LONDON: Eight in ten consumers forget most of the information in branded content after only three days and more than half can't recall a single detail, according to a new study which advocates the use of a conversational approach.

The Science of Attention report, from presentation platform Prezi, was based on a survey of 2,035 adults in the UK and found that the three most common reasons consumers forget content are irrelevancy (55%), a lack of motivation to remember it (35.7%), and the fact that there is simply too much content to retain (30%).

Distractions (18%) and stress (9%) were far less significant factors, it noted, meaning that the primary reasons for forgetting relate not to external factors but to the content itself.

Content which 'tells the audience something new' was the most memorable, the research said, helping 27% of respondents to remember a brand. This was followed by content which teaches, inspires, or entertains (each 25%).

Almost half (49%) the content which mentions something good that's happened helps consumers to remember it long-term.

In terms of how content is delivered, video was seen as the best format, chosen by 37% of respondents as memorable, followed by written articles (28%), and face-to-face presentations (21%).

"Marketers are wise to the fact that content can be an incredibly powerful influence on perceptions and purchasing decisions," said Spencer Waldron, European regional director for Prezi.

"But in order for content to influence or actually deliver that sale, it needs to both hold the audience's attention and be memorable," he added as he recommended using conversational presentations.

More than three quarters of respondents (77%) felt interactive presentation software would help them remember more information, while almost half (48%) would be convinced to buy from a brand if they felt they interacted and engaged in conversation with them.

"This research found that 87% of people feel that presenters who engage them in conversation will keep them focused and attentive," commented cognitive neuroscientist Dr Carmen Simon.

"Conversations can impact memory because the frequent switching of stimulus between the speakers prevents the brain from habituation and offers novelty. The brain enjoys the buzz of novelty."

Data sourced from Prezi; additional content by WARC staff