Engagement is Dead. The New Metric is Attention.

Guest post by Carrie Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media and author of the book “Work It: Secrets for Success from the Boldest Women in Business

Title image of article: Audience faces stage. Text reads "Engagement is dead. The new metric is attention."

At the dawn of social media (2004 if you start at Facebook, 1997 if you are a Six Degrees purist), the mark of personal popularity was friend count. You wanted to make new friends so you could build up your network.

In 2006, Facebook launched the News Feed while Twitter joined the party with a 140-character limit, but the real breakthrough didn’t happen until 2009. That was the year Mark Zuckerberg rolled out the Like button–and lo, the miracle of direct, measurable consumer engagement came to be.

For the next five years, friend/fan count and engagement became the currency of social media. Without the option of paid ads, social was a purely earned media platform that brands were forced to approach just like any other teenager: start a page, build a following, post content, get engagement.

Engagements were valuable not just because they validated a brand’s social existence, but because each engagement generated a news item that was shared to friends’ feeds. This was the only way, within the platform, for brands to reach new people outside of their fan base.

All of the social networks encouraged brands to post as frequently as possible, hungry for content that would keep their users entertained. Facebook actually penalized accounts that did not post at least once a day. Understandably, brands took their cues and posted often to increase engagement.

In 2013, the first social advertising became available on Facebook. Not much changed at first other than fan acquisition and paid engagement getting supercharged with incoming cash. But eventually, two important things happened.

First, Facebook realized it was giving away what it wanted brands to pay for via organic reach. This led to Reachaggedon. In less than a year, organic reach for brands dropped from 10-15% to below 1%, rendering most fan bases largely irrelevant.

The second important event was that Facebook discovered it couldn’t prove the ROI on engagement. The problem was (and is) that people willing to engage with a brand are not always the most valuable customers, and vice versa. Plenty of loyal customers are ready and willing to buy your product, but have zero interest in engaging with your brand’s social ads—or any social ad—ever.

By running a campaign optimized for engagement, a marketer is instructing Facebook to:

  • Serve the designated ads to people it knows tend to engage with branded content.
  • Actively exclude everyone else, including current or potential customers.

Hypothetically, let’s assume (very generously) that 50% of a brand’s customers are willing to engage with an ad. This means that every engagement campaign excludes at least half of all potential customers.

That’s definitely not a smart business strategy. But if not engagement, what social metric does drive business results at the top of the sales funnel?

Interestingly, the answer is something close to a GRP or impression. Facebook calls it the Brand Awareness objective and measures it via Estimated Ad Recall Lift (EARL): the number of people who are likely to remember your ad two days after seeing it.

The exact formula for EARL is secret, but what it all boils down to is relative attention. The following example scenarios* help explain the concept:

  • A 13-year-old is a hyper-fast scroller and spends an average of 100 milliseconds eyeing each piece of content. If she spends just half a second (500 milliseconds) on your ad, Facebook deems that she has paid attention.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, you have an aging Boomer who spends an average of 30 seconds eyeing everything in her feed. When served an ad, she spends 31 seconds on it. This is not significantly more attention, so Facebook notes the impression but does not count it toward a lift in Brand Awareness.

*the numbers below are illustrative and do not indicate how Facebook actually performs the calculations.

For marketers who use social for non-DR purposes, the message is clear. Fans and engagement remain something unique to social and are fundamental to why people use those platforms. They will continue to have value. Focusing solely on those two metrics, however, can severely limit the potential of the social medium.

Instead, marketers should focus on investing in good content that grabs attention and stops the thumb. Pair that with the right paid strategy to reach the right people and that’s what will earn brands the best return on their social investment.

Social Fresh

Capture and Hold Audience Attention with a Bold Proclamation

Quick Copy Tip

If you’ve studied copywriting, you know the purpose of the headline is to get people to click and start reading. And your opening copy needs to continue that momentum all the way to the offer or conclusion.

One way to do that is to make a bold, seemingly unreasonable assertion in your title or headline. A proclamation so jarring that the right person can’t help but keep reading, listening, or watching to see where you’re going with it.

As far as I can tell, copywriter John Forde (whose site tagline is, not coincidently, “Learn to sell or else …”) was the first to define the Proclamation Lead:

A well-constructed Proclamation Lead begins with an emotionally-compelling statement, usually in the form of the headline. And then, in the copy that follows, the reader is given information that demonstrates the validity of the implicit promise made.

This type of lead works for both sales copy and persuasive content. Let me give you a couple of examples.

Forde illustrates the Proclamation Lead with a direct mail report that is ultimately selling an alternative health newsletter. Written by Jim Rutz, the piece immediately startles and tempts the prospect with a bold statement:

Read This Or Die

Today you have a 95% chance of eventually dying from a disease or condition from which there is already a known cure somewhere on the planet. The editor of Alternatives would like to free you from that destiny.

The copy continues not by jumping to the offer, but instead by backing up the proclamation. In the process, the piece systematically removes the objections raised in the reader’s mind about the scientific validity of the bold assertions.

If you feel that example is a little too “direct marketing” for your audience, consider this from respected best-selling author Austin Kleon:

Steal Like an Artist:
10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

It’s the exact same technique for a completely different target market. The intent is to startle people interested in becoming more creative, while concurrently tempting prospects to further explore what Kleon means by “steal.”

The first example is copy designed to make a sale. The second example is content (a book) that is the product itself. But the reason why both “sell” is the same.

The key to these bold headlines and leads is the immediate emotional response provoked by the assertion. More importantly, that emotional trigger leads to immediate motivation to investigate further — and that’s what every copywriter aims to achieve right from the beginning.

That’s because implicit in the proclamation is a promise. In the Rutz and Kleon examples, you’re promised that you’ll learn about hidden cures to common diseases and the way creativity really works, respectively.

How do you come up with these types of bold beginnings? John Forde says they’re found via research, not conjured up out of the ether — and I agree.

For example, people often assume creativity comes from introspection, perhaps during long sessions of gazing out the window.

But if you research how artists throughout history actually work, creativity is much more about starting with something already out in the world — often the work of someone else — and making it into something new.

Austin Kleon discovered that truth, and then boiled it down to its shocking essence. After all, it was Picasso who famously said, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.”

That said, the proclamation approach is not always the right one for every situation. For example, I could have titled this article:

Read This Unless You Want to Starve

But that would have been lame, so I didn’t. There are plenty of other headline and lead approaches that also work well, so that headline wouldn’t be accurate or appropriate.

If you find a counterintuitive truth that’s relevant to your persuasive aim, however, you might just see if you can turn it into an almost unreasonably bold assertion that works wonders. But remember, don’t steal specific copy approaches (in the artistic sense) unless you’re sure you can perfectly tailor them for your audience or prospect.

The post Capture and Hold Audience Attention with a Bold Proclamation appeared first on Copyblogger.


How to Retain Your Customer’s Attention Throughout the Onboarding Process

Onboarding never ends.

Some SaaS teams may approach onboarding as an activity - a one-time event for each consumer.

However, it’s time to change your perspective. Consider onboarding as an ongoing process that continues beyond initial setup.

Whether it’s teaching loyal consumers about new integrations or training newbies about your dashboard, it’s vital that you have their undivided attention.

John Waldron of markITwrite believes that the onboarding stage is “one of the most perilous phases in the whole conversion process.”

So, don’t lose customers just because you failed to capture your audience’s attention. Here are four techniques to get your team started:

1. Offer Ongoing Training

Every customer is different.

Some will adapt quickly to your software. They will learn every feature in one day and possibly point out inefficiencies in your system.

On the other hand, other customers will take longer to learn your platform. They may desire a step-by-step guide to understand everything. And they may need additional content resources to be successful.

To serve both types of consumers, segment training programs based on the customers’ behaviors. This gives everyone an opportunity to learn according to his or her needs. Moreover, you retain their attention.

“Proactive customer success training is delivered through online courses and on-demand training designed to get your new customers up to speed from acquisition to activation in as short as possible timeframe,” says Miranda Lievers Chief, Customer Officer of Thinkific.

Hubspot offers their customers the option to refresh their learning. The inbound marketing software company has a YouTube playlist dedicated just for product tutorials.


Visage creates training with the help of strategic partnerships. For example, the data visualization company teamed up with Hubspot to help their users tell better stories with visuals.


However, be mindful not to push your customers towards training. It should be at their pace, not yours.

“You should be careful not to take progressive onboarding too far. Let the customer navigate in his or her own time. There shouldn’t be a need to provide hints on every screen. If you excessively prompt new customers with obvious hints, you risk annoying or distracting your customers,” writes Hannah Levenson, Community Manager at Appsee.

Keep your customers focused. Engage them with ongoing training.

2. Leverage Multiple Communication Channels

Years ago, it took months to communicate with someone. But today, we live in a highly-connected society. And we can talk to someone in a matter of seconds.

In addition, there are various forms of communication channels available to us. With so many ways to get our brand message across, teams forget that the consumer is the one with the ultimate decision.

“By giving people a choice how to reach you, you make your website more user friendly and can drive more leads and sales. Users get to choose the way to communicate that’s most convenient for them, which makes it easier to connect with you and further the relationship,” states Corey Pemberton is a copywriter and marketer.

Experiment with different communication channels, such as text, in-app messaging, and email. If you don’t, your team may risk losing the customer’s interest.

Shopify offers support services via email, live chat, and phone.


Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand, says, “Leveraging multiple channels […] allows you to appeal to a customer’s channel preferences while delivering a highly personalized message that will positively impact results.”

Mobile platforms are a popular platform for customer support, with more than 60% of people using smartphones to connect online. Research also shows that “more than 20% of people using Facebook and Twitter seek information about different products and services.” Thus, it may be time for your SaaS to discuss mobile and social solutions.

And here’s a pro tip: Don’t inundate people with bulletins on a dozen different channels. Choose a few and concentrate on delivering attention-getting messages.

3. Incentivize the Process

People like receiving rewards. From an early age, we’re conditioned to expect incentives for positive behavior.

“Everyone loves new and free stuff, and your users aren’t any different. One of the best ways to adopt users or keep them interested in your software is to offer an incentive,” says Omri Erel, Lead Author & Editor of SaaSAddict Blog.

Similar to grade school when earning a passing score may get you an extra recess, reward your customers with a small token for completing a step in the onboarding process

Take advantage of people’s “need to complete.” It’s a powerful psychological driver in customer engagement.

In our brains, completion equates to success. It gives us a sense of relief and accomplishment.

And it can bring back good memories, like when we completed our high school classes or a certificate program.

Offer that same joy to your users. Add a progress bar to the onboarding process.

Each milestone should be simple, yet informative for the customer. You can encourage them to complete their profile or persuade them to learn a new tool.

When setting up an Etsy shop, the brand displays a progress meter showing the next steps in the onboarding process.


It’s essential to reward them for their positive behavior.

“Whether it’s a discount, promotion, or an enticing statistic to show how the steps you suggest they follow will boost conversions, save them money or any other applicable metric. By providing a relevant incentive, people are much more likely to take action,” states Slava Rudenko, Project Manager and Marketing Executive at myTips.

Go the extra mile. Give your customers incentives for choosing your brand.

4. Build Real Relationships

Your SaaS team is told over and over again to build relationships with your customers. But what does that really mean?

For starters, don’t treat your customers like a number. Referring to someone as Ticket #12438 isn’t going to retain your customer’s attention.

Learn more about their goals and interests to create a better customer experience. That means gathering data from several sources.

“The key is to use the quantitative data that you are collecting through your analytics tools, and the qualitative data that you are collecting through customer interaction and in-context messaging to create a individualized experiences that excite and delight your users,” states Brian Rogers, former Director of Customer Success at Evergage.

Real relationships also translate into unbelievable customer service. No one likes waiting 12 days for their concerns to be addressed.

“New clients are going to have a lot of questions. If you want to earn their trust, you need to be prepared with quick responses. Minimal response time should be something you strive to deliver, and it’s even more important when your clients are still getting to know you,” writes, Ron Williams, Business Success Strategist at ConnectWise, Inc.

Customers need a reason to stick around. A good product is a start, but an authentic relationship is better.

Onboard With Purpose

Customer onboarding is an integral part of the conversion process. It’s the difference between higher retention or higher churn.

Offer users ongoing training to help them easily navigate your platform. Deliver customer messages on multiple communication channels. And focus on building genuine relationships rooted in value.

Retain customer attention. Onboard with purpose.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.

The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

The Embrace: Creating Experiences that Nurture Attention into Engagement


Attention is a currency. We spend it. We earn it. And, sometimes we waste it.

Experience is something special. It’s all the rage at the moment, yet, we often talk about it as is if it’s a thing. But, as we know, deep down, the best things in life aren’t things, they’re experiences. One of things that makes it so hard to make experience a strategic and actionable part of our work is that the word “experience” means so many things to so many different people across so many aspects of the organization.

We continue to think operationally, which prevents us from feeling empathetically, which stops us from acting experientially

To CMOs, experience may be something creative, whether it’s a campaign, a viral video, an online journey, an event, a physical escapade, fantastic packaging, etc.

To CX, it could be an optimized and frictionless customer journey, better customer support, more personalized CRM programs, et al.

To those CDOs and CIOs, experiences could be technological, providing a modern foundation for engagement throughout the customer lifecycle.

To product designers, experiences are great products.

The truth is that experience is all of these and more. It’s everything. And, more importantly, it’s measured by the sum of each moment and its moving parts, not individually or departmentally. People don’t see departments, they see one brand.

Your brand promise can no longer be rooted in clever wording or creative design and marketing. It must come alive in the experiences that you design and how they come to life in each moment of truth and measured holistically from a human-centered perspective.

Again, experiences are not things. Experiences are emotional. They’re reactions to important moments and are something that’s felt and in turn, acted or not acted up in a variety of ways…great, bad or indifferently.

Today, experiences are largely left to chance.

I believe that the best relationships moving forward will be guided by experience architecture so that we shape those moments, nurture reactions and This means that experience must be…







Mutually beneficial





Experience takes design. How people feel throughout their lifecycle takes an integrated approach to experience architecture. It takes a shift in perspective, collaboration and innovation to do things differently and experientially.

Start with a vision for what an experience could be…how it engages the senses and the responses and reactions that unfold in each moment and also as one masterpiece. Think about those moments as the embrace…that moment when you my attention and I have yours and together we create unforgettable experiences together.

The experience is yours to design…

Connect with Brian on Social Media

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV

Experience is everything…read my new book, X!


Brian Solis

Brilliant Billboards: Genius Campaigns that Captured Attention

In this day and age of digital advertising you might be tricked into thinking that there’s simply no place anymore for traditional billboard advertising in a way that’s effective. But, as the following examples prove, there’s still room for genius and creativity when it comes to this old form of publicity. So while you set about building your next digital marketing strategy in front of your trusty Dell, remember that sometimes the old way of doing things can be just as effective.

Formula Toothpaste


Created to illustrate Formula Toothpaste’s slogan of “builds strong teeth”, this billboard, appearing in Indonesia, plays on the theme by having the man in the image itself appear to be pulling the billboard away from its structure. Simple yet arresting, the turned corner really catches the eye and draws attention to the product held up in white space.

Berger Sky

Another similarly themed billboard that shows a single protagonist interacting with the structure itself, this example, from India’s JWT agency, uses a different optical illusion to make it appear as if the ad itself is being painted over and fading into the background of the sky. Advertising paint, this piece really helps accentuate Berger’s slogan; “Natural Finish Colours”.


Related: 42 Examples of Clean Graphic Design for Print Marketing


DHL Maze


American courier company DHL really drives home their image as hard-working and stopping at nothing to get your delivery to you in time. Thanks to this brilliant ad, that actually features an invisible conveyor belt within the billboard itself, the red ball sequentially travels through the gigantic maze on repeat, “always” finding “the right way”.



Indonesia features again as a hotbed of billboard advertising, this time capitalizing on one of the capital Jakarta’s more common features, its mass of cabling suspending over roads and buildings. Used to highlight Panasonic’s nose hair trimmer, this billboard’s positioning behind power lines really show how much the figure in the ad really needs to use the product. Both genius and funny.



Toy manufacturer Hotwheels really pulled this one out of the creative bag while using very strategically placed billboard space to give the optical illusion of a bridge having a crazy a loop-the-loop section of road just like their toys themselves. Named “curl” this campaign fits right in with Hotwheels fun and extreme-racing themed brand image.

The Economist


Famous newsstand magazine The Economist took out some prime billboard space in the heart of London to raise the profile at the height of the print publishing crisis a few years back. Interactive, 3-dimensional and simply executed, passersby making their way across or under the billboard cause the bulb to light up thanks to a sensor. Reinforces the idea that reading The Economist can help create some key ideas.

Who said billboards had to be boring? Hopefully some of these successful campaigns can help inspire you to think about marketing your business with a bit of panache and punch.

The post Brilliant Billboards: Genius Campaigns that Captured Attention appeared first on SpyreStudios.


Guest Post: Mounting – Drawing attention to the intentionally disguised

This week our blog post is by Sophie Richards, our Fabric of India Exhibitions Assistant, who gives us some behind-the-scenes insight into what you hopefully won’t notice during your visit! 

I’m Sophie, the Exhibitions Assistant on The Fabric of India. I haven’t contributed to the blog before, but I am in the background of several photos where it looks like I am playing on my phone – I promise I’m not! I’m photographing the object, or details of the mounting, to keep as a reference and to show to any members of the team who might not be present.

I spend a large amount of time at the moment discussing the mounting of the objects. Mounting is how we display the objects, how they are held in place or protected whilst in the exhibition, and it is something that has to be discussed for each of the 200+ objects in the show. Mounts should respond to the conservation needs of the object as well as the design aesthetic of the exhibition. Textiles, it transpires, are very high maintenance. Words like sympathetic are used, things must not put pressure on an object, it must never be stressed, it should be supported and comfortable. Sometimes it is necessary for a textile to be relaxed.

Sometimes this is as simple as placing a piece of Melinex (an inert transparent film) beneath an object as a barrier to isolate it from another material such as a table top. Other mounts involve scaffolding and ingenious ways of absorbing parts of the object that we don’t have room to display.

Different exhibitions and different designers have different approaches to mounts, but frequently, and this is the case with The Fabric of India, the preference is for mounts to be inconspicuous – invisible if at all possible. This post aims to break something of that fourth wall and let you in on the discussions we have on the details that ideally, no-one will notice. Disclosure – since I began working on exhibitions and displaying collections I now can’t go into a gallery without seeing the mounts when I see the objects. This is the sort of thing that once it’s pointed out to you, you can’t ‘un-see’ it. So if you want the mounts to stay invisible, stop reading NOW.

Roller mock-up in studio © V&A Textile Conservation

In this post I’m going to focus on rollers – there will hopefully be a follow up post on some of the larger, more challenging mounts soon to come.

There will be loads of rollers in The Fabric of India. They are one of the ways of displaying fabric from a wall that allows the fabric to hang and drape whilst supported. This is an image of a roller in action in one of our mock ups, followed by a close up of the roller end.

A roller mock-up © V&A Textile Conservation

A roller mock-up © V&A Textile Conservation

Roller end showing stoppers and brackets © V&A Textile Conservation

Roller end showing stoppers and brackets © V&A Textile Conservation


We use cardboard rollers, these look like oversized kitchen roll tubes. These are covered with Melinex film, polyester padding and then with a display fabric. As part of the design process Gitta (our exhibition designer)chose fabrics that matched the walls of the different exhibition spaces. You can read more on about this process in this earlier post.

At the end of the roller is a solid circle ‘stopper’, most of this will be covered by the brackets, but it still has to be considered. It can be made from Perspex, wood, or metal, with each having pros and cons for the conservation, technical services, and design teams, who will be pouring over the samples below, to find an appropriate material and colour match. The same discussion happens for the brackets, which are subject to a different set of pros and cons. For those who are extra interested – Perspex, an inert material, easy to shape, but not a great variety of colours, vs metal, nice and thin, can be painted in a variety of shades, but the paint can scratch during installation.

Textile samples © Gitta Gschwendtner

Textile samples © Gitta Gschwendtner

Perspex samples © Richard Ashbridge

Perspex samples © Richard Ashbridge









There are a couple of secrets to inconspicuous mounts. In the past transparent Perspex has been popular, but transparent doesn’t really mean ‘invisible’. The trick is to find not something that the eye can’t see, but something that it doesn’t. This can mean that it blends to its surroundings, like the roller fabric, or becomes part of a visual language within the exhibition space. Our starting point has been picking a colour for all of the supportive metalwork in the exhibition, this includes the brackets for the rollers, the bases of the mannequins and any other visible metal supports. The idea is that the colour complements the objects without stealing the show and that as it is used consistently around the objects, the visitor quickly becomes used to ignoring it and so no longer ‘sees’ anything in that colour. Gitta has chosen a dark grey, on its own it is not discrete, and it doesn’t blend with the bright wall colours, but in the low lighting of the exhibition space it disappears like a shadow around the splendour of the objects.

Rollers are pretty time consuming and bravo to the team of conservators and technicians who have been preparing them for the exhibition (you can see a growing pile in the image below), but in terms of mounts they are quite straightforward once all the details are chosen. I’m hoping to spend a future post introducing the challenges of mounting more complex objects.

In the meantime, next time you’re in an exhibition – spare a thought for the details that we’re hoping you won’t notice.

Working on rollers © V&A Textile Conservation

Working on rollers © V&A Textile Conservation

The exhibitions team will be posting again soon – next time on tackling the challenges of our largest objects (THEY’RE REALLY BIG!).


consumer attention span

"Attention Span" cartoon
In 2000, the attention span of the modern consumer was 12 seconds. It’s now 8 seconds. The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.

Marketers are in the business of trying to catch (and hold) people’s attentions. That has always been a challenge. But it’s only getting harder.

Thus the the trend toward “snackable content”, a marketing buzzword for breaking marketing communication into really small engaging pieces. The rise of infographics and of videos that can fit into a 6-second Vine are part of this trend. Marketers are experimenting with a lot of ways to produce short attention span theatre.

But I don’t think “snackable content” is just about brevity. What sometimes gets overlooked is the importance of taking a serial approach to content. Rather than an isolated one-off (like an infographic), I think that content should be thought of as mini-series, where each piece may be bite-sized, but over time, there’s a common thread. If the content is good enough, people look forward to the next installment.

My favorite example of this is still Oreo’s 100-day “Daily Twist” campaign from two years ago. To celebrate Oreo’s 100th anniversary, Oreo released a new image every day combining an image of their cookie with a spin on pop culture, from Gay Pride to Elvis Week to the anniversary of Pong. Leave it to a snack brand to nail snackable content.

This is one of the things I love about the medium of cartoons. Our content marketing studio has been working on a fun project with Google to help introduce a new book from Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg. We parsed out 15 of the top insights from their book, How Google Works, and then illustrated them in cartoons that they shared, two a week, leading up to the book launch.

Cartoons have always have a serial dimension to them (Peanuts ran daily for 50 years). But I think that the “serial” dimension can extend to any form of content.

As marketers, we can’t fight the incredibly shrinking consumer attention span. It just forces us to get better at telling our story, and connecting with our audiences in ways that matter to them.

(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed cartoon print. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)

Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist