Humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish

Humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish

How long is the average human attention span? It’s an interesting topic, and—oh look, it’s a squirrel! Ahem, sorry I got distracted there. I was going to say that research compares us to goldfish.

According to a study in the year 2000, humans had an attention span of 12 seconds—only 33% longer than a goldfish at 9 seconds. But that was over 18 years ago. Recently, Microsoft discovered that the average person’s attention span is now less than a goldfish at a mere 8 seconds.

Source: Attention Spans by Microsoft

With the proliferation of smartphones, Wi-Fi and mobile data, and quick form messaging apps like Snapchat, it’s no surprise that people now have a short attention span. They can access content almost anywhere and at anytime.

As a marketer vying for your customers’ attention, it’s a double-edged sword. It can be easy to get their attention and just as easy to lose it. So if you had 8 seconds to convince your customers to take action, how would you go about it? SMS is an excellent option, and here’s why:

Quick and efficient

SMS is straight to the point. Each message only has 160 characters, which means it takes most people less than a few seconds to read. SMS also doesn’t require Wi-fi or mobile data connection, unlike other popular chat applications like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Try to only go over 160 characters if you need to otherwise your content will be split into multiple text messages for your recipients. For help figuring out how long your message should be, try out our SMS Character Counter tool for reference.

Make sure your text messages are clear, personal, relevant, and have a clear call-to-action. If your offer is good enough, your customers will take action, and it will help boost your bottom line.

Quick set-up

Take advantage of the quick set-up time SMS offers.

In a recent client survey, our participating respondents felt that on average it took significantly longer to set up Facebook and Google Ad campaigns in comparison to SMS ones. Over half or 52.6% of the respondents said that it took them under 10 minutes to set up their SMS Marketing campaigns.

We suggest you take the time you save to optimise your copy. You can take a look at our SMS templates for inspiration.

Source: State of SMS 2016-17 by Burst SMS

High Engagement Rate

When you receive an SMS message to your mobile device, you get a direct notification that will only go away once addressed. SMS is one of the best ways to communicate with your customers with a 98% open rate, and 90% of recipients opening them within 3 minutes of receiving.

If you’re curious as to how SMS marketing compares to email marketing we’ve wrote a blog post discussing both here.

Affordable and Effective

We’ve broke down how CPS (cost per send) / CPC (cost per click) and average CTR (click through rate) compares across multiple platforms. Here’s how SMS stacks up against the competition:

Average CPS/CPC Average CTR Average Cost per 10K CPS/CPC
SMS via Burst (CPS) $0.069 9.97% $690
Google Display Ads (CPC) $0.34 0.55% $3,400
Twitter (CPC) $0.40 1.33% $4,000
Facebook (CPC) $0.62 1.34% $6,200
Instagram (CPC) $0.81 0.62% $8,100
Google Search Ads (CPC) $1.39 2.65% $13,900
Bing Search Ads (CPC) $1.67 3.14% $16,700
YouTube (CPC) $2.37 0.34% $23,700
LinkedIn (CPC) $3.87 0.21% $38,700

So what do you think? Maybe our attention spans will be even shorter when the next study is conducted.

Last Updated: November 2019