Resources Hub » Blog » How to Send Email in The Age of The Eight Second Attention Span

The average person has an eight second attention span. You read that right- people today lose concentration after eight seconds. A goldfish has a longer attention span than humans with a whopping nine-second attention span, according to research from Microsoft.

Why are humans today unable to concentrate on anything for longer? Microsoft says the change is directly related to the mobile revolution. Since the year 2000, the human attention span has dropped. This drop occurred around the same time that mobile devices become commonplace. As mobile devices became more popular, attention spans dropped as our brains struggled to keep up with the massive amounts of digital content that bombard us on a daily basis.

So, what does this short attention span mean for marketers looking to reach subscribers and convert customers via email? Today, we’re sharing how you can send successful emails in the age of the eight second attention span.

Remember that email isn’t one size fits all

Since your audience is bombarded with marketing messages from different companies, your email has to stand out. That means batch-and-blast emails, ones that aren’t relevant to individual subscribers, won’t do the job anymore.

You have to use your eight seconds wisely. By segmenting your list you can reach customers with messages they care about.What is segmentation, exactly? Segmentation is the act of splitting your email contacts up by similar traits. You might split your list by gender, buying frequency, or location. By segmenting your list, you can send each group a tailored email.

For instance, a pet retailer, Doggyloot, got creative with its segmentation and separated its customers by the kind of dog they owned. Owners with mastiffs got different emails than those with terriers. The results increased their open rate by 10%, and their clickthrough rate was 410% higher than average, according to a case study presented by Econsultancy.

Start sending emails to segmented groups to increase relevance. This will increase your likelihood of reaching your audience in those precious 8 seconds of time.

Personalization must be instantly recognizable

Segmenting your contact list is the first step toward personalization, but you can’t stop there. You need subscribers to know that you’ve taken the time to craft emails that they care about. To do so, you have to provide recognizable personalization.

In other words, you have to personalize an email so that a subscriber can see in eight seconds. Here’s how to send email that’s personalized for the eight-second reader:

Add a subscriber’s first name to the subject line

One of the most recognizable ways to show a subscriber that they’re looking at a personalized email is to add his or her name to the subject line. Take a look at subject lines below. Each contains the subscriber’s first name, which is Lisa. At a glance, the subscriber knows that this isn’t just another email; it’s a personalized message.



Use dynamic content to personalize email content

Dynamic content gives you the ability to change a piece of your email based on who receives it. For example, if you want to promote a new line of clothes and want to show men their styles and women theirs, you can use dynamic content.

Using dynamic content, the product photos that are featured inside the email will change based on the subscriber’s gender. In seconds, a subscriber opens the email and sees an entire line of clothes that they could wear.

Recommend products to subscribers

For a more advanced personalization tactic, consider sending emails based on a subscriber’s past purchases or browsing history. Use this information to make product suggestions to subscribers that are relevant.

Tease the product suggestions in the subject line so subscribers know the email contains products of interest. In addition, show product pictures so subscribers can scan images quickly. For example, Flight Centre sent this email to a subscriber after noticing she was searching for flights to Vegas.


Scannable, small-screen-friendly emails are a must

As you create an email, you have to think about mobile users, as many of today’s emails are opened on smartphones and tablets. Most email service providers give you access to templates with a responsive design, which means the email will adapt to mobile screens. There are additional steps you should take. Here’s how to send email fit for small screens.

Write short messages

On a small screen, three or four sentences can look like a novel. Keep text to a minimum. If you have to write longer sentences, make sure the font is easy to read and feel free to add space in between sentences. In addition, make sure longer text sits on a basic background. You don’t want text on a patterned background or a busy image because it’s too hard to read.

Use headlines and bold print for scanability

Subscribers won’t read every word you write. Instead, they’ll scan them. Make it easy for subscribers to breeze through your email by using headings or subheadings to set text apart. Subscribers will likely read the headline and scan the rest of the text. You can also use boldface font to draw a subscriber’s eye line to an important part of the email.

Take a look at the email below from Campaign Monitor customer, Jaybird. Notice the headline and the bold text in the body of the email.


Add an eye-catching CTA button

One of the last things a subscriber will likely scan in your email is the CTA, since they’re usually placed at the bottom of the message. Create a CTA button rather than a hyperlink, so it stands out.

In addition, pick a vibrant color that’s used sparsely in the email and make sure it’s big enough for an index finger or a thumb to tap easily. To get super specific, you should aim for a CTA that’s about 20mm wide or about 57 pixels, according to MIT research. (MIT actually did a study on the size of the average finger and the required CTA size for optimum clicking).

Wrap up

For marketers, creating a message that stands out has always been the goal. But now, it’s even more challenging with shrinking attention spans. If you only have eight seconds of a subscriber’s attention, you have to maximize every second. Using the tips above you’ll be able to optimize your delivery, design, and messaging to make sure subscribers exceed their eight-second limitation.

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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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