Customer attention and memory retention: a guide to your customer’s brain on computers
Visitors come to your website in a very different mental state than when they’re reading your brochure or speaking to a sales rep. Here are a few of the major characteristics of online customers:
- Online customers tend to be flighty. The average time spent on a web page is well under a minute – much shorter than the amount of time a casual newspaper or periodical reader typically spends on a page. Web users are usually searching for something in particular, and unless the page they land on speaks exactly to their needs, they tend to buzz off rather quickly.
- Web customers are multitaskers. When someone comes to your website, you’re competing with phone calls and texts, email and Skype notifications, and other webpages that your visitor has open at the same time (one study indicated that users have open an average of 3.2 browser tabs, with 25% of respondents keeping 11 or more open at a time). 1 Any of these distracting elements can interfere with the amount of time your customer spends on your site.
- Internet users will read your content if you capture your attention sufficiently. A 2007 study found that once online readers settle into an article, nearly two thirds of them will read to completion.2
- Internet use affects your customers’ memory. Research by Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow indicates that Internet users tend to either remember information they find online, or where to find the information, but not both.3
- Open This Story in a New Tab, Slate.com, Dec. 6, 2010
- Web News Readers Have Greater Attention Span: Study, Reuters.com, March 31, 2007
- Study Finds That Memory Works Differently in the Age of Google, Columbia University blog, July 14, 2011