMedia.

And if you think that’s bad, you’re gonna hate this:

An unprecedentedly-comprehensive new study from Visible Measures shows a 20% drop off in the first ten seconds of watching any online video.

That’s 20%: one in five…lost in less than ten seconds.  And it goes downhill from there.  Fully a third of all viewers leaves in the first thirty seconds and nearly half by the end of the first minute.  Worse, these defections aren’t predicated on the length of the clip; the numbers hold whether the video is thirty seconds or two minutes long.

This was not a tiny sample with a few pieces of stimulus: Visible Measures tabulated seven billion video views of forty million unique video clips (7,000,000,000 of 40,000,000).  Technically speaking, that’s a boatload.

All of which proves today’s challenge when creating marketing materials isn’t merely hewing to a strategy and buying strong media, it’s earning attention.  We can demand all we want, but when sports, jokes, and porn are mere clicks away, introducing a remarkable new breath freshener with the news that it works nearly fifty percent better than the competition won’t engage an audience with the attention span of tree frogs.

This can be a particularly painful truth for clients to recognize and value; their careers, their livelihoods, their kids’ college funds depend on these products.  To them, this news is vital.

But to the rest of the world, it is about as fascinating as watching a neighbor’s vacation slides.  And as soon as they feel bored, they’ll click on to the next bit.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


One thought on “Exploding Hamsters! Volcanoes in Manhattan! Juggling Babies!

  1. mark says:

    I quickly skimmed your post. I’ll wait for a synopsis of it on CNN Headline News, or during the Top Plays segment of SportsCenter or in the elevator when I can get 15 seconds of news or in the Digest section of USA Today.

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