Scrolling and swiping have become an integral part of our daily reality, and this happened faster than with any other phenomenon in history. Telephones with screens sensitive to touch have been with us just a little over a decade, and yet we already scroll as if we were born with that ability.  

An average user scrolls over 8 kilometers over the course of the year. So, if you are 25 today, and you got the first smartphone when you were 13 (or earlier), that means that you already “ran” the distance between Novi Sad to Belgrade. 

Why can’t we stop?

As behavioral scientist Winschenk, Ph.D., puts it, the dopamine-seeking reward loop is to blame for everything: “When you bring up the feed on one of your favorite apps the dopamine loop has become engaged. With every photo you scroll through, the headline you read, or link you go to you are feeding the loop which just makes you want more”.

Stopping doesn’t come easy because our brain doesn’t have a button for that, and the dopamine loop lacks the sense of ever being satiated. Logically, social media networks are very well aware of this human trait, so the feeds don’t seem to have the end, and we can scroll as much as we want.  

Thanks to these small scrolling devices— smartphones, humanity is exposed to a larger volume of information than ever before. In fact, nowadays, we’re exposed to more information in a single day than the person from the 15th century was during its whole life. The battle for the attention of users is getting fiercer, especially knowing that during scrolling, the average user is exposed to once piece of content for only 1.7 seconds. Taking this into account, the answer to the questions of “why nobody likes our content” becomes self-evident— the followers simply didn’t notice it. This means that the main goal of digital marketers is to halt user strolling at the right moves when the attention is on the content we so painstakingly created. 

Here is what we need to know to create a scroll-stopping content:


Yes, I know– the first reaction you have is that I’m writing about generic stuff, but how often did you really dedicate time to researching (and getting to know) your target audience?

Most often, we’re looking at generic content that seems pretty to the client or its creator. It doesn’t have a clear message and isn’t directed at anyone in particular. But, the purpose of our social media presence isn’t to appear pretty. The purpose is to build our brand, connect with the community (target audience), and in most cases, boost the sales of our products or services. So, in order to establish that connection with the community, we have to learn more about it. 

Knowing your target audience is necessary for developing a content production strategy. A great first step to that familiarity is to turn to your existing fans and discover what is it they like, what disturbs them, what kind of questions they post, and what is it the potential buyer wants to know before purchasing. The content you create should answer these questions, meaning address the needs and dilemmas of your fans. Providing answers not only shows that you care about the community but allows you to become an expert for a particular topic. 

If you have multiple target audiences, don’t try to explain everything to everyone with one post. That kind of message will just get lost in the feeds of your fans. Instead, get to know each one of your audiences, carefully tailor messages to them, and distribute them separately. That way, each target group will receive what it wants and have a feeling you’re tending to them specifically. 

2. Knowing the platforms we use to publish content 

Again a general topic?

That may be true, but then why the same mistakes get made again and again, since the earliest stages of social media development. We publish the same content on all platforms and hope that’s going to work. It doesn’t. 

Just like the message we emit has to be tailored to target groups, we also have to create content aligned with specific characteristics of social media networks we use to distribute it.  We can start off the discussion about “aligning content” with post formats and dimensions. If we consider the story about relentless scrolling from the beginning, what are the things that increase our chances of stopping the user with our content? Well, occupying as much of the screen as possible and giving users more time to notice our post. Thus, whenever the social media network permits it, we need to take advantage of vertical formats as opposed to horizontal ones. For instance, 2:1 visuals are lost easily, as users scroll over them. In their place, you can try a 5:1 format that takes much more vertical space and on smaller phones, even the whole screen. The same goes for video content. We often notice 16:9 videos on Instagram feeds and stories, so it’s essential to pay attention to formats when producing those videos, picking 1:1 version for feed and 9:16 for a story. 

The second topic related to “content alignment” is the type of content we post on various channels. For a long time now, Facebook has tolerated everything, but other platforms aren’t as lenient. If we bombard our fans on Instagram with corporate news, we’ll lose some of them rather quickly. Instead of that, we can use Instagram for Employer Branding and give potential employees insights into company life, culture, atmosphere, and our workers. Corporate news we ought to save for LinkedIn. 

The point is to check out yourself what types of content worked for you in the past across different channels…you’ll learn a lot from that. And….it’s important to be on content-distributing social media channels every day. By doing that, we can learn more about the platforms and their particularities. 

3.Creating quality and appealing content 

When we know what we want to communicate, to whom, and where, what’s left is to figure out how. 

Due to oversaturation on social media, the quality of content has become the utmost priority. But, that doesn’t mean that every quality, a high-resolution photo will attract your fans, merely that it’s the minimum requirement we have to meet. When researching formats for the posts on different platforms, mind the minimum dimensions those platforms recommend— they are often not enough to support proper rendering on smartphone displays. For instance, Facebook states minimum dimensions of visual content are 400x500px. Just imagine a visual piece 400px wide on a screen that is 2.5 times as wide (1080px) — that’s not going to be appealing or convey quality. And considering that in Serbia, the majority of users access social media via mobile devices, it’s necessary to ensure all content we create displays on those devices as well as possible. 

Apart from high resolution, it’s essential to keep an eye on the authenticity of the photographs we use. The times of generic stock photos are passing. We have to invest a bit more in our creative process and content production, increasing the use of real-feel photography. Unlike traditional media, social networks are very much alive, and they call for content that is alive too. This suggests the content needs to portray real events and tell a story, without too much “makeup” on. Whether we take the photos with phones ourselves in an improvised studio or organize a professional photoshoot depends on the budget we have at our disposal. When planning and creating photos, we should bear in mind that they aren’t just “pretty” but also respond to the questions we mentioned earlier, which is to say communicate everything that we want to communicate. So, this is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate to our users all the specific features and benefits of our products, in a creative and easy-to-understand way. For example, let’s say our product features a unique lid that keeps the content inside fresh. This information has to be communicated in a creative manner and stop our users from scrolling. 

Of course, the so-called static posts, which are still the most prevalent format, aren’t just photographs. They can be various infographics, illustrations, quizzes, surveys, quotes, etc. 

In recent times, infographics have become popular on Instagram as well, mostly through Instagram albums…and with suitable topics, they can very easily prevent the fans from scrolling. They also communicate more information in an appealing and simple fashion. One other evergreen type of content that can not only draw attention but also spur sharing are quotes. At first glance, you could say they are outdated, as we’ve been seeing them since the dawn of social media. But, for whatever reason, we relate to them whether they are motivational quotes, thoughts about Monday/Friday, folk wisdom, or something similar. The crucial thing is that the topic is current and tied to our brand. The second most prominent format on social media is video and algorithm updates have given it a vast reach. When talking about video in the context of content that can discourage scrolling, we’re not getting at big corporate or product videos. Still, short animation, stop motion, and other videos that can spice up your approach and garner relevant attention. Irrespective of the video length, it’s key to keep in mind that we have a very short window of opportunity to get users interested and then keep that interest going throughout the rest of the video. What is more, just like in the case of static posts, we need to consider the platforms from the planning stage on, as well as to choose formats that showcase the content in the best light. Finally, we have to synchronize our production efforts with these priorities. You can read more about video marketing here

4.Learning from experience 

Owing to the swift evolution of digital and the frequency of changes, real experience is the best lecturer there when going about scroll-stopping content. That is why we should track the results our content is recording and draw lessons from that, lessons about our target groups, topics, and types of content that got the best community response. 

If you haven’t glossed over this article and you think you can improve your content strategy, get in touch with us.