What does TL DR

Tl; dr: What does that actually mean and what does it mean for marketing?

Tl; dr: What does that actually mean and what does it mean for marketing?

Re: publica is one of the most important German digital conferences and has been held annually in Berlin since 2007. Every year the trade fair focuses on a different, currently particularly industry-relevant topic. This year the re: publica under the motto "Tl; dr". But what does that actually mean - and what does tl; dr mean for marketing?

What does tl; dr mean?

Tl; dr is an abbreviation that is frequently used on the Internet and stands for "Too long; didn’t read "(too long, not read). The abbreviation was first used on the Reddit platform, a website where users can post, discuss and rate content. Accordingly, Reddit is a rather text-heavy platform. This is why users introduced the abbreviation tl; dr. On the one hand, the abbreviation is used in the comment area to make other users aware that Posts or comments felt too long become. On the other hand, authors themselves use it to create a Short summary of very long posts and articles to deliver. From Reddit, the abbreviation has now spread across the entire Internet and has become a well-known expression.

Why tl; dr is so important

Today we also speak of the "Generation goldfish": Since the beginning of the Internet, people's ability to concentrate has steadily decreased. In a 2015 study, Microsoft Canada found that the average human attention span was still 12 seconds in 2000 on only 8 seconds in 2013 has decreased. Particularly memorable: if this result was actually correct, people nowadays even have a smaller attention span than goldfish, who come to 9 seconds after all.

Who is to blame that we can no longer concentrate today? The internet, smartphones and the abundance of information that we encounter on the internet every day are certainly partly to blame. On average we use our smartphone 2.1 hours a day, for the 18 to 29 year olds the daily use is even included four hours. Of course, this has many advantages, but also disadvantages. These include overstimulation, dependency and the increasingly poor ability to concentrate.

Tl; dr also applies in marketing

Tl; dr not only stands for “too long; didn’t read ”, but also representative of this development that has been initiated over the past few years. Our usage behavior and, accordingly, our requirements for content have changed. The conclusion we have to draw from this (or the tl; dr version): what is too long is not read.

In 1970 the average consumer received 500 marketing messages a day - today it is 5000. Tl; dr affects the entire Internet and therefore everything that happens on the Internet. Online editors, web designers, marketers, copywriters and generally everyone who wants to win customers, sell products or reach people online, has to rethink - and work according to the principle of tl; dr. Please note:

1. Keep texts short

If tl; dr tells us one thing, it is above all that we ourselves to be brief should. Long texts in Facebook postings and excessive website texts are unfortunately still common. This is certainly appropriate in some cases, but most of the time you have the feeling that the important information could have been said with fewer words. Long texts are exhausting for the recipient and are very likely not to be read. You can save yourself the hassle of writing entire novels. It is better to invest your time in carefully considering what you actually want to say and get to the heart of your key messages.

2. Bring statements to the point

Today it is more important than ever that you have information Communicate clearly, without frills and to the point. Your content must be quickly accessible to the recipient. You also need to use understandable language. In order to reduce content such as texts, social media postings or even videos to the most important things, it often helps to first design a raw version and then shorten it. In this way, you can peel the core message out of the content. Make sure, however, that your content retains the necessary oomph and does not become mere factual lists.

3. Structure content

Of course, specialist articles, reports, detailed articles or long videos still have a right to exist. They are simply necessary for some topics in order to accommodate all the information that is to be conveyed. But if you think, for example, of the longer articles that you have read recently, you will notice that these too have been prepared according to the tl; dr principle. How? Long content is increasingly broken up into small bites, packed in lists, structured with various headings and sub-headings and prepared with info boxes, images, videos and infographics. Structure is the motto here: if there is a lot of information, then it should be prepared in such a way that it can be consumed in small bites.

4. Pictures, videos, infographics

In comparison, videos can be received 60,000 times faster than texts. So we need a lot less mental capacity to receive a video than to read a text. It even says that a minute of video can convey as much information as 1.8 million words.

Of course, you cannot and should not prepare all of your content in video form. Every website and every social media posting needs text to inform recipients and, for example, to provide context. In the tl; dr age, however, you should definitely make sure to use an aA balanced relationship between texts, images and videos to accomplish.
Also note that just like “too long; didn’t read "" too long; didn’t watch "applies. There is also a strong trend towards so-called “snackable” content in videos, i.e. short, easy-to-read videos.

5. Use visual wayfinding

Another measure to implement the tl; dr principle in marketing is show the users the way. This means that your content (whether it is an article, website, social media post or online shop) should always be designed in such a way that the user does what you are aiming for.

In Instagram Stories, for example, this is often implemented in such a way that certain actions how clicks or swipes are triggered by GIFs and other elements. The colorful pictures and animated elements draw the recipient's attention to a button or an action. The "steering" of users is also extremely important in web design. A good website is intuitive to use; the user knows where he is at every point and reaches his destination with as few clicks as possible.

6. First things first

Regardless of what content is involved and in what form it is prepared - its tension curve should be adapted to today's usage and reading habits. According to the Danish researcher Jakob Nielsen, these are now more similar to one another Scanning of texts. The reader's gaze moves over the text in the form of an F. The first sentence is still read, then the view jumps over a few lines to the next paragraph and then only the first few words are scanned.

Content distributors can counteract this with targeted structuring and visualization, but should nevertheless structure texts in such a way that as much as possible remains with the reader. The classic narrative curve must therefore be adapted: Instead of at the end, the most important information should be right at the beginning. Incidentally, this also applies to videos.

7. Pick up readers with tl; dr versions

If you operate a blog or a news site or publish longer content in any other form, you can simply take up tl; dr in its original function by summarizing the essence of a text or article in a few words at the end. For example like this:

tl; dr: Internet users have ever shorter attention spans and less and less desire to receive long content. The development is also relevant for marketing. Here, too, the tl; dr principle should be used today - that is, content should be shortened, structured and made as easy to understand as possible.