Attention Economy.
Len Smofsky Aug 30 ,2019

It has been reported that humans have an attention span less than that of a goldfish. So, as a marketer, you only have a few seconds to capture and hold the attention of an audience.

As consumers we are constantly inundated with information, content, and products, and have therefore become more selective with what we choose to focus on.

Welcome to the attention economy.

It’s an important concept for brands and marketers to understand, but difficult to navigate. But not to worry – we are here to help. With the information below you will quickly learn tactics and skills needed in order to succeed in today’s attention economy.


The attention economy can be defined as:

“An approach to marketing that treats a person’s attention as a scarce resource that brands must work hard to acquire.”

Matthew Crawford, an American writer and research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture said that, “Attention is a resource – a person has only so much of it”.

Marketers are fighting for a sliver of people’s attention and thus focus their efforts on brevity and immediate impact.

The result? Customers are faced with millions of marketing messages, each fighting for a share of attention. And in response customers tune out anything and everything they find irrelevant or unengaging.


Some interesting findings on our attention span in relation to content engagement:

  • Attention spans have dropped from 12 seconds to 8.5 seconds between 2000 and 2015.
  • 5 seconds is less than the attention span of a goldfish (which has a 9-second attention span).
  • When visiting a web page, users will read at most 28% of the words and, on average, they will only read 20%.
  • The average web page visit lasts less than a minute and users typically leave in 10-20 seconds.
  • Video content, however, holds more attention with viewers watching 2.7 minutes of a video on average – significantly higher than text.

Some argue that attention spans haven’t really shrunk, but there’s no denying that people are tuning out excess information and content. That’s why we have tools such as ad blockers and junk folders. And why we spend half an hour trying to decide what to watch on Netflix. We simply have too many options and too many distractions vying for our attention.


Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired magazine,mentioned that modern consumer products cost next to nothing to reproduce. Competing brands can manufacture nearly identical products and churn out similar marketing messages. This is the main reason consumers are making a conscious effort to tune out the “noise”.

The same can be said of content. A brand’s success is highly dependent on the way it delivers its content or product and the experiences customers will have with it. The delivery and experience is what will command a consumer’s attention. Selling propositions alone won’t suffice.

But don’t worry. Kevin Kelley has developed a list of 8 intangibles for succeeding in the attention economy. Follow these and you’ll find success in standing out among all the noise.


  1. Immediacy – Available for immediate delivery.
  2. Personalization – Hyper-relevant and tailored for the individual.
  3. Interpretation – Provides support and guidance for an audience in a given topic area.
  4. Authenticity – Real and useful solutions to the audiences’ problems.
  5. Accessibility – Available wherever and whenever.
  6. Embodiment – Presented in the optimal format and channel.
  7. Patronage – Provides value that consumers would be willing to pay for it.
  8. Findability – Stands out from irrelevant content and appears on consumers’ “radar”.


We want to highlight a specific intangible that has become a modern marketing staple.

Customers are tuning out the cacophony of information, products, and content they’re exposed to on a daily basis. You need to find a way to stand out among the generic masses. Personalization is an easy and successful way to do so and is quickly becoming the new standard for content creators.

But how do you take it a step further?

Personalized video is an even more sophisticated approach to winning in the attention economy. Video holds consumers’ attention at a far higher rate than traditional written content. Humans are visual creatures by nature so the right use of imagery (mixed with audio) will garner more engagement than a standard text post.

When a video is personalized, the experience speaks solely to the individual recipient. Immediately, personalized video grabs attention in a 1-to-1 manner by being individually relevant and visually engaging.

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Whether you believe your attention span is less than your pet fish, the inevitable truth is that people only tune into what interests them. Consumers are getting more selective with how they spend their time – and rightfully so!

As a result, this attention economy is a challenge to navigate through. However, personalized video offers brands a competitive edge in the fight for consumers’ attention. And considering that most people are trying to disconnect from the vast array of information out there, earning that attention is necessary for a brand’s survival.

Work with BlueRush and our personalized video production platform, IndiVideo, to produce a video that connects with your customers on a deeper level using personalized auditory and visual elements.

About the author: Len Smofsky


Len has over 25 years of experience in visual communications and strategy. Over the last decade his focus has been primarily in the digital area.

Specializing in corporate communications, Len founded one of Canada’s most successful production companies. His company created leading edge video production, TV commercials, digital strategy and media.

In 2006, Len and Larry formed a partnership to create a new BlueRush with the intent of creating personalized customer experiences using a unique blend of digital media and deep technology capabilities. BlueRush works with clients in the financial services, healthcare and packaged goods industries leveraging current digital technologies and services, creating great user experiences at all points in the customer journey.


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