Tackling Personalization to Win the Battle Against Attention Scarcity


A version of this post originally appeared in Food Dive.

What do marketers need more than anything to make their content marketing programs work? The answer isn’t more time or marketing budget, and it’s not more page views or shares of their content. The answer: attention. Real, genuine attention.

What does real, genuine attention look like? It’s when a busy person makes the decision to click on a piece of content you’ve created. But that’s not all. This person is really hungry for the information you have and is willing to spare a limited amount of attention to engage with it. Even with other marketing messages, work emails, social media updates and text messages happening all around them, they have decided to read something about you or related to your business in this precious moment.

This kind of attention is extremely rare in 2017. For reference, in 2015 the average attention span was 8.25 seconds. That’s less than that of a goldfish (9 seconds) and 31% shorter than the average attention span in 2000, which was 12 seconds.

Where’s all the attention going? It’s going everywhere, siphoned across micromoments during which people are barely able to hang on to a single piece of content or message before they are whisked away to engage with something else.

This, in a nutshell, is why real, genuine attention is so scarce. “So, what?” you might ask. Perhaps your strategy to gain more attention is just to create more content. If you fall into that camp, we have new content marketing research suggesting that approach won’t get you very far. TrackMaven reports that while brands produced 78% more content in 2014, engagement with each piece actually decreased by 60%. The missing piece? Personalization.

Here’s why personalization is the real strategy to battling attention scarcity so you can start winning more of those precious moments for your content marketing programs.

Personalization creates a positive impression of your brand

When consumers engage with technology, they expect to be presented with content that’s specific to their individual preferences. That’s why technology giants like Amazon, Netflix and Facebook have dominated the consumer content space. Our study found that 87% of people reported that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand, and 60% say they have a stronger connection with the brand when the content is personally relevant.

This connection leads to a stronger relationship and engagement with your brand, which influences consumers to put your brand first when presented with an assortment of content options to choose from.

Personalization drives sales and recommendations

Brands that focus on providing exceptionally personalized customer experiences across touch points are the ones who not only earn people’s attention, but also their dollars. 78% of those surveyed said that personally relevant content increases their purchase intent for a brand’s products and services. Half also said they would pay more for those products and services when the content experience is individually personalized. But the benefits of personalization don’t just stop there — 64% said they will recommend a brand if it successfully delivers personalized content.

Based on these findings, it’s clear the only way to attract a customer’s attention today is by producing not only quality content but also content that is relevant and personalized to the reader.

Download our guide: How to Master Individualization to Delight Your Customers for best practices for delivering 1:1 personalized content experiences across every channel.


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