Best practice: digital content â holding consumer attention | DMA

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Best practice: digital content â holding consumer attention

It seems a bit of a paradox, but as the online world begins to expand, so our attention spans seem to be shrinking. Most business professionals appreciate that maintaining an online presence is very important in the current working environment, but holding the attention of potential customers or business partners with digital content is getting harder.

A recent article on The Guardian has detailed how some of the biggest online publishers are providing digital content with a twist in a bid to hold – and hopefully increase – consumer attention. Here are some of the most innovative approaches to digital content currently being put to good use:

Medium: indicates read time.

One thing online audiences often do is to begin an article, realise it’s actually quite long, estimate how much time it would take to read and then abandon a piece of content before reaching the end. Medium has decided to provide an estimated read time at the beginning of an article, giving readers the choice to continue reading, if they have time, or move onto a shorter article.

Aeon: provides a word count.

Aeon, on the other hand, has taken to simply providing the word count of a piece of content, to give readers an indication as to its length. If a reader decides that the article is too long for the time they have spare, there is also a ‘Read later’ option that will save the article for them.

Digiday: draws on the TLDR concept.

This is both an amusing and innovative answer to shrinking attention spans – Digiday has created a ‘Too long, didn’t read’ (TLDR) button to the side of its articles; if 500-700 word article is deemed too long to read by an individual, they can simply click the button to have it automatically cut down into a more digestible 50-75 word piece.

What do you make of these approaches? Do you think they will help to make the digital content of these brands more appealing to less attentive consumers?

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