January 18, 2023
Digital fatigue is a term used to describe the feeling of exhaustion and apathy that comes from being overwhelmed by too much digital media. It has become increasingly common in recent years, as technology advances and more people use their devices for a variety of purposes. With so many social networks, streaming services, and messaging platforms to choose from, it can be difficult to keep up with all of them. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and drained, which can ultimately lead to digital fatigue.
Times, and people, are changing
Gen Z is often thought of as being addicted to their phones, and obsessed with technology and social media. However, there is a new trend catching on with this age group - flip phones.
A freshman at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign started this trend with a TikTok video. Her name is Sammy Palazzolo and she, along with her friends, is taking the Y2K aesthetic to a new level. Sammy said every single problem they had on a night out stemmed from their smartphones. This led to the whole group of friends getting flip phones and only storing each other’s phone numbers. Now they can call each other and take photos while also avoiding the negativity that can come along with social media and smartphones. Now on a night out, they are connecting with new people and simply enjoying the moment, together.
The original video where Sammy described the reasoning for the flip phone, has over 14 million views and the hashtag #bringbackflipphones has nearly 25 million views. Does this mean digital fatigue is impacting Gen Z? Or is this just a short-lived trend? Only time will tell!
Digital marketing vs. digital fatigue
Digital fatigue can have a major impact on marketing initiatives. Since people may not be engaging with their digital devices as much due to feelings of exhaustion, companies will likely see lower engagement rates for their campaigns. The average person’s attention span is only 8 seconds, and with digital fatigue on the rise, this can lead to lower click-through rates and conversions, as well as less ROI from digital marketing campaigns.
A study conducted by Squarespace found that 92% of Gen Z multitask while browsing the internet. Another report stated up to 85% of all age groups participate in media multitasking. For marketers, this means you must assume that your ads will be skimmed, at best.
Traditional marketing still works
Traditional marketing methods have remained effective in reaching a large target audience despite the popularity of digital media. Direct mail marketing has a response rate of 5% to 9%. That is much higher than the response rate of digital media tools. Print media such as magazines, catalogs, and newspapers can also provide an effective way to reach customers through visuals, while radio can be used to deliver personalized messages in a timely manner.
In addition, traditional marketing methods are powerful tools for creating a lasting impression with potential customers. These mediums not only provide an opportunity to engage potential customers visually but also allow for a more emotional connection that is harder to achieve in the digital space.
It’s also important to note that traditional marketing methods often have a lower cost than digital marketing, as they don't require as much technology or personnel. This makes them an ideal option for small businesses with limited budgets.
Fight fatigue with omnichannel marketing
To combat digital fatigue and an insanely short attention span, marketers should focus on an omnichannel marketing approach that doesn’t rely solely on digital marketing tools. With omnichannel marketing, you are putting the customer at the center of your campaign, reaching them across many channels and relaying the same, consistent message. This allows you to create an approach that is easy to interact with and doesn’t require too much effort on the customer’s part. For example, campaigns should be designed to provide quick, digestible bits of information that don’t require users to read lengthy articles or watch long videos. Additionally, it can help to offer personalized content and experiences, as this can be more engaging than generic messaging that feels "one-size-fits-all." Finally, marketers should be mindful of how often they’re contacting their target audiences and adjust their frequency accordingly. By taking these steps, companies can help to reduce digital fatigue, create meaningful connections and improve the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Choose your channels wisely
It's clear that digital fatigue is becoming a problem more and more people are dealing with, making it an important issue to consider when it comes to marketing strategies. While some traditional methods may still be more effective in driving conversions, it's crucial for marketers to use both traditional and digital marketing strategies for an omnichannel approach. This will help to combat digital fatigue and maintain high engagement rates by delivering a cohesive message that breaks through the clutter. With some creative thought, you can create successful marketing campaigns that make customers feel heard.