Goldfish used to be the laughingstock of the animal kingdom for their short memory. Sure, pandas appear particularly dead set on driving their species to extinction one fall from a bamboo tree at a time - but they're cute and internet users love physical comedy, so pandas get the benefit of the doubt.
Goldfish, though, don't have so much going for them. When you have a nine-second memory, you tend to roll with the —
But wait! A challenger appears!
Never one to back down, humankind has now achieved a new world record: the eight-second attention span. In a study supported by Microsoft, researchers found through surveys and brain activity analysis that the average person's attention span has declined from 12 seconds in 2000 - largely thanks to multitasking and flitting between different screens and devices.
"Heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they're more easily distracted by multiple streams of media," the report read, according to Time.
While technology has granted the world incredible advances and opportunities, it has not come without a toll: what giveth will taketh. And in the omnichannel age, brands must confront the reality of the average attention span and strategize for ways to ensure they present a united front across all screens and devices their customers are active on.
Why attention span matters to brands
This is not to take pot shots at the human species (rest assured, it needs no prodding to continue to excel), but to demonstrate the challenge brands face when capturing an online audience. There's little margin for error, in fact they're even tighter than the attention span brands have to work with: A study by Google found 53 percent of mobile site visits were abandoned if it took longer than three seconds for the page to load.
Brands face considerable head winds if they have a disconnected omnichannel presence. Without a consistent image and message, brands risk losing dissatisfied consumers who may read information from one retailer on a desktop site for research, only to attempt to buy from the same retailer, but on mobile, and have a difference experience. Inconsistent imaging and messaging between retailers alone is a headache, so the omnichannel levels further complicate the task.
Such scenarios play out daily (using different devices for different purchase-related actions, both intentionally and randomly). The path to purchasing is beset on all sides by every manner of screen that modern consumers are affixed to: smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet, smart TV, the TV in their fridge... The small window brands have to interact with buyers is do-or-die.
What brands can do about it
Optimizing your presence across channels is an expansive job, but every small step that helps bring this about is worth considering. Though there are overarching factors like your own platform technology, seemingly mundane things that can fly under the radar, like uniform product descriptions, matter just as much to a consistent omnichannel presence. Having the same information available across sellers and channels is critical to facilitating a painless purchasing process.
Yet even when brands take the time and effort to craft highly specific descriptions, retailers have been known from time to time to take liberties, either altering or replacing them. An omnichannel presence is a chain, only as strong as its weakest link; and if one retailer goes off the rails, the entire balance can be thrown off and divert what could have been a purchase. The focus on minutiae can be exhausting for brands that have only so much time and so many resources, but the need for monitoring product descriptions to deliver on omnichannel expectations is real.
How Brand Monitor can help
PriceSpider understands the challenge brands face, which is why we offer Brand Monitor as a means to take control of the situation. Brands can effect greater omnichannel unity by using the solution as a one-stop shop for all things to do with your product listings and descriptions, instructions that can be locked in and communicated to all sellers.
Give humans some credit, even if they have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, they don't take purchase decision-making lightly.