Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How to remain visible as news content increases and attention spans decrease 

Written by Naomi Owusu, CEO of Tickaroo 

Recent research suggests British attention spans are declining, with the average UK reader spending only five minutes and thirty seconds to read an article – a twelve-second decrease compared to 2022 research. Furthermore, a fifth of readers spend less than two minutes reading a news article – almost the amount spent brushing one’s teeth. 

Not only are attention spans declining, but in today’s digital age, consumers are enveloped with a non-stop stream of online content. For size, 328.77 million terabytes of online data are created daily. With today’s abundant online content, rapid technological progress, and the growing popularity of social platforms, news consumption habits have changed dramatically. Currently, 26% of 18-34-year-olds prefer bite-sized news updates that are no longer limited to text but include curated audio, visuals, interactive elements, etc, that tell a more captivating story. 

These changes in consumption habits highlight the need for publishers to cover stories that speak to their diverse audiences. Using new formats that mirror digital social behaviour will help produce a variety of fresh topics that resonate with audiences. Audiences are used to finding their niche content on social media, and to lure them to publisher websites, publishers need to be aware of their interests and present them in a way that they are used to consuming.

These ever-changing consumption habits and digital advancements are forcing publishing houses to implement new, innovative methods to keep their audiences engaged – and live blogging may be just the tool needed. 

Leveraging live blogging

Given today’s consumer preference for smaller, bite-sized bits of information replicating the social media experience, live blogs have become a popular format that delivers the best of both worlds. 

Amidst the growing use cases for utilising the live blog format, live blogs have the potential to capture attention with a variety of mixed media, encourage engagement through interactive elements, and retain attention through short-form updates. 

Furthermore, live blogs remain on the publisher’s website versus a social media platform, so readers can’t get lost through aimless scrolling – indeed, the average user spends two hours and thirty minutes scrolling through social media daily. Additionally, the opportunity for a brand to best represent itself is more promising through its website than through social media channels. 

Engaging through live blogging

To cut through the noise and capture the target audience’s attention, publications should consider their audience’s needs, preferences, and communication styles, as different audiences will prefer various topics and ways to engage. 

Live blogging software allows interactive media like surveys, quizzes, and live commenting to be embedded into the publisher’s live blogs. By responding to and engaging with varied interactive content, readers remain entertained and gain a sense of community and connection to the stories – and, in turn, the publisher’s brand. 

Long-term, these interactive posts help increase time spent on the host website. This increases retention and also allows brands to learn more about their audiences’ behaviour, enabling them to provide content and means to engage that interest their specific audience. In fact, live blogs have been known to spur retention rates up to 8x higher than traditional news mediums. 

Storytelling with mixed media 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – visual storytelling is becoming increasingly crucial in capturing and holding attention online. Furthermore, research highlights that social media continues to rise as a primary news source, with 21% of UK adults turning to social for news. 

Live blogs support embedding a mixture of text, videos, graphics, polls, audio clips, and integrated social media posts. These features allow editorial teams to look beyond plain text to paint a unique picture and enable storytelling in a more curated fashion without compromising speed or accuracy. 

Additionally, utilising these features is particularly attractive as it mimics the social media experience today’s consumers crave. By delivering on these preferences, newsrooms can create a significant opportunity not to lose users to social media platforms. 

Short and sweet updates 

With British attention spans steadily declining, it’s no surprise that 26% of 18-34-year-olds currently prefer receiving news updates in short bites of information.  

Live blogs allow editorial teams to publish news updates in curated, bite-sized segments, which is, in turn, far easier for the reader to digest. Live blogs are presented in short, segmented updates or comprehensive overviews. Regardless of the layout, the reader is given accurate, digestible, to-the-point information. 

In a world brimming with new technology and overflowing with online content, publishers must look to new methods to reach their audiences and deliver curated, relevant news. Live blogs and the unique visual and interactive features within their formats pave the way to positioning oneself as an engaging, easy-to-understand, and entertaining news source – perfectly primed to capture the attention of today’s readers.