Attention spans shrank by a third between 2000 and 2015, according to a recent study. Despite that fact, attention can be sustained for long periods of time—sometimes.
For example, when a three-hour movie has viewers hooked, it can leave them begging for more. The secret is to speak the language of the brain like whiteboard animation does.
Whiteboard animation videos are consistently outperforming the most popular video marketing formats.
But in the world of video marketing, your customers’ attention spans need more than your attention. Your content also needs to lead to retention and, most importantly, motivate customer action and a desire to make the material go viral.
The Science Behind Attention Spans
When whiteboard animation videos unite the latest discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, and marketing research, they can become one of the most lucrative mediums in your Web marketing toolkit.
Whiteboard animation videos can be used as highly effective explainers and building tools for conversions and customer relationships.
Let’s look at the science behind attention spans.
1. Simplicity secures highly focused attention
Cartoons, which are a non-photorealistic style of whiteboard animation, capture and sustain viewers’ attention, according to recent experiments. That results in higher conversion rates than other popular video formats.
That conversion effectiveness may be rooted in geon psychology theory. To make sense of the world, our brains automatically “cartoonize” photorealistic objects to more simplistic 2-D and 3-D shapes.
The simpler the object is, the less effort the brain needs to process and relate to the image. That simplicity sharpens the brain’s focus and frees it up for other processing tasks, such as absorbing your marketing message.
Moreover, we are all hard-wired from infancy to pay a phenomenal amount of goal-directed attention to hands. Custom whiteboard designs that use a real-life whiteboard artist’s hand to simplify and focus attention take viewers on a visual storytelling journey that prevents wandering attention and ensures that viewers seamlessly absorb the message.
2. Metaphors maximize memory retention and universal understanding
The award-winning professor Dr. Richard Wiseman was one of the first people to demonstrate (via an online experiment) that facts, figures, marketing messages, and suggestions can be more deeply ingrained and retained in the brain than other video formats.
One main reason why people remember the content in whiteboard videos so well is that they speak the language of memory in the brain—metaphors.
Research suggests that when we are asleep after a long day of learning, the brain presents and integrates memories and facts from our day into a figuratively interconnected and mnemonic compositional whole for long-term memory retention and future memory retrieval.
Top-notch, effective whiteboard animation involves the skillful creation of visually and audibly presenting key information using metaphors. That serves up information in a brain-ready format, making it a prime target for memory retention.
However, be aware that if the viewers don’t get your metaphor, active-thinking networks fire up in the brain to make sense of it all. Doing so diverts attention away from absorbing and retaining your message.
3. Whiteboard animation ignites emotion-fueled mentalizing and a desire to share, share, and share
Though whiteboard animation videos sustain attention and promote learning through sparking dopamine-rich emotions (e.g., excitement, curiosity, shock, and surprise), those emotions are also a key reason that whiteboard videos are statistically proving to be among the hottest items for viral sharing online.
Dr. Wiseman’s research demonstrates that whiteboard viewers (compared to talking head viewers) are 3X more likely to share that video on social media and twice as likely to both recommend and buy the service.
We have a built-in desire to share content that sparks these kinds of emotions. When presented with an idea in any format, a specific network in our brains dedicates itself to figuring out what we think other people will feel about it. That is known as the “mentalizing network.”
Research suggests that the more a whiteboard animation video can get viewers’ emotionally wired mentalizing networks fired up, the more likely viewers are to share that video. Viewers also have a higher chance of successfully getting a friend to take on the idea, too.
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The attention, memory, emotion, and mentalizing networks in the brain are hooked up to decision-making and motivational centers that control our actions.
By designing a fully customizable whiteboard video, you are harnessing the potential to set all those networks on fire, successfully inspiring and promoting customer action.