Information Overload

How Adding in too Much Information Is Causing Your Audience to Tune Out

by Brennen Charles

Spacing out, daydreaming, head in the clouds. They’re all different expressions that mean the same thing: Not paying attention. People not paying attention is never ideal, especially if you’re placing an ad utilizing your limited marketing budget to try to grow your business, increase sales, or simply spread word of mouth.

So, why are people not pay attention to your ad? Well, it could be many factors but the most common cause is information overload. So, how do we combat this plague of TMI destroying what could be effective advertising? I’ve got a few facts laid out for you to help you do just that.

You wouldn’t use a hammer to whisk an egg (unless that’s all you had and you were desperate for a frittata) so don’t use a 30-second radio spot, billboard, or commercial as your golden opportunity to share every last detail of your business or product.

These mediums are known as drivers, in that they “drive” the audience to a second location (website) to learn more or to act on a simple request like visit your restaurant or call your number. Request for your ad to be used that way and you’ll end up with a delicious quiche. Request for your ad to be used the wrong way, and you’ll just get egg all over your face, maybe even literally. Basically, when it comes to these mediums, think of the acronym KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

A little fact about humans: We all basically have ADD. Now, I’m not a medical professional, so that quote is not backed up by any science, *but* according to a study by Microsoft (Bing, MSN, the gone-too-soon Zune) the average human being now has an attention span of just eight seconds!

Do you think with an attention span that brief, the average person is going to actively listen to a sixty-second diatribe on every last product you sell at your organic, cruelty-free farmers market? As anyone in my hometown would patronizingly say, “Bless your heart.”

An eight-second attention span means you have eight seconds to hook them. What do you think is going to do it? Something funny, original, and concise? Or a discussion of the intricate process by which your company’s reverse osmosis technology provides superior filtered water?

I’m going with the former. And, yes, you can make water filtration interesting and entertaining. Just look at what GEICO and Progressive do with insurance.

To reiterate, too much information is bad because the medium you’re using is not the right tool for that. Humans have an attention span shorter than Danny DeVito, and, in advertising, information isn’t power, it’s boring. So, be short, be sweet, be to the point, and you’ll get your audience hanging on your every word!

Brennen Charles is a writer on Write Label. If you need help with your radio ads, television commercials, or social media posts, reach out today.

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