How To Use The AIDA Model In Advertising
You may have heard of the hierarchy of effects theory that marketers often use to influence customer purchase decisions. Within this, there’s a useful framework called AIDA, first coined by American advertising pioneer, Elias St. Elmo Lewis, in 1898.
While several variants of the model have been developed since his time, Lewis’ framework is still the most used model today, more than a century later.
What is AIDA?
AIDA is an acronym for Attention/Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. The basis of this theory suggests that consumers move through these four stages when making purchase decisions, in that order. Each stage will have less and less consumers as attention, interest, or desire are lost; but ultimately, the consumers who make it through all four stages will take action and buy your product/service. This creates a funnel as seen above.
How to Implement AIDA
1. Build Awareness
The first stage is critical; it’s the moment consumers are exposed to your brand for the very first time. If poorly constructed, they won’t even notice you long enough to get to the next stages. Media content and advertisements in this stage should be eye-catching. It doesn’t need to be informative just yet – the main objective is to capture attention. You want consumers to ask, “What is it?”
- Solve a problem; make it clear what the problem is, and that you are the solution
- Unconventional ads in unexpected locations (Guerilla marketing)
- Provocative ads to create shock
2. Generate Interest
Once you’ve attracted an audience, they’ll most likely want to do some digging and research of their own. You need to make sure the resources are available for them to learn more about your brand. At this stage, it’s important to communicate the benefits of your offering(s). You want consumers to think, “I like it”.
- Detailed Website
- Extensive Social Media presence
- Product Demonstration videos
- Informative Ads
3. Create Desire
Desire is achieved in many ways and could vary depending on the market of your brand. For example, if your industry is a saturated one, desire could be achieved after the consumer evaluates alternatives and concludes that your product is the best one. In this case, you’ll need to cement your position in the industry – what makes your product stand out?
If you are in a niche market with few competitors, you’ll need to establish a level of trust with consumers. Lesser known products and services require more efforts to communicate information/benefits to the target. You want consumers to think, “I want it”.
- More personalized content and ads
- Ads that generate an emotional connection (affective reaction)
- Increase online engagement and communication
4. Encourage Action
We can’t stress enough the importance of a clear call-to-action. Customers quickly lose focus when it’s not obvious what the next step is. If your goal is to get them to sign up for an email subscription, make sure the button is prominent. If the goal is to get them to purchase a product, make sure the shopping cart process is intuitive. You want consumers to say, “I’m buying it”.
- Discount codes (i.e. first-time order)
- Sense of urgency (limited time offers)
- Abandon cart email
The goal of the AIDA framework is to guide consumers through these four stages with strategic marketing tactics designed to stimulate each stage of the customer journey. Understanding the buyer behaviour of your target and the characteristics of your market are key to successfully converting leads into paying customers. Ultimately, this model helps brands find the customers that will gain real value from their offerings.