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Problem Solved #24: Mars' neuroscientist explains the two-second online engagement rule

Have we got your attention?

To mark the launch of our new manifesto – setting out The Drum’s editorial mission to help readers solve their problems – we’re christening today Solutions Day on And to set the tone, over the course of 24 hours our team of worldwide journalists will be spotlighting 24 recent examples of times when our industry demonstrated its remarkable talent for solving problems.

Problem: People have no patience for ads, faced with bombardment and retargeting online they're tuning out.

Solution: Marketers need to cut to the chase and, when possible, make consumers feel something in an extremely short window. Take it from Mars.

Mars shares key findings from one of the largest, on-going neuroscience studies in the world. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Marketers have two seconds to capture consumers' attention in the digital realm.

  • The key is to draw attention and then create an emotional connection. The two together are the magic formula for triggering impulse purchases.

  • Don’t trick your customers. Attention too often becomes the element tricking consumers into watching your ads. This will backfire.

  • You need to strike at peak attention. Otherwise they will forget you.

  • Don’t forget the art. Science is great but it doesn’t create emotion.

“You don't go to the store with gum on your shopping list,” explains Sorin Patilinet, global consumer marketing insights director at Mars.

“We want to reach as many people as possible to build this memory structure, which will be triggered at the point of purchase, especially since half of our categories are mostly impulse buys like chocolate and gum.”

Read more Problem Solved articles in our Solutions Day hub.

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