I work in the publishing industry -one which is struggling to try to keep up with the shortening attention spans of a generation that consumes most of its media from a 2x4” screen. It’s a frightening place to be, and I’m not sure any publishers have got it figured out. How can you monetize the content you offer on a mobile platform without having so much advertising that you look like a porn site? One of our most communicated corporate goals is to keep users on our site for a longer period of time, and another is to keep them coming back. How can you keep people on your website when there is an endless stream of information available to them from thousands of sources?
A few weeks ago, I attended a research session in which we followed a 20 year old young lady as she navigated our website. The facilitator was tasked with gently guiding her towards a particular area of the site. It was painful to watch. The subject would just barely click on the area of or site on which we wanted her feedback when something would distract her and she would open up another tab, on another website altogether. It was like watching a hummingbird flit from one flower to another and wondering of she’d ever get enough nectar to survive. She is our typical consumer and she scares the daylights out of me.
I don’t know how many iterations our business model can endure. I’m not 100% convinced that even if attained our corporate goals will ever be profitable. I’m sure glad that the task of figuring this out is above my pay grade.