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Consumers too distracted by dual screening to hear your email and push marketing messages…

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UK consumers online are on average spending 30 seconds or less reading or listening to marketing communications, leaving brands with a very limited amount of time to catch their attention – all because they are using two or more devices at once, according to a YouGov poll.

There is also evidence buried in the details of the report that these distracted consumers are being so bombarded with marketing messaging from brands that they simply can’t read everything and so turn off.

The online survey survey – commissioned by Responsys, a marketing cloud software and services vendor – quizzed more than 2000 UK adults and found that the practice of dual screening – using two or more technology devices with screens simultaneously – has given rise to a new breed of individual popularly known as the ‘distracted consumer.’ As these consumers move within seconds from Twitter to online shopping to watching TV, they are spending less time reading marketing content from brands.

This suggests that concentration spans are significantly impacted by this new habit. 50% of consumers spend on average between 5 and 30 seconds on incoming marketing emails and 32% spend the same amount of time on marketing texts. Incoming social posts from brands are less likely to be read; 27% of consumers spend 5 and 30 seconds reading tweets, Facebook posts or content posted on other social channels.

But the report also indicated that almost half of respondents (49%) receive between two and 10 emails per day from all brands they actively subscribe to and almost a fifth (19%) receive 11 or more marketing emails per day. However, only 8% of them are reading every marketing email they receive, compared to 43% who are reading less than half of emails sent by marketers.

Simon Robinson, Senior Director of Marketing and Alliances for Responsys EMEA explains: “The premise of a distracted consumer creates an interesting challenge for 21st century brands, which have a very small amount of time to engage consumers. Because modern consumers are both more tech-savvy and time-strapped, brands need to look at changing the techniques they are using to engage with customers if they want to be heard above the noise of today’s modern distractions.”

‘Dual screening’ is becoming an increasingly prevalent habit for today’s modern consumer, with 44% of those polled engaging in the practice at least once a week. 25-34 year-olds are the age group most likely to dual screen, with 26% of individuals in this age bracket admitting to doing this every day. Unsurprisingly, the older the consumer, the less likely they are to dual screen – 64% of 55+ year-olds stated they have never participated in this modern habit.

When it comes to the various communication channels being used by brands, consumers are less likely to spend time reading text messages than social posts or emails from brands. 38% of consumers stated that they do not pay attention to any marketing communication sent via SMS. 33% of consumers ignore social media updates and 16% of consumers do not read marketing emails.

With modern lives becoming increasingly busy, distracted consumers are deleting or ignoring content that is irrelevant or not tailored to their interests. This shift in consumer mentality and behaviour creates an interesting challenge for brands looking to remain front-of-mind in an increasingly competitive and complex market.

Robinson concludes: “In recent times, marketing has been forced to evolve beyond traditional batch-and-blast tactics. As consumers receive masses of information across a variety of touchpoints, the solution for brands is to build targeted content sent through the right channel, at the right time. A volume-driven, one-size-fits-all approach will no longer get the desired result. In order to remain top-of-mind, brands need to create personalised, relevant and interesting experiences which build engagement and create true dialogue with customers. Marketers will then stand a much better chance of getting through to distracted consumers, who are now a significant demographic.”

If you have time – and aren’t too distracted – you can read the full study 30 seconds or less: how to reach the ‘distracted consumer’, here

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