A study performed by Microsoft in 2021 found that the average attention span of adult consumers today is a mere eight seconds.

Eight seconds. As someone whose job is to produce content, I’m constantly thinking about the best, most efficient and desirable way to deliver content to our readers. We’ve made some changes — created a short, weekly video segment to deliver latest news called “Plumbing Group Pipeline,” played up social media capabilities, etc. — but I do still believe there is a place in the media world and our industry specifically for longer form content such as feature articles, webinars and editorial podcasts.

Like most things in life, producing digestible content is about balance.

But if in many cases you only have eight seconds to capture a consumer and get your message across, think about what that message is. What can you tell someone about your company or a product in just eight seconds?

It’s likely that once you’ve captured a consumer, they’ll be loyal — as long as they received great service. They’ll take the time to watch longer videos, sit through longer trainings, engage with you on social media and participate in longer calls. But to capture that new customer, the first eight-second impression is key.

If you’re producing an advertisement, look at it for eight seconds and see what the main ideas you get out of it are. Ask your team to evaluate it and see what they pull from it.

What are the first eight seconds like when someone walks into your building? Are they greeted like family right away? What does your front entryway look like? Is it striking and aesthetically appealing? Are your employees’ photos and/or awards on display where you can’t miss them?

If you only have eight seconds to tell your company story, always be thinking about what you want to get across.

If you’re creating a social media post, can the main point of the post be understood in eight seconds?

If you’re making a sales call, what are you saying in those first eight seconds?

None of this is to say that you only have eight seconds with a new customer. Thankfully, our industry is all about relationships, and we love to connect with people. But consumer behaviors will continue to evolve, and it’s not a bad idea to challenge your business to prioritize this “eight-second” rule.

After all, first impressions are everything.