Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action--that’s what the mysterious four letters of the acronym spell out. Widely known to marketers as AIDA, the term refers to a sales model in which consumers move through a series of steps or stages when making purchasing decisions.
AIDA was first developed in 1898 by American advertising pioneer Elias St Elmo Lewis. His initial idea behind the model was to grab the consumer’s attention, gain their interest, and make them desire your brand. He eventually added action such as making a purchase to the equation and the formula was bo
Many marketers use this model to define the ways they craft brand messaging throughout the buyer’s journey. While there are several marketing models that have proven successful, AIDA is among the best-known and is widely used to create marketing and social campaigns.
The first step in applying AIDA to your social strategy is to determine what you would like to communicate within your campaign. Be sure that you have a clear understanding of what each of the following four stages entails so that you can ask the right questions, create goals, and execute the plan.
- Definition: When a consumer initially becomes aware of a category, product, or brand typically through advertising or a targeted, personalized message
- Questions: How can we get the attention of our consumers and what is the best way to reach them--through paid campaigns or social media? What should the message be?
- Goal: Make consumers aware that your product or service exists
- Example: Guerilla marketing or placing ads in unexpected locations
- Definition: When a consumer becomes interested in learning more about the benefits of the brand and how it can potentially fit in with their lifestyle
- Questions: How will we gain the interest of our consumers? What types of content should we use to share our reputation--reviews on our website or videos?
- Goal: Make sure that information is easy-to-read and focuses on what’s relevant for your target market so they will want to find out more
- Example: Focusing an ad campaign that shows how you are different from the competitor
- Definition: When a consumer develops a favorable opinion towards the brand
- Questions: What makes our product unique and desirable to consumers? What types of things will build a relationship--online chats, sharing a blog post with tips, or infomercials?
- Goal: Help consumers understand why they “need” your product or service
- Example: An infomercial that shares the benefit of the product or service showing consumers why they need it in their life
- Definition: When a consumer intends to make a purchase, shops around, may engage in a trial, and/or makes a purchase
- Questions: What is the CTA and what methods will we use to engage--landing pages, or phone calls?
- Goal: Use persuasive text or advertising that elicits a sense of urgency and motivates a consumer to take action right away
- Example: Offering a free trial or advertising a limited-time offer
In some cases, an additional R for Retention has been added to the acronym to highlight ongoing relationship-building.
Why is it important?
You can only be successful in sharing your message when you fully understand your audience’s motivation. This is why it’s so important to target the right individuals and demographics that align with your buyer personas.
Coca-Cola is an example of a company that has been using the AIDA model for years. A 2020 study showed they spend nearly $4 Billion each year in worldwide advertising and gain attention through mass messaging to multiple mediums. They develop interest by mentioning ingredients in their advertising, and they create desire by explaining how their sodas are satisfying. Ultimately this strategy creates action which is how Coca-Cola has maintained its position as one of the top soda brands in the world.
Today there is so much competition in the digital arena, that it can be difficult for you to get your message to the intended target. The AIDA principle can help you streamline your focus and create the right messaging to obtain potential buyers.
“The mission of an advertisement is to attract a reader so that he will look at the advertisement and start to read it; then to interest him, so that he will continue to read it; then to convince him so that when he has read it he will believe it. If an advertisement contains these three qualities of success, it is a successful advertisement.” - Elias St. Elmo Lewis, from his column The Inland Printer