Please hold all fish puns and jokes until the end of this article out of respect. Thank you.

If we had known that saying, “You have the attention span of a goldfish” would come back to bite us, we might have done things differently. As of 2022, the average human quite literally has the attention span of a goldfish. In fact, a goldfish can last one second longer than we can… at a total of 9 seconds. 

Fish: 1

Humans: 0

Ever since 2000, the average person’s attention span has been decreasing rapidly, nearly 30% in recent years. Thanks to our collective attention deficit, marketers have a small (and shrinking) window of time to grab and hold their audience’s attention with their content. So what can you do to utilize your audience’s 8 seconds of attention? Read these 4 tips to find out:


Thumbnail & Caption

Think of thumbnails as the gift wrap for your video. The goal is to make it look enticing and interesting enough to open. Kind of like when your Nana wrapped that box of socks up like an iPhone 11. It certainly made you want to open it, even if what was inside was wildly disappointing. Nailing your video’s “gift wrap” with strong diction, aesthetic imagery, and a clear offering of value will help communicate that your video is informative and entertaining.

The Hook 

Curiosity might’ve killed the cat, but it saved the video’s life. And you don’t have much time – 3 seconds to be exact. Viewers who watch the first 3 seconds of a video are most likely to finish it, so it’s critical to ensure your content hooks your target audience immediately with a vivid first frame.

Set Intention Early On

While you want to inspire excitement and curiosity in the first few seconds of your video, it’s important not to be misleading. Before users have the chance to scroll away, establish your purpose and objective so they can immediately recognize the value of watching your video.

The Length 

Pretty obvious, we know. But (sadly) there isn’t one magic runtime that optimizes your video’s attention-holding abilities. Every social platform serves a different purpose for its users, influencing how long they’ll spend on one piece of content. While a user may be willing to watch a 2-minute video on YouTube or LinkedIn, they may scroll past the same content on Instagram or Twitter. Tailoring your video’s length for each social platform will help maximize its views.

In the era of short attention spans, these “tiny details” make a big difference for your content. So next time your brand creates a video, don’t neglect the aspects that can make or break its results. Remember: It’s only 8 seconds. 

Now you can congratulate yourself for concentrating long enough to get through this article.