Did COVID Kill the Goldfish?

We have a hunch that long-form content is making a comeback

For several years, marketers have touted the belief that consumer’s attention spans are shrinking. In fact, the “Goldfish Rule” assumed audiences’ interest capped out at 8 seconds, which is roughly equivalent to a goldfish’s memory (allegedly). This belief translated into the quick, flashy and to-the-point content we are all familiar with in today’s marketing.

But something happened during our year-long lockdown that has dramatically transformed our consumer behavior. We were given back time.

Time to read a book, time to find a new hobby, time to binge watch that show we’ve been putting off for years. Without the constant speed of our rushed lifestyles, we could break through the noise that kept us distracted and disengaged.

We have a hunch that this heightened attention span means a restored appetite for long-form, meaningful content.

After the year we’ve been through, consumers are expecting more than “coupon crack” from the brands they support. Our audiences want genuine, authentic, relevant and long-form storytelling. Maybe a three-minute video isn’t so crazy anymore? Or it’s finally time to launch that podcast your business has been teasing. Or your social media channels could franchise or extend a long-form narrative versus just posting announcements.

We aren’t saying that every content piece should be a novel. There is still a need for quick communications in some cases, but isn’t it nice to think that we can open up and be more authentic with our audiences? That we can create more texture within our content strategies and be a bit rawer perhaps… (but that’s a blog for another time).

While we don’t have a modern case study to understand consumers after a pandemic, we know people are forever changed. It’s our job as marketers and brands to explore beyond what has “always worked” and get to the core of today’s needs, wants, and desires. This also means rethinking some of our business objectives and strategies to include bringing people together, telling stories and building relationships.

Are you ready to embrace long-form content to connect with today’s post-pandemic consumer? Then let’s team up, strategize, and work to make every interaction matter.



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