Attention is one of the scarcest resources of our time. I’m convinced that this is true after seeing my kids glued to their smartphones at the dinner table this week. Traditionally, dinner time in our home is family time when we catch up on our day. Now it seems our kids prefer to stay social by connecting to each other and their friends by sharing funny things on YouTube.

How we pay attention and what we pay attention to is constantly changing and keeping up is becoming a full time job. As a parent, I’ve learned that if you want your kids to remember what you’ve said, just send them a text. It’s more complicated when it comes to business and brands. From visual first to non-linear to voice, how do you actually grab and hold onto people’s attention? Here’s what we’ve learned at circus.

1. Stop interrupting. Start entertaining.

It’s a myth that people don’t like advertising. Tune into the Super Bowl on any given year and you’ll see people enjoying the ads, sharing them with friends and watching them over again. Unfortunately, too much of today’s advertising tries to grab our attention and interrupts us, rather than serve up something that’s worth paying attention to. While most us of don’t have Super Bowl sized budgets, we can create advertising that’s relevant and that resonates. It all starts with a good idea.

2. Respect your audience. Know their interests.

If you don’t know your audience then you don’t deserve their attention or their business. I recently learned that the average person today has an attention span that is shorter than a goldfish. Shocking, isn’t it? We have just 8 seconds. Take the time to get to know your customer segments and learn what they’re interested in and what they care about. The best way to achieve a healthy CTR is to create content that connects. When you do, your personalized messages will go farther and faster.

We instinctively pay more attention to movement, especially if the movement is close to us.

3. Actually be social on social media.

As humans, we’re naturally drawn to sharing information with others, but a lot of what we see is hardly worth talking about, let alone sharing. If you want to stop users from scrolling by, start being social on social media. Does your content spark a conversation? We counsel our clients to act less like a business and more like a friend or colleague you’d follow online.

4. Know your limit. Advertise within it.

Even the most interesting and relevant messages can get old very quickly. According to Ad Age, users will tune out marketing messages after about a month — earlier if they’re exposed to them more frequently in the first few weeks of a campaign. This means it’s extremely important to track ad frequency and optimize to ensure that you’re not over-serving your ads and fatiguing your audience.

5. Draw the 👀 with movement.

We instinctively pay more attention to movement, especially if the movement is close to us. Studies have found that although televisions have a clear size advantage, the fact that mobile phones are viewed at a closer range means that people have stronger emotional reactions and higher levels of cognitive engagement when watching mobile video. Still don’t believe me? Just ask my kids.

Are you ready to put these tips to the test? Give us a call.

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More interesting things will stand out to us against other busy signs.