Attention pays

April 24, 2019 by in News

The author of this article is Kim Lahey, writer for Indigo Gold.

Are cute cat videos stealing your customer’s attention?

Attention is akin to a bucket of water.  A resource we draw on as needed, but each cupful leaves less for other purposes.

Yet businesses don’t tend to think of attention as a precious or earned commodity. They either take attention for granted, or assume they deserve it – based on what they do or what they offer, digital analyst Brian Solis says.

In the digital space, attention is a currency. We earn it. We spend it.” 

Let’s take a look at how consumers ‘spend’ their attention, so you can enlist attention-economics to take on those feline thieves.

When you add up work-and-play, the average Australian adult spends five-and-a-half hours daily on the internet. One-and-a-half of those hours are spent on social media, according to the ‘2018 Digital Report – Australia’ from And a record 69 percent of our Aussie population are now active social-media users.

Social-video is the new TV. Videos posted on social media influence consumer-buying more than ever before, and the average consumer watches six hours of social-video weekly. Nearly half of those viewers have bought something after watching a branded-video on social media, according to MediaPost Magazine. 

You’re probably not surprised to hear that the most successful videos on Youtube are instructional/how-to videos, while on Facebook, users are most likely to like, share and comment on social-video.

Make the most of micro-moments

Any time a consumer jumps on a device to look something up, buy something, or go somewhere, that’s a micro-moment.   Google coined the term to reflect the shift to mobile content-consumption, which has now reached a penetration level of 78 percent of our Aussie population.

Immediacy, relevance and convenience are what consumers prioritise in these micro-moments.  They may search your brand directly for something specific. Or they may do broader searches that capture optimised web-pages, content, and social-media posts.

One simple kick-off point – to capitalise on those few precious moments of attention − is to hone in on your home page. Switch the focus away from you, to address the problem of your ideal-client. This will give you a far better chance to emotionally connect and position your business as the best answer.

Take a look at your Call To Actions too. Powerful CTAs are paramount as they lead your traffic to your email or products better than ever. But 70 percent of small businesses don’t leverage CTAs on their online platforms.

Organic reach’s muscle-power is waning, but insightful content still helps you rank higher. Content filled with real-life evidence and original insights. It’s the relevant, relatable, interesting, entertaining and informative content that garners attention on a day-to-day basis.

The long and the short of earning attention

Businesses have to become “more interesting” in order for people to engage with their content and help them stay on top of their feeds, says Geoff Desreumaux, the Editor-in-Chief of We Are Social Media.

To become “really good” at capturing your target-customers’ attention, you need to know the types of attention – immediate, short-term or long-term − your business should aim to attract, he says.

Immediate attention is linked to our subconscious, our instinct, so it’s very easy to capture, he explains.  “Someone shouts, we look.”

Short-term attention is about our ability to consciously focus on something we deem worthy of our attention. But it only lasts until something else triggers us again.  

Long-term attention is developed via repetition. It is the opposite of quick-wins as it’s about building enduring interest that will help trigger short-term attention over and over again.

All three types of attention matter because one leads to another. But “long-term attention is obviously the one you want to capture because it’s the one that will lead to people looking-out for your content and will create the most engagement in the long term,” Desreumaux says.

Context shapes content

As businesses within the Attention Economy, it’s through context that we can earn attention and ultimately relevance. Consumers will always seek specific, personal advice tailored for them − real advice and real stories from real people − over generic content. 

Context helps us to shape our content, our story and our value proposition, Brian Solis explains.  We need to reflect on who we’re trying to reach and how they’ll consume the info.  “What’s important to them? What are their emotional and sharing triggers?” 

As consumers in the Attention Economy, we have extraordinarily-rich sources of info at our fingertips. As well as cute animal videos…  And we have wide scope to vote with our voices, our values and our social-media shares.

As Norwegian poet Mary Oliver said;

“Pay Attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”