By Barry Eitel
Audiences typically forget about 90 percent of content just two days after viewing it, according to online content consultant Memzy. This statistic can be hard to stomach as a publisher or advertiser, but it is likely reinforced by lived experience—think back to two days ago. Do you remember the precise content of every article, video, or image you came across on the web?
To complicate matters further, one consumer will remember a different 10 percent slice of content from another since all of our brains are wired uniquely.
Of course, everyone in the industry wants to make all of their content 100 percent memorable to everyone. How can the ratio be increased?
Carmen Simon, a cognitive neuroscientist and founder of Memzy, believes that studies of the brain can help brands create compelling, memorable messaging.
Why do audiences forget the vast majority of the content they view each day? “Because they’re distracted, and because communicators cram too much complex content and too many slides into too short a presentation window,” Memzy says. “So audiences have a hard time staying focused and remembering information—especially when your presentation is done online rather than in person.”
It does not matter if the content in question is a slideshow presentation, blog, marketing campaign, video, or social media ad; there are ways to boost how memorable it is.
“Most content design approaches and communication training programs aren’t that effective because they are based on anecdotal information, personal experiences, or observations—not on scientific information about how the brain works,” the company continues.
In her research for her book Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions, Simon discovered that memorable content focuses on the future, not the past.
“The epiphany I had while conducting research on memory is that memory has evolved not to help us keep track of the past but rather to keep track of the future,” she told Billion Dollar Graphics.
She found that the way to hack our memory is to focus on how we try to remember our intentions for the future, not the way we try to track what happened to us in the past.
“We set up various intentions at the beginning of the day or week and we forget,” Simon said. “Retrospective memory, which is remembering the past, is useful, but prospective memory, which is remembering to act on future intentions, is useful-er. Especially for business. This is because your prospects, customers, family members—anyone who might make decisions in your favor needs to remember you in the future, where decisions happen.”
Fortunately for marketers who want to really break into their consumers’ memories, Simon will be sharing her research this October in Boston at LeadsCon Connect to Convert. She will be giving an important talk, “The Neuroscience of Creating Memorable Content,” that will delve into everything Memzy has discovered.
“Reflecting on our own content, if we want to become memorable, it’s beneficial to keep thinking how we can twist the familiar just enough to get the extra attention without being annoying,” Simon said.