What's Attention Marketing, & Should You Use It?

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template
Rebecca Riserbato
Rebecca Riserbato


Did you know that the cost of acquiring consumer attention has increased dramatically (seven- to nine-fold) in the past two decades?

It might not be surprising to hear, but overall our collective attention span has been narrowing.

You might be wondering, "What does this mean for marketers?"

As marketers, it's our job to attract people to our brand. We need to deliver almost magnetic-like messaging to grab our audience's attention. But when you only have seconds to do this, it might seem like an insurmountable task (hint: it's not, we have some ideas).

In this post, let's review what attention marketing is and how you can use it to grab your audience's attention.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template [Get Your Copy]

The term attention marketing was coined by Steve Jelley and popularized by Seth Godin, as a way to describe a business model that focuses on capturing users' attention through non-invasive content rather than interrupting users' attention with something like a pop-up ad. With attention marketing, once you have your audience's attention, you can then engage with and convince them to purchase your product or service when the opportunity presents itself.

Before this concept was introduced, around the beginning of social media, the marketing landscape looked a lot different. Brands would usually market themselves on a massive scale, using TV ads, billboards, or radio spots. This means that they weren't able to target individuals, but instead had to focus on appealing to a broader audience.

With social media, brands can now figure out what interests individual customers and then market to them individually. Ultimately, it's important to consider using attention marketing because you want your marketing assets to engage customers and pull them in.

Marketing Attention Span

Now that you're thinking about capturing your audience's attention instead of interrupting it, let's focus on some logistics. To start, you don't have as much time as you think.

Years ago, Microsoft reported that the average person's attention span was 8 seconds. A more recent study shows that our collective attention span is narrowing.

Essentially, you only have seconds to capture your audience's attention before they continue scrolling or click through to something else.

So, how should you capture your audience's attention? Let's go over some ideas below.

Marketing Attention Grabbers

1. Be platform-specific.

A great way to grab your audience's attention is for your content to show up natively in your audience's feed (if we're talking social media).

For example, if your video shows up as recommended on YouTube and they click the video and it's clearly in sync with what your title was and what they were expecting, then you'll probably be able to keep them watching.

But, if they click through and the content is a photo montage instead of a video (a vast difference from what they might expect), then you might lose them.

In that same vein, when brands repost content from Instagram on Twitter, instead of making a separate Twitter post, people are less likely to click on the link than if they were to see the post right on Twitter.

An important thing to remember here is that some users are on mobile and some on desktop. Think about how you can design your website or content for those platforms specifically, so it's easier for the consumer to interact with your content.

2. Write super clear messaging.

When people can immediately tell what your value proposition is, it will hold their attention longer. It might seem simple, but review your marketing assets and ask yourself, "Is my value proposition clear for my audience? Can they tell within seconds the value we can provide?"

If so, that will hold people's attention longer because if they clearly see the value in what you offer, then they'll want to look further into your brand. Your messaging should be clear, concise, and written specifically for your target audience.

3. Use integrated media.

Integrated media, or a multichannel and multimedia approach to marketing, will help grab your audience's attention.

This means that you use several forms of media, including video, images, podcasting, GIFs, memes, etc. Different types of media on different platforms will help you figure out what your audience likes and dislikes.

Your overall marketing strategy should also include interactive media as well. In fact, 81 percent of marketers say that interactive content is more effective than static content when it comes to grabbing consumers' attention.

Ultimately, it's important to play around with your media content -- both the type of assets you create and the channels that you use to distribute it.

4. Tell a story.

People love a story. They love watching TV, reading books, or listening to a podcast. If you can capture your audience with a good story, then it'll be easier to market to them.

To do this, you can start off your videos, blogs, or Facebook ads, with a storytelling hook. Once you've got your audience's attention, then you can proceed to engage and delight them.

5. Consider emotional marketing.

Have you ever heard of emotional marketing?

This is the concept that your marketing assets should primarily use emotion to grab your audience's attention. By tapping into a singular emotion, your audience will naturally have a response to your content. And isn't the goal to get your audience to respond in some way?

6. Don't forget about co-marketing.

Co-marketing is when you use brand partnerships and collaborations to grow your audience. It's the process of working with another brand and sharing expertise and value with each other's audiences.

In that same vein, you can also work with influencers. 51% of marketers believe that they can acquire better customers with influencer marketing.

By using influencers, or working with other brands, you can tap into their audience -- which is usually large and engaged -- to market your product or service and grab your audience's attention.

7. Have a good website.

One of your greatest marketing assets is your website. It should be engaging, have a great user interface, and be built with user experience in mind.

If your homepage on your website can grab your audience's attention within seconds, then you've done it right.

Attention marketing isn't just about creating viral content like the name might imply. It's about truly creating content that will grab your audience's attention and keep it in the long run.

New Call-to-action

Related Articles

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

    Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform