If I told a room full of marketers that website visitors have short attention spans, they’d probably all just say, “Duh.” But, I wonder how often we ponder exactly how short. We all know that today’s always-on, device laden and interconnected world offers plenty of shiny objects to distract your prospects from the message you are trying to share. But, the statistics are quite stunning nonetheless. When attention span data is examined, the need to provide a personalized experience for every website visitor emerges as a marketing imperative.
Statistics Brain has published data from a variety of sources including the Associated Press, the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It turns out our average attention span is less than that of a goldfish and it’s getting shorter. In 2001 the average attention span was 12 seconds. By 2013 it had shrunk to just 8 seconds. E-i-g-h-t seconds. In short, it’s a miracle you’ve read this far. Even so, you’ve likely skipped a few words because the research says that people only read 49% of the words on a page with fewer than 111 words and only 28% of the words on a page with the average number of words per page, 593. That’s right, you’ve agonized over 593 words to get the message just right and your visitor will only read 171.97 of them and – you don’t get to choose which ones.
You’ve spent a great deal of time and money enticing someone to visit your website. Once they are there, you have at most 8 seconds to convince them that they’ve come to the right place. This is no time to be subtle. You must lead with a compelling message that is relevant to your visitor and follow with a clear and enticing call to action. Because not all of your visitors consider the same messages relevant, a personalized experience is your best bet at grabbing their interest and persuading them to convert.
All is not lost, of course. People do read product and service websites and they do convert. But they do it at a much higher rate with the content, particularly the call-to-action, is targeted directly toward their interest. Personalization platforms make it easy to deliver distinct messages to different visitors. They can be segmented based on industry, role, past behavior, geography and even keyword used. When a personalized experience is provided, visitors instantly know that they’ve found something meaningful to them and are statistically more likely to engage further. One-size-fits-all works for …. (never mind, I can’t think of anything).
Your competitors (and at least 4.23 billion other websites) are only a click away. Are you prepared to bet your 8 seconds on a generic message?