I’ve just seen stats that the average human attention span is now just eight seconds. (Source: US National Center for Biotechnology Information)

That’s apparently shorter than a goldfish’s attention span of 9 seconds!

(Interestingly, this is very different from the memory of a gold fish, where three seconds is apparently a myth. It was recently reported that goldfish can actually remember up to 12 days. But I digress.)

The human attention figure was reported as 12 seconds in 2000 – so that’s a dramatic 33% decline in just 14 years.

Here are some other stats that fit the same picture. On average, people read only 20% of the words on a web page (from a study of 59,000 page views).

For each additional 100 words on any web page, it found people will spend only another 4.4 seconds. Even at a swift reading speed of 250 words per minute, that means they only read 18 of them.

The trend isn’t a big surprise – even if the absolute numbers sound alarming. We’re bombarded with so much information in this frenetic, multimedia world. We flit from one activity to another: another study discovered the average office worker checks her email 30 times an hour.

All this is bound to take its toll on our concentration levels – and the implications for marketing and communications are clear.

Don’t mess around.

Be concise.

Be engaging.

This applies however you’re communicating – whether you’re creating a brochure, giving a radio interview, presenting to a prospect or chatting at a networking event.

It applies particularly in online channels, where our ‘flitty’ behaviour is at its peak.

Get your message across.


And fast.

Enough said.


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