Average Human Attention Span Is Just 8 Seconds! Can It Hurt Your Content Marketing Efforts?

The average human attention span is 8 seconds – 1 second less than a goldfish.

Has it ever happened to you that you have to do something but after a few seconds you forget to do it?

If yes, you’re not alone.

In today’s digital age, where people use their phones for an average of 5 to 6 hours a day, the human attention span has become much shorter and we have become forgetful a lot. Browsing the internet, social media, and other stuff has become part of people’s daily routine. Their mind remains loaded with content and information, making it harder for them to remember the content.

No wonder, creating attention-grabbing and memorable content can be overwhelming for content marketers.

Let’s better understand human attention span, and figure out how to create content that stands out and holds people’s attention.

The average human attention span is 8 seconds – 1 second less than a goldfish.

According to the Attention Span Research by Microsoft Canada, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish. That’s right, goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds – 1 second more than us.

Attention span is the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals. It’s no surprise attention spans have been decreasing over the past decade with the increase in external stimulation.

The research states that “Consumers’ lives are increasingly digital – at work, home, and everywhere in between, becoming the cause of the dwindling human attention.”

The research also indicates that people are addicted to technology, they often check their smartphones or watch TV throughout the day. For example, over half (52%) of younger people aged 18-24 reported that they check their phones every 30 minutes.

We forget a lot!

Humans are very forgetful, and researches show that younger people are more forgetful than older ones. Have a look at these stats:

  • 25% of teens forget major details of close friends and relatives.
  • 7% of people forget their own birthdays from time to time.
  • 39% of Americans reported that they have forgotten one basic piece of information or one everyday use item in the past week.
  • After 3 days, people remember only 10% of content if they see text or audio-only content.

It may sound bad, but the above facts indicate that people easily forget most of the content they read or listen to. That’s not all, another thing that can hurt your content marketing is that humans are easily distracted!

We are easily distracted!

Undoubtedly technology has simplified our lives, tasks that used to take days earlier are now completed in seconds. But research shows it’s also a cause for distraction!

  • On average, an office worker checks their email 30 times every hour (yes, every two minutes).
  • The average user picks up their phone 1500 times a week – taking up an average of 3 hours, 16 minutes a day.
  • On the average web page, users read at most 28% of the words during a visit, 20% is more likely.
  • The average page visit lasts less than a minute, and users often leave web pages in just 10-20 seconds.

Looking at these stats, it seems tough for content marketers to grab people’s attention. But it’s not impossible.

Visuals Grab Attention!


Earlier we mentioned that people only remember 10% of text or audio content after 3 days of reading or listening to it.

But what if you add visuals to your content? As per research, people remember 65% of the content after 3 days if it contains pictures along with text, it’s called the picture superiority effect.

Not only pictures, but other visuals are also good at grabbing people’s attention. Have a look at these stats:

  • Video holds attention. The average viewed length of a single internet video is 2.7 minutes.
  • 59% of senior executives would prefer to watch a video than reading text where both were available.
  • Infographics are liked and shared 3X more than any other type of visual material available.

So, adding visuals to your content marketing can be a great strategy to create engagement despite the decreasing human attention span.

Sources: Statista | Microsoft | Wyzowl | Helplama

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