Are you using social media as a platform for advertising?

Do you want more people to pay attention to your advertisements?

How you craft your ad affects the amount of attention it gets from the social media users?


Every second, through our five senses, we are bombarded with more than two billion bits of information. These data are filtered by the reticular activating system (RAS), a set of connected nuclei in our brains that decides which data should be delivered to the brain and what should be brushed aside in order to prevent our brain from being overwhelmed.


The ever decreasing attention span of social media forces marketers to understand how to capture the attention of the RAS. Through this article you will learn how to grab the user’s attention with your ad.


1.   Locomotion

Human brain is easily attracted to movement and this can be incorporated into online advertising through the usage of GIFs and Video. For social platform that does not support GIFs or videos, marketer can add an image that shows something moving such as a car or a sprinter because pictures that imply motion without actually moving will activate mirror neurons, which will cause the brain to behave as if the event is in effect happening.

For blog posts, motion can be included not just in the form of GIFs and videos but also other animated elements such as a spinning graph, a jumping button, a flashing icon or a moving background.

A word of caution here is to always remember less is more. When motion is overused, the brain tends to block it out.


2. Create Mystery

Human brain is drawn to mystery and puzzle. Injecting uncertainty and ambiguity into marketing keeps the audience interested. For example, the Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2013 campaign comprises of short, mysterious videos about young models. As the questions are left unanswered, the videos leave the viewer wondering, for instance, what are the models mouthing as their conversations can’t be heard. The video can be watched here.


Another interesting advertisement is that of the rumored Maison Martin Margiela for H&M collaboration. The thirty-second video showed an overhead shot of a man sketching a winter coat, leaving the viewers curious as to what kind of designs will the collection entail. The video can be watched here.

One more attention grabbing commercial comes from La Machine A Voyager, which exhibits a black box in Paris that asked passersby that approach where would they want to go if they can choose to anywhere. When the passersby answer, the black box throws a spectacular show of firework, confetti, music, and the best of all – two men dressed as giant lips handing the passersby a giant ticket to their dream destination. The video can be watched here.

3. Share Neutral Faces

Human brain is naturally attracted to faces, especially neutral faces that require the audience to decipher what is the emotion that the model is trying to portray. This is a common technique used by makeup and fashion industries, such as Jourdan Dunn’s modeling for Maybelline and Hermes Metamorphosis print campaign.


4. Familiarity

The target audience likes something they can relate to and associate with. It can be their hometown, favorite sports team of their beloved ones.


Betabrand utilised this technique well in their advertisement, where they offered their customer a 10% to 20% discount for submitting a picture of themselves via Facebook wearing Betabrand clothing, which attracted their friends who saw the pictures when scrolling down their news feed.



The ability to grab attention is an important skill for marketers and this can be achieved by understanding how the human brain works.