Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. Her new blog, Engage and Compel, teaches writers, businesses, and advertisers how to effectively engage audiences and drive them to action.

Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. Her new blog, Engage and Compel, teaches writers, businesses, and advertisers how to effectively engage audiences and drive them to action.

Kimberly, what has the new study by comScore discovered about attention spans since the advent of the Internet and social media?
The comScore study discovered commercials must be only five to six seconds to be effective with the short attention span of millennials.

How are the viewing patterns of millennials and people 55 and older different and why is it concerning to businesses and advertisers who are looking to reach millennials and generation Z with their marketing strategies?
comScore found older Americans 55-plus spend twice as much time watching TV as they do viewing content online. In contrast, millennials spend 55 percent of their time viewing videos on the internet. The concern advertisers have is how to reach this segment and how to market effectively in such a brief time span.

What did you write about and predict in your blog Engage and Compel concerning the 2015 study by Microsoft Corp. just a few days before the latest study results came out?
Just a few days before this study came out, I had noted in my blog, Engage and Compel, “attention spans will likely continue to decline as older generations pass away leaving only the younger generations who were raised in the digital age.”
Of course, there's no doubt many others have predicted this as well because it's simple math.
But I found it interesting after all my research and comment that the new study on millennials' attention spans was announced soon after.

Can the attention span decline be found in all forms of media? Does the slight behavioral change in watching more TV as millennials are tracked as they age mean there will be significant changes in millennial patterns that might resemble earlier generations?
It's been suggested by marketing industry experts and others that our brains – and millennials, in particular – are being rewired.
The issues with shorter attention spans apparently are being seen across all forms of media.
CBS did research and found as millennials age into the next segment, there's a slight change in their patterns toward watching more TV. But comScore CEO Gian Fulgoni noted the pattern change isn't enough to indicate millennials will revert to the patterns of today's older generations.
When it comes to video ads, advertisers really need to find ways to grab millennials attention fast and get their message across within a matter of seconds. This is no easy task.
But one positive thing is that millennials are excellent at multitasking.
Therefore, by strategizing and marketing across several platforms, advertisers are more likely to reach millennials.
Online advertisers are also disabling the option for skipping the ads in video on demand.
So far, millennials are willing to wait it out.

What techniques can marketing strategists use to break through the attention span wall and connect with young people more effectively?
Much material geared toward audiences, including millennials, however, is written.
Millennials are obviously visually stimulated, so using plenty of high quality images is crucial.
Writing also needs to be focused.
Millennials aren't going to wade through wordiness or unnecessary or redundant information. Also, content needs to be visually easy to scan through.
This can be done by using plenty of headings and subheadings, bullet points, and bolding key words or phrases.

— Rimsie McConiga