Four fast tips for thumb-stopping, creative social media posts

24 Apr 2020 in

People thumb through an average of 300 feet of content every day in their feed (the height of the Statue of Liberty). They are making split-second decisions on whether they like your content or whether they’re going to ignore it.

Daniel Upson | Director of Social Media, iProspect

If you have read this much of this sentence, you’ve probably paid attention to it longer than the average paid social ad impression receives. Attention is at a premium on digital channels, as there’s always something entertaining a thumb swipe away. As marketer’s, it’s our job to get someone to pause, think, and act. While you can’t expect every Tweet to lead to a sale, every engagement sits within your broader branding strategy to position yourself at the front of your audience’s mind when they’re considering a purchase, solution, or activity.

In early 2020, we attended Daniel Upson’s (iProspect's Director of Social Media) talk at Digital City Festival in Manchester, which touched on attracting attention on social channels. We found the talk highly useful, and thought we’d share four fast, usable tips in case you weren’t in the crowd too.

Your audience is unique (except when it’s not)

A recent report from iProspect found that text in images improved ad performance across the board by 15%, especially for finance brands. However, the opposite was true in the automotive industry, where petrol heads reacted better when there was minimal/no text on the image.1

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 4.34.22 PM.png

Smiling is another example where, overall, engagement rates were higher if smiling faces were included in images. Finance, again, saw a boost, as well as FMCG brands. But in fashion, non-smiling faces performed better, so don’t expect those Blue Steel pouts or wistful middle-distance gazes to go anywhere yet.

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 4.27.01 PM.png

What this shows is the importance of testing for your specific audience and your industry, not just following the broad wisdom around what most people want.

A moving experience

A study by Facebook using biometric data showed that video and animation captures attention five times longer than a static image.2 In fact, in his talk Daniel identified campaigns they had worked on where A/B tests had shown an 83% reduction in cost-per-lead and 5.6 more leads per £1 spent.

With high quality GIF and short form video tools becoming more and more available, it’s easier than ever to experiment with adding some movement to your posts. On a larger level, when thinking about tactics for campaigns or product lines, make sure you allocate budget and time to build up a library of short, moving videos to cover a range of messages and situations.

Read our recent blog on using video for long-term brand building strategies if you’re interested in learning more.

Don’t be shy with your logo

iProspect’s report on the attention economy contains many interesting discussion points, some mentioned above. But one that may surprise you is that ads which prominently featured a logo actually delivered a spike in attention, rather than eliciting a negative reaction.3

This is corroborated by a Kantar survey where a third of respondents said that seeing the logo of a brand they like would get them to stop scrolling and pay attention.

What’s the story? It depends where it is...

There’s a myth that millennials and modern audiences only have nanosecond attention spans. While you need to treat people’s attention with respect, this is the same group of people who will listen to meandering podcasts, binge watch Game of Thrones, and enjoy epic, three-hour Marvel films.

The truth is, you need to adapt your story to your platform. Understanding where and how people are viewing your content, and reacting to that, will maximise the time they’ll spend engaging it on that specific channel.

Traditionally, stories would follow a well-established arc that was understood in traditional TV advertising for decades. The three-second audition that social media offers means that your narrative arc has to change to pique the viewer’s interest immediately and then take them on a different kind of journey.

Daniel Upson | Director of Social Media, iProspect

The start of a beautiful friendship

Of course, getting attention on social feeds is just one aspect of converting someone to becoming a customer, client, or repeat visitor. You also need to be able to track outcomes from your campaigns too, see how our call tracking integration for Facebook and Instagram could help you.

If you’re a brand who receives sales or support calls, you also need to be making the most out of those too. Download our eBook on turning calls into conversions to receive five tips on steps you can take, including real-world examples.


1) Using AI to uncover the signals that matter, iProspect

2) Moving Pictures: The Persuasive Power of Video, Facebook, (March 8th, 2017)

3) The Attention Economy, iProspect, (June, 2019)

Andy Vale

Andy Vale

Product Marketing Manager
Andy has spent years obsessively analyzing B2B and B2C digital marketing campaigns and technology. Outside of his family, his main loves are Woking FC, his Xbox and his National Trust membership.

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