Would a Goldfish Notice My Infographic? The Importance of Retention.

Goldfish have one of the shortest attention spans of any living animal. Scientists who study goldfish say that they have an attention span of 13 seconds. You can see this fact in action when you hold something in front of their aquarium or fish bowl and then count the number of second before they swim away or shift their attention to another item in their tank.

Fish in an aquarium seem to have a slightly higher attention span than a goldfish in a bowl probably because they can still swim around without taking their eye off of an object that interests them. What kind of effect is your infographic is having on your customers?


The Human Attention Span: Less than a Goldfish

A fascinating fact, though, is not about goldfish. It involves the fact that humans supposedly have a shorter attention span than a goldfish! In a recent study, it was determined that the average person has an attention span of 12 seconds, which is just one second shy of the common goldfish’s attention span.

Attention for Specific Content is Slightly Higher

There are exceptions to this, of course. Some people have exhibited a much higher attention span if they know what the content is about and they go to a website or check out something intentionally. People enrolled in online courses, business executives who are interested in learning more about a particular topic, or other situations often show an increase in the average attention span. This is known as purposeful attention or mindfulness. It is related to the Japanese technique of mindfulness and to the Zen Buddhist view of being extraordinarily aware of one’s environment to understand it on a higher level.

But the average person does not do Zen meditation regularly, and they are not extremely mindful about everything. They only have this sort of radar or laser focus on things they have an interest in already.

When we talk about the human attention span, what we are referring to is the retention rate or the amount of time that the average person will stay on your site to see your content. This kind of attention involves capturing someone’s focus in those first few critical seconds when they are deciding whether to continue looking into the information or moving on.

So when we ask if a goldfish would notice your infographic, we are talking about whether your infographic is engaging and interesting enough to capture the attention of a person (or a goldfish) at the very beginning. When something is flash before the eyes for the first time, it only enters what is known as the “cognitive registry.” This is the part of the brand that only registers the essential elements of an object. It can take in color and overall composition, but it does not grasp the details.

If someone looks at the image or object a bit longer, they may start to study certain aspects of the infographic or object such as some of the text or other details that they are interested in. At this point, it becomes a part of their STM (short-term memory).

If they are impressed with this information enough, it may then be stored in their LTM (long-term memory) so that they can recall it much later or at least the general experience of it.

If your infographic is only entering someone’s cognitive registry or short-term memory, you may be losing valuable seconds that your visitors are not using to take in your graphics or content.

What can you do about this?

Start with a compelling infographic.

Like goldfish, people respond to movement, dynamic colors, or something extraordinary. Even goldfish have been known to respond to a stimulus such as a bell ringing at the top of their fishbowl when their owner fed them.

In a similar fashion, you can create a Pavlovian effect for your customers by creating rich looking content that will make them salivate. In other words, think about what they want. Like hungry dogs, your customers are craving something. They want palpable content that is going to satisfy some need or help them meet their goals in either their personal or business life.

Retention Rates are Important

How to Increase Your Retention Rate

What we are talking about here is increasing your retention rate. This is the amount of time that viewers spend on your page. It often refers to video, but it may relate to any asset that you have placed on your page, including an infographic.

You also need to decrease your bounce rate. The bounce rate of your site where your infographic resides is a good indication of whether or not it is working for you. If your bounce rate is high (over 50%), then you may want to think about ways that you can improve your infographic or website to keep your visitors’ attention longer.

If you can provide that with your infographic, you will be well on your way to creating the kind of content that your customers will stay around for.

Tips to Capture Your Target Audience in 12 Seconds

So how do you capture the attention of your target audience in those important few seconds when they enter your site? Below are a few tips on creating infographics that will hold their interest.

  • Use color appropriately.– The use of the right colors in appropriate places can help improve your retention rate. Certain colors such as red or dark blue can achieve a professional look that draws attention. Black symbolizes power and yellow works if you want to communicate friendliness or happiness. You should choose colors based on the personality of your business and read up on the meaning of colors to make the best choice.
  • Create a catchy title.– The heading or title is one of the first things your visitors will see on your infographic. If you focus on creating a heading that is enticing, you will draw more leads that are likely to stick around to find out more.
  • Be organized.– People want to see something that is artistic, but the human brain also craves organization. We have a natural tendency to want to put things into some organized fashion so that we can understand the true meaning easier.Ask a professional infographic designer for tips on how to better organize your infographic so that it will streamline the information in a systematic way.
  • Keep it clean.– Avoid cluttering space too much. Remember the goldfish. If you try to cram your infographic with too much information, you may lose your viewers attention before you have a chance to win them over.


A Conversation with a Goldfish

So how can you know if your content is good enough to keep a goldfish’s attention? If you have a goldfish, you could walk up to their bowl or aquarium and hold up your infographic in front of them. See how long they look before turning away. Since human attention spans are known to be related to age, try it out on a 5-year-old. Their attention span for long term viewing should be around 7 minutes (age plus 2).

Better yet, hire a professional infographicdesignteam.com specialist to advise you. It will cut through the hassle of trying to entertain your goldfish or your 5-year-old and help you create an infographic that will keep your most fickle customers happy.