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The "Break" in Digital Marketing

By, Lindsay Houston

25th June, 2024

In today’s fast-paced, social media-centric world, capturing and retaining consumer attention has become one of the most significant challenges in marketing. As time progresses, people’s attention becomes harder and harder to catch, and while social media is an invaluable tool, it has also added a layer of complexity to marketing efforts. The average person’s attention span is not necessarily shorter, but there is a shift due to the amount of digital and print media we consume. Of all the components necessary for a successful social media marketing campaign, one continually stands out to me- conciseness. Here I will delve into the art of capturing modern attention spans that help marketing efforts resonate in an era where every second counts. If you only have 7-8 seconds to make an impression, what are the best ways to catch your market’s attention?

As the digital landscape evolves, social media has become a double-edged sword for marketers. On one edge, it provides extensive access to consumers; on the other, it can overwhelm users with an endless flow of information and purchasing options. Many social media platforms employ an ‘endless scroll’ format that can quickly result in a feeling of information overload. The algorithms used by these platforms then recommend personalized content- which can lead to a shortened attention span and a sense of not being able to keep up. This creates a loop wherein users prefer short, engaging content that can be quickly consumed and easily understood. Many of us want the value of information without waiting >10 minutes to obtain it. The rise of social media has not necessarily ruined our capability to focus, but has altered how many people seek knowledge.

This complex social media attention span presents marketers with an interesting opportunity to adapt our strategies. Depending on the target demographic, traditional in-depth campaigns may be inefficient. When dealing with an audience that tends to value brevity over wordiness, shorter and straight-to-the-point campaigns, and marketing efforts often pay off well. Take one of my favorite ads I’ve recently come across for example. In 2023, General Insurance launched a campaign called “The Break”. It consisted of a mini rebrand, with an updated General character design and 4 new ad spots that were all centered around giving the audience a break from both overpriced insurance and the general stress of life. These ads were only a few seconds long, which felt like a refreshing break from the 60-90-second ads I’m used to coming across on platforms like YouTube.

“The Break” is a prime example of how marketers can take advantage of the negative aspects of information overload, and leverage brevity to connect with audiences in a space where attention is often a scarce commodity. Marketers should consider using similar, condensed yet humorous formats when their target audience has a heavy social media presence. Recognizing this shift in attention spans on social media is essential in breaking through the advertising noise and information overload that so many people face each day.





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