The Attention Economy: It’s not about you Anymore!

What is Attention Economy and how does it affect the content creation industry?

From an economic standpoint, scarcity is the underlying definition of any economy. When human attention is viewed as a commodity, it gives rise to the attention economy. While so many things strive for our attention, it can be challenging to keep yours on what truly matters. However, with a little effort, you can learn how to make your attention your own and use it to your advantage. 

With increasing amounts of content readily available, information consumption is constrained by attention. This effect has a strong correlation with the fact that humans have a limited mental capability and consequently their receptiveness to information is limited as well. Filtering information allows the most important information to be extracted while irrelevant information is left out.

Today, many people spend more time online than they do watching TV. In fact, some people have started to watch TV while they browse the internet. Every day, more and more people spend more and more time on the internet. This is because the internet is a place where users can express their thoughts and opinions about any topic, and the internet rewards users who create content that other people will like.

The adverse effect on the Attention Span

In the past few years we have seen many changes in the way we live our lives—social media has disrupted our world and allowed a new form of expression to emerge. But with new power comes new responsibility, and just as we’ve seen the rise of the “attention economy”, we’re also seeing the tragic effects it can have on people. There is so much new content that demands our attention that we are forced to focus on each trend for a short time.

The human attention span has declined from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds in 2013. In less than ten years, that’s an astonishing 43% drop. And it’s happening across all generations. Not only that, but children in the United States spend 35% more time on screens than they did in 2007.Why are we demonstrating an inability to concentrate on tasks, whether on schoolwork or at work? The Demon is already known- the enormous unsaid pressure of consuming new content on the go has silently reduced our power to concentrate and decrease the attention span even less than that of a Goldfish!

These dips correlate strongly with the increased usage of mobile phones and social networking sites. Oracle research shows that the average person owns three to five devices, which enable them to choose what content to consume and how to consume it. The competition to capture their attention will only become more intense, and the most successful marketers will gain a competitive advantage by developing creative ads (E.g Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc) that grab their attention. Companies compete for our attention by developing products and services we like since there is too much information trying to catch our attention, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the companies to sell us products. They need to know how to capture the attention of consumers if they are to stand out in this “attention economy.” 

The inevitable Rise of the Social Media influencers

So how do you get someone to pay attention to your content when everything else is competing for their attention? Influencers can be an extremely powerful tool to do that. The world of social media is ever-changing, and it’s constantly adapting to new technology and trends. One of the most important changes today is the rise of the influencer: people who have large followings on social media, and who can use that influence to sell a product or service. Influencers are people with large social media followings, who use their platform to promote products and services. These people, who are often famous or popular in some other way, now earn large sums–potentially millions of dollars–for promoting products through sponsored posts on their social media accounts. 

No one actually intends to spend too much time on social media. We don’t structure our day by saying, “I will scroll through Facebook for two hours.” There is no purpose behind it, but still we end up consuming content more than what we estimated. Social Media Apps are made that way to engage users as long as possible. You can only beat that if you practice what I call as “Intermittent social media Exile”. Yeah, you guessed it right! It is very similar to intermittent fasting but here we need to refrain from using social media platforms for a certain period of time. You can also use recommendations of curated content only instead of mindless scrolling

What can you as a brand do to dominate the attention economy?

Let’s face it, our attention is a precious commodity–and it’s getting harder and harder to hold on to. Distractions are everywhere–from the smartphone in your pocket to the television in your living room to the billboards on your commute to work. But in a world where attention is a limited resource, what does that mean for you and your brand? One of the biggest challenges that marketers face is how to get people to notice their content in the world of social media. There are so many ways for people to get their information, from ads on TV and newspapers to Facebook videos and Instagram ads. 

People are spending their valuable attention on companies which regularly provide valuable content in form of-Video, audio, podcast, blog, etc .So you need to know how to capture and hold the attention of your customers for as long as possible. The first key to effective attention holding is to get people’s attention in the first place. This is done by creating great content that is valuable to your audience. The second key is to hold people’s attention through great design, flawless execution, and by keeping your site updated with fresh, new content.


So in this new age of the attention economy, there will always be a never ending tussle between brands on social media platforms  to crave for our attention. Now that consumers like me and you know about it, can we use it in the same way we do with our money?

Do watch my below YouTube video for some more insights on Attention Economy (Explained under 3 minutes):