As our smartphones become smarter and search engines become faster, it’s not surprising that our attention span has gotten a little short over the years.
According to a 2015 Microsoft study, the average human attention span lasts only 8 seconds. To give this some context, the study also mentions that a goldfish can hold its attention for about 9 seconds. (If it lives that long. Burn!)
In advertising, we’re told to make content that’s quick and easy or else people get bored—they change the channel, flip the page, fall asleep, watch a cat video, etc. Even though long form is where it all began. Back in the day, advertisers created stories that were seamlessly tied to your brand through original TV, radio, and full-page copy ads. And people (not goldfish) were able to pay attention.
But despite shortened attention spans in recent years, the trend has been coming back in a big way (unfortunately, so have man buns and Birkenstocks.) Brands are creating long form content that lasts as long as 20 minutes!
Sure, it’s usually a bigger investment. And of course, we’re relying on a real commitment from the viewer to stay engaged all the way through. But it can be worth it! ‘Cause if the content is funny, smart, or engaging enough, your brand is more likely to establish an identity for itself. And viewers are more likely to share/talk about you—even more so than with traditional content. It’s like the rule of dating: the more time you spend with someone, the better chance you have to wear them down.
So remember, even in the age of Vine-Meme-GIFs, sometimes more is actually more. To prove it, here are a few favorite long-form-content-making brands. Enjoy.