Use it or lose it. How to impress your potential customers in 0.5 seconds

Use it or lose it. How to impress your potential customers in 0.5 seconds

Humans have a lower attention span than a goldfish (odd but true!), keep them engaged or lose them.

0.5 seconds may seem extreme, but it is vital to engage your customer within that time limit. Gone are the days when customers had to spend hours finding product alternatives. With Gen Z-ers being two times more likely to shop on mobile than millennials, your customers are likely to have another product offer on their phone whilst they’re purchasing from your website.

Gen Z has the lowest attention span to date

Imagine your customer is about to ‘check out’ on your website, but a notification comes up on their phone diverting their attention to that screen. It’s an offer for the same product, but this advert has their personal name and a unique discount. Gen Z has the lowest attention span to date, seeing their name alert on their mobile is likely to grab their attention and in 0.5 seconds you’ve lost your customer.

One common issue that is unmissable to your customers is when their checkout basket hasn’t remembered their personal choices and they have to start adding items again… chances are your customer is gone! Impress your customer by remembering the item they were looking at, don’t risk using a poor website that loses their products added after a few minutes or an accidental back click! This makes the experience more personal and offers value.

Keep their attention on you

Our brains subconsciously pay attention to certain snippets of information over others, knowing your customer’s preferences is vital to ensuring they keep their attention on you. Personalisation has introduced many opportunities for marketers to engage potential sales, making your customer feel like they are the only customer is now essential not just preferred.

So how can you engage and keep your customer over the competition, if everyone is now competing using the same techniques?

Focus on what your customers’ brains are paying attention to. Consumer’s RAS (Reticular Activating System) subconsciously filters out information that needs our attention and what can be ignored. RAS sends signals related to:

Physical need:

Know when your customers need something they cannot ignore. When people are hungry and smell food cooking, they pay attention to that smell. When your potential customer is about to leave for dinner, attract their attention with a 10% discount alert as they’re conveniently deciding what to have for lunch.


If you target an ad for your new sweet chilli flavoured wrap that’s available in the shop 2 minutes down the road, to someone who’s counting down the seconds until their lunch break, chances are when they see that ad pop up before any other food advert they will envision eating your product and decide to make the purchase from you.

Self-made choice:

Ever get that feeling where as soon as you buy a new top you feel like everyone owns that top? Relating to a decision made by your consumer can entice them; for example, if they have recently chosen to change phones to an I-Phone you could engage them through cool I-Phone features they don’t know about.

Your name:

Consumers always notice things personal to them. How many times have you gotten distracted when you think someone’s called your name? Impress your target customer with a personalised advert, focusing on their individual needs and offer a quick and easy solution to solve them.


Statistics and percentages grab our attention, but does this really engage us enough to relate to our needs? Evoking emotion in your customer will grab their attention. We are living in an age where customers cannot be expressed as numbers anymore, you need to make an emotional connection. You can do this by posting content on a topic of interest within your target audience, and using their emotional connection to that topic to convince them to use your solution.


Focusing on your website, whitespace is essential to drawing user attention to key areas and directing the flow of information across a page. When your customer opens your webpage, you don’t want them to have to think about where to look, you want their eyes to naturally fall to the information they need, all within 0.5 seconds.


The brain pays attention to new things in the environment. If your customer is revisiting an advert you previously enticed them with and then another advert shows which is offering new content, how can you keep your customer on your page? Try offering a new deal to the person who has re-visited your website and show your customer you can offer more than they previously expected.

Google Ads can help keep your website in front of your audience, it’s unlikely your customer will spend longer searching for an alternative if you are offering a solution to their problem there and then.

Offer your customers relevant content that is targeted towards your ideal customer. Give your customers useful information for free and solve their problem, they will be grateful for this useful advice and can lead to further communications.

You don’t want to lose your customer because your information is presented in blocks of text, without any breaks and holds irrelevant information to your customer. It may seem obvious, but there are countless websites that offload information to consumers expecting them to search through streams of text to find what’s relevant to them.

Use the following:

Short sentences
Short paragraphs
Conversational language
Eye-catching characters
Relatable stories and personal experiences.

Remember your customer’s focus will not be on your advert. Dual screening is a popular function for your target audience, more and more consumers are transmitting information from their mobile, TV and laptop at the same time. So how can marketers utilise this trend?

Already in the ‘shopping mindset’

Communicate your promotions to consumers during high-profile audience events whilst consumers are thinking about the related topic. For example, your customer is watching Wimbledon and is inspired for new outfits after seeing Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, marketers acknowledge this and send dress promotions to target customers who are already in the ‘shopping mindset’. Marketers know what Markle and Middleton wear are conversational topics and inspire thousands of consumers as to what they should wear. When you know your customer is viewing this programme, send them outfit ideas and inspirations.

Achieving these steps will likely engage your customer within 0.5 seconds, it is related to their personal wants, they have acknowledged their problem and within seconds you are offering a solution that tailors their needs.

Written by Eve Oliver from

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