An eight-second attention span is a new challenge for auto dealers, but making your message faster and louder could hurt more than it helps. 
 - Photo by StockSnap via Pixabay

An eight-second attention span is a new challenge for auto dealers, but making your message faster and louder could hurt more than it helps.

Photo by StockSnap via Pixabay

According to Microsoft, by 2015, the average consumer’s attention span had plummeted to just eight seconds. This is a new problem for dealers trying to make a name for themselves in the digital space. The knee-jerk reaction is a shift in focus from creating quality content that speaks to your audience to content that yells at them, akin to a red-faced, fast-talking salesman jumping on top of you the moment you enter a showroom — an experience nobody enjoys.

Instead, try using those eight seconds to make an impression and hold your customers’ attention. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Filter Your Content.

First, don’t get caught up in the phrasing of “attention span.” Our attention is held as long as the content we’re looking at holds it. You don’t have eight seconds to deliver your message; you have eight seconds to convince your audience to keep reading.

Take one of the most popular car commercials of all time: Volkswagen’s “The Force” uses the entirety of its one-minute, 42-second run time to build suspense. The VW logo doesn’t appear until the final seconds of the ad.

A study by Origin suggests that a focus group responded to various lengths and types of ads, ranging from 15 seconds to a minute, and from traditional ads to ads with overarching stories, with no major differences in likeliness to buy. However, participants who scored higher on a test that deemed them more likely to selectively filter out content were also more likely to spend money on content they filtered in.

To put it simply, if you make a lasting impression, those who are interested in what you have to say will stay longer than those dreaded eight seconds.

2. Attract First-Time Buyers.

Gone are the days when auto dealers could hold their audience hostage with a 30-second TV ad without having to worry about them changing the channel or picking up their smartphones. Only those savvy enough to reach the consumer on an intellectual level can break through and attract first-time buyers.

More research is being done than ever before by your audience, according to a study published by Autotrader, which shows that 78% of online car shoppers use third-party websites to get their information about cars. Knowing this, why would you waste your marketing dollars on shoving the same information in your consumer’s face that they’re already getting for free?

Your digital content should be seen as an extension of your in-store advertising, not always as a tool to get consumers to “BUY RIGHT NOW!” They are in no hurry. Chances are they’ll just move on to the next option in the sea of content available to them.

Once you master the evolving art of using your content to connect with people, you won’t even need eight seconds to impress.

Ryan Cassirer is the public relations coordinator at PCG Digital and an automotive digital strategies and SEO expert.

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