Ways Online Businesses Can Optimize For A Decreasing Attention Span

Published by BMT Micro on

Holding consumers’ attention in the digital world is a challenging task, especially for online businesses. In fact, the increasing prominence of social media and heightened internet use has made it difficult for us to stay focused. According to Microsoft Corporation, the average attention span has shrunk from about twelve seconds to just eight in more than a decade.

We are consuming information faster but less thoroughly as soon as we go online. Researchers from Microsoft suggest that changes in attention span could be due to the brain adapting to evolving technology. While this statistic about attention span has been talked about (and disputed), the facts show that the user experience and quality of content has a critical impact on how long a customer engages with your product, web page, blog post or advertisement.

Even if research suggest you only have eight seconds to attract, engage and inform your customers and prospects, the following are three simple ways you can optimize your online business to capture a person’s attention:

Too many distractions-worthy elements like hyperlinks, buttons, or alternate pathways provide too many options for visitors to leave the process you want them to go through. Your website needs to be designed to deliver a clear, direct and singular message. Visitors should see why they should do business with you and the benefit of it. Proper formatting and appropriate typography can also go a long way towards ensuring the most important parts of your copy stand out and are actually read by potential customers.

Test Headlines and Call-to-Actions
It’s important to have a clear headline with a unique value proposition. Well thought out headlines can increase conversion rates and even time spent on a webpage. An effective call-to-action also makes it incredibly easy for your visitors to make the choice to move forward in their relationship with your brand and convert into customers. In other words, if the first sentence does not stop them, they won’t read the second and get to “Buy Now.”

Avoid Long Load Times
Your site’s load time is crucial if you want to capture any of your website visitors’ attention. A 100-millisecond delay in load time can actually result in a 7% loss in conversion. Long load times also increase bounce rates, lower rankings and are frustrating to your site visitors. But, sites that load within five seconds see an increase of 70% in average sessions times.


  • De-clutter: What are the reasons customers should buy from you? Find what those are and make them clear.
  • Test Headlines and Call-to-Actions: Test different approaches to see what resonates most with your visitors and continue to improve.
  • Avoid Long Load Times: Increasing your website speed will increase traffic, social engagement and, most importantly, conversions.

While the abundance of technology seems to be hurting attention spans overall, it also appears to improve consumers ability to both multitask and prioritize. With only eight seconds to capture a person’s attention, content and messages need to be instantly understood, relevant and interesting. This can mean the difference between capturing attention and closing a sale or losing attention and missing an opportunity.

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