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  • Writer's pictureJeff Colucci

Advertising in a Short Attention Span Era


Bored businessman stares out window

There are studies that state the time we are willing to watch commercials, listen to them, or even read about a product is becoming less and less. These studies say that Gen Z’s attention span is in between 7-9 seconds for such ads. When the average commercial is 15 seconds, that equates roughly to a 50% waste on that creative serving that group. It’s getting tougher to reach consumers and depending upon their age and what channel your message is aired; you could be wasting your advertising dollars.


Every generation has had their own parenting moments where they made it seem like if we didn’t listen to them “we would be rotting our brains.” It’s funny, when TV and radio entered our homes, even the parents couldn’t stop watching and listening. Those same parents would then tell their children that the box they were watching was a waste of time, to go outside and play. Here we are today with social media, and we are multitasking like never before. We can watch a game, listen to music, and take a mid-term online while talking to a friend on our phones. All this noise causes a lack of attention and focus. The “Squirrel effect.” You’re probably asking what is the “Squirrel effect”? This means If I had a dollar for every time that I got distracted, “I wish I had a puppy.” LOL


With our attention spans dwindling, the need for some sort of “wow” factor to get our attention back and away from whatever else we have in front of us at the time will force creative agencies to target their advertising more than ever before. The audiences have become so broad and have more options, how is it possible to find them and if the marketers do, will the audience fall into Gen Z? If they do, they have seconds to “wow” them.


Moving into 2024 there will be much on the line for agencies and marketers and how they plan to overcome this lack of attention. How will a product stand out if the consumers are only capable of focusing for seven seconds on your messaging? Think about how long 7 seconds is and what would be needed to reach a customer and for them to engage and result in a purchase. To talk about your product, you won’t have the time. It will be all about a visual message, that’s all the time they will have to catch your eye and hope that consumers will remember what exactly they saw.


Because of this issue, more brands are moving into product placement and finding results. This means you could be watching your favorite show, and you might see a bottle of Coke and not think anything of it. This subtle type of advertising has been around for a long time, but really doesn’t feel the same to consumers. Moving more into this type of advertising may help keep consumers more engaged, as it will be a source of entertainment that was requested and not  forced fed. The one thing that doesn’t seem to change is the importance of the Logo. It will become even more important as consumers’ attention spans further decline because we always have multiple devices and products in front of us that occupy every moment of our day.

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