Stop Saying Attention Spans are Decreasing, They’re NOT!

snackable content

We love snackable content just as much as the next person, but I believe there’s a huge misconception in our industry. The notion that attention spans are decreasing needs some context put around it. First, I absolutely disagree that people are spending less energy educating themselves around their next purchasing decision.

Consumers and businesses that spent a lot of time before doing research are still doing a lot of research now. I ran analytics reports across all of our clients in preparation for this post and every single one has greater time spent on page and greater time spent per session compared to 1 or 2 years ago. We’re doing deeper research on content and seeing a much better return on investment the deeper we go.

What has changed isn’t the attention span, it’s the effort involved in finding the content. Searchers are now getting adept at quickly identifying what they’re looking for. If they don’t see it, they leave. But if they do find it, they absolutely spend just as much time reading, researching and even sharing it.

If your company is seeing a significant drop spent in time on page or site, it could be for a number of reasons:

  • Your titles don’t match your content. Perhaps you’re utilizing linkbait methods to lure people and then the content isn’t rich – that will make anyone leave!
  • You’ve been optimizing for the wrong content. Having your site found for a ton of keyword combinations that you don’t have authority in can increase your bounce rates and reduce time spent on your site. Write on target – every time!
  • You’ve been promoting via poorly optimized paid search campaigns. Every new visitor to your site is probably going to spend less time than the folks that return. Turning up the campaigns can have a relative decrease in time on site as new visitors find (or don’t find) what they need.
  • You aren’t investing in content strategies that drive deeper engagement – like infographics, presentations, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, testimonials, explainer videos, interactive tools, etc.

Snackable content is not a strategy to deploy because attention spans are decreasing (they’re not!). Snackable content are the breadcrumbs that lead people to your site on relevant topics so that they can find deeper engagement on the information they’re seeking.

I would challenge you to run an analysis of conversions and time on page or site and you’ll find that content that converts is still long-form content. Primary research, white papers, case studies and detailed, information-rich blog posts continue to drive a ton of engagement and lead to conversions.

Developing your content marketing strategy should involve building content for different levels of engagement so that, as the consumer or business becomes more interested, they can dive deeper into the research they need.

Snackable content has its place, but it’s not for short attention spans. It’s for minimal effort and wider audiences to pull visitors in deeper! It’s chumming the waters while the real bait is waiting ahead for your target.

With that in mind, this infographic from Oracle has some good insight into snackable content strategies.

Content Smorgasboard


  1. 1

    I’m relieved to hear that web visitors are spending more time studying your client’s pages than they were 1 – 2 years ago. In today’s world of sound bites, that bodes well for those of us who believe in investing the time to create thoughtful, well-researched content!

  2. 2

    Hey Douglas

    This is brilliant! I am so glad the importance of information-rich, long-form content hasn’t diminished.

    I love it when someone makes a unique and bold claim that challenges popular assumptions

    Thank you so much

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