It’s well-documented that the internet is reducing the attention span of online users. And the issue of audience retention is a problem marketers have to solve. SMS marketing proves to be an attention grabber.

In 2000, a study found the average attention span of humans was 12-seconds. News that attention spans has dipped to just 8-seconds in 2017 was widely reported although the statistic appears to be a myth.

Even so, ComScore still recommend marketers to publish online ads that are no more than five to six seconds long because that’s the time it takes for people to move on to the next item.

So is the issue for marketers because of a short-attention span, or a question of engagement?

Regardless of whether attention spans are diminishing in younger generations, marketers face a battle to retain the attention of your audience. The reason for that is not because millennials and Gen-Zers have short attention spans, it’s because of dopamine.

The Dopamine Effect

The mass consumption of digital media and busy lifestyles has reduced the amount of time consumers are willing to spend reading blogs, watching videos and, certainly entertaining promotional ads.

And that’s not all. There is so much information and entertainment available to consumers at the touch of a button, wherever they are, marketers are constantly vying for attention – like a drop of water in the ocean.

It is thought that short attention spans is because of the dopamine effect – a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for rewarding us for instant gratification – and among other things maintaining concentration. The irony.

Unfortunately for most marketers, it is the reward effect of dopamine that distracts internet users. Dopamine responds to optic nerves, so when somebody sees an image they like, they feel inclined to click on it – and the anticipation releases dopamine.

Dopamine is a feel-good drug. It is not the end result that makes us feel good, it is the expectation that we get excited about. And when we don’t have dopamine flowing through the central nervous system we lack motivation.

For marketers, the vying for the attention of customers on the internet is a double-edge sword. You have the potential to pique the interest of consumers in a second… But you could lose it within 5, 8 or 12-seconds depending on which research you believe.

Marketers that are struggling to win the attention of customers should try SMS messaging – it solves the problems of marketing the internet produces.

SMS Is An Attention Grabber

Young people are addicted to technology. According to a poll, 50% of teens admit they are addicted to their smartphones, 80% say they check their phone hourly and 72% say they feel the urge to immediately respond to texts.

This is the dopamine effect. Text messages can be exciting and increase anticipation levels.

Text message marketing figures back up these numbers. 90% of brand SMS messages are opened within fifteen minutes. Furthermore, text messages have an average response rate of 45% – more than any other digital marketing channel.

SMS is a personalized medium and your messages are sent directly to recipients. There are no other distractions on the screen competing for the attention of your customers and luring them away from your ad.

Texting will also only allow you to key in 160 characters. Your message therefore have to be short. And if your offer triggers a dopamine release in the brain, you have a higher chance of convincing recipients to take action.

The key to SMS marketing is not only to create a brain-buzz – you also need to generate another emotional phenomena consumers respond to. The FOMO syndrome – Fear Of Missing Out.

Send promotions your customers do not want to miss out on, mouthwatering deals that will pique plenty of interest. Then include a call-to-action that prompts customers to take immediate action – such, “whilst stocks last” or “1 day offer only!”.

SMS and The Internet

SMS messaging provides a powerful alternative to online marketing, but can also be used alongside your other digital marketing channels.

The beauty of SMS technology is that it allows you to include links, videos and images in your text messages. Due to a shortage of space, you can therefore provide customers with more information.

Use SMS messaging to drive customers to your product pages or landing pages where they can find out more about your offer. If your offer is strong enough and your call to action prompts recipients to take action, text message marketing is a strategy that can seriously boost your bottom line.

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