AIDA marketing can be applied to help businesses really understand their customer journey, whether that be online or offline. The traditional AIDA marketing model has been adapted across the past three centuries and can be used to help understand and guide future digital marketing strategies.

What is AIDA Model Marketing?

AIDA model marketing, also known as the conversion funnel, is the process we use to slowly nurture prospective customers through every single touchpoint throughout their customer journey, with the intention of eventually converting.

What Does AIDA Stand For?

The AIDA framework is an acronym for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. We have expanded on each section below.

It’s worth noting that each conversion funnel is likely to differ in terms of their objectives depending on whether they’re B2B or B2C and which industry they operate in. The principle of the model remains the same and the funnel can be adapted to every single business model.

The AIDA Marketing Model Explained With Examples

conversion funnel impression

Awareness → Creating brand awareness and gaining attention from potential customers.

Interest → Once attention is gained, sustaining that interest in your product or service by creating arousal (for example, detailing information about the product of interest).

Desire → Once the interest is aroused, at this point you want to persuade the customer as to why they should purchase your product or service. This can be done by outlining the benefits of the product to address the emotions of your target customer.  

Action → As soon as the desire has been invoked, you want the customer to convert. This can be achieved by creating a seamless purchasing process, such as an online shopping cart, with no distractions.

The framework helps us to identify different cognitive stages that an individual goes through during their purchasing process for a product or service. As mentioned earlier, this traditional marketing model has been used for offline strategies, such as billboards, print, flyering and coupons.

However, the flexibility of this conversion theory allows us to apply it to our digital marketing strategies. We can use it to help distinguish users (current and potential) and drive traffic.

How To Apply AIDA To Digital Marketing?   

Whether you’re carrying out search engine optimisation, paid media marketing or digital PR activities, the AIDA marketing model can be used to speak to your designated audience at different touchpoints across their customer journey and interaction with your brand online. 

Applying AIDA Marketing to SEO

For search engine optimisation strategies, we like to utilise the conversion funnel when creating content across the site. When users are at the top of the funnel, the awareness and informational stage, they are most likely not sure what product or service they’re really looking for. They are simply browsing and gathering more information before they make an informed purchase. 

But, how can we act on this with content? During these early stages, these potential customers are asking many questions in search engines. By analysing and creating content around your specific longer-tailed product or service queries, you can funnel these customers down the AIDA marketing model, or if not, increase brand awareness for future purchases. We have seen question-based queries on the rise with the mass adoption of smart speakers and voice search

For example, if you’re marketing a car dealership and looking to target young drivers to purchase their first car, you want to be visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for question-based queries, such as “what is the safest car for a first-time driver?” or “what are the best cars for young drivers?” These types of queries can be attributed to the awareness/informational aspect of the framework.

During this stage, longer-tailed content located in a website’s resource ‘hub’ is grouped into themes and is likely to improve the overall user experience when starting their customer journey. An excellent example is from Think With Google’s content hub that provides a range of resources, perfectly siloed into different themes, making it easier for users to find useful content. With deep internal links across the site, it is far more efficient for search engine bots to crawl and index your content.


As customers move down the funnel, they become more valuable as they are less likely to bounce and might consider purchasing. At this point, you’re wanting to convince the user to buy through your content. During the decision and converting aspect of the AIDA marketing model, product landing pages inherit the benefits from granular targeting of category pages across the site. As a result, product pages should be developed when users are ready to convert, targeting high-intent queries. At this stage, provide key information and avoid hindrances to conversion.

Enhancing the bottom of the funnel experience further from an organic perspective can be delivered by adding on-site data to entice the user and distinguish you from your competitors. On-site examples of this can include adding a trusted review aggregator, pulling together case-studies, testimonials of previous customers and including a FAQ section for further questions to help make their decision to purchase.

Applying AIDA Marketing to Paid Media

When carrying out paid marketing activities, such as search ads, paid social or Google shopping, a whole host of data around audiences already exists from paid search to help target and convert prospects more effectively. These audience data sets can be used strategically to understand where the user is currently on their purchase journey and bid accordingly. This can be separated into two sub-categories that naturally fit into two distinctive groups of customers: inbound and outbound.

Outbound Strategy

When users are at the top of the AIDA marketing model, you want to create brand awareness campaigns to help the user discover more about the business and what is being offered. From a paid search perspective, it’s recommended to utilise the following services to best capitalise on top of the funnel customer activity: display advertising, paid social, targeted videos and remarketing.

At this point, the ads are not brand-heavy as such, but visually appealing to help increase their reach. When users are in the middle of the funnel, around the informational or desired stage, this is where you want to carry out campaigns that are going to engage your target audience and drive traffic to the site. These could include retargeting ads of products or services that a user had been looking at previously.

Inbound Strategy

When you’re targeting users who are at the bottom of the funnel and ready to convert, you want to focus on your USPs and the conversion element of your paid adverts. During the action stage of the AIDA framework, hone in on audience demographics and utilise the following services: Google search ads, Google Shopping and remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs).

At this crucial stage, you want to direct the user who clicks on your ads to the most relevant page. For example, for a lead-generating website towards the contact or quote form and for an e-commerce site, the exact product page where the user can convert easily from with a discount code. 

Upon reaching the very bottom of the conversion funnel, it is key to capture the action of the user and encourage them to convert. For example, offer a price promotion on Google Search or a hyper-targeted paid advert to influence the decision to convert.

AIDA and Social Media

A wide audience can be reached across the various social media platforms, leading to a wealth of data that can be used for refined targeting. 

Awareness can be developed by prospecting users with emotive language, supported by a video to build interest and intrigue. For already engaged users, action can then be encouraged by asking for a sign-up, contact or donation, and, finally, remarketing can be used to develop brand loyalty. Ultimately, the conversion funnel can help to build a well-rounded and highly effective social media strategy.

PPC Executive, Charlie Byrne, explains the conversion funnel process in relation to social media marketing in-depth here

Top Tip – Any brand that fundamentally wants to grow their awareness and increase conversions should ideally include a blend of inbound and outbound paid services, as appropriate for their audience demographics.

Applying AIDA Marketing to Digital PR

Within traditional PR campaigns, the AIDA marketing model is often used to support the full user journey. But this is much more difficult to measure. With the evolution of Digital PR, we can again adapt this model to accurately measure the effectiveness of campaigns, the impact on SEO goals and the revenue generated from multi-channels. 

Usually, digital PR campaigns focus on the top-of-the-funnel activity and directly relate to the “awareness” and “interest” stages. It’s worth noting that digital PR is mainly off-site and therefore cannot be associated with the whole funnel. Digital PR can help to boost brand awareness and stimulate users to pass through the funnel with the assistance of other channels. Good link building strategies should act to build meaningful referral traffic further down the funnel as well as links for SEO purposes.

In order to create a digital PR campaign to help deliver higher return-on-investment (ROI), it’s important to truly understand what the end-user looks like for the brand. This will also benefit the delivery of online campaigns that target the end-users motivations and challenges. Angles to expose through link building campaigns to align with the AIDA funnel could involve seasonal roundups, product reviews, product benefits and traits to create the desire of the brand being discussed. If you’d like to find out more about tangible tips and advice for your digital PR campaign, view Laura Hampton’s webinar here. 

AIDA Marketing For Multi-Channel Strategies

Not only can the AIDA marketing model be applied to individual marketing disciplines, but it can also be used across a range of different channels, helping to maximise the ROI from your digital marketing efforts. This also ensures that users are nurtured at every single touchpoint with your brand and ultimately helps to convert. Below, we outline each section within AIDA and how digital marketing activities can enhance brand visibility and work towards overall targets.

Awareness

The main aim of top-of-the-funnel digital marketing activities is to grow brand awareness and create a much larger audience. Therefore, we’re not just looking into users but also into specific micro-moments, where customers know exactly what they want and when they want it.

During the awareness stage of the AIDA marketing model, it’s recommended to focus on a range of digital marketing disciplines. A strong Digital PR strategy will help to earn mentions and backlinks from authoritative, industry-relevant publications that your target audience will be reading, increasing brand awareness and benefitting your SEO efforts. Paid social media marketing allows businesses to reach users right at the top of the funnel as they are starting their user journey. With an array of extensive targeting options on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, you’ll be able to communicate your message to a specific audience.

Interest

The Interest stage is where you’re able to create content that will answer almost every question or problem a customer may have. Search engines are without a doubt the go-to solution for gaining further information about anything and everything. Within this stage, we’d recommend completing thorough organic keyword research to identify SEO targeting opportunities.

With the SERPs altering rapidly to enhance the overall user experience, look into informational and longer-tailed keyword opportunities such as Featured Snippets and People Also Ask boxes. This will help to increase your overall brand awareness, gain search engine real estate against your competitors and ultimately reach your target audience’s query during the informational stage of their user journey.

Desire

Within the Desire stage, this is where you’re able to focus on a high-quality content marketing strategy that is relevant to your target audience. Your content should discuss the benefits of the product or service to encourage the audience to move into the latter stage of the funnel and convert.

Completing fresh keyword research from both an organic and paid search query data perspective can help to identify what your audience is seeking to know about your product or service. From the research, useful content can be created around related topics and placed within a siloed content hub. Not only will this hub make it easy for your customers to retrieve the content, but it can also help to build up trust and move them closer to making their purchasing decision.

Action

The final stage of the framework is to capture and trigger the specific audience to make the decision to purchase, turning them into a customer for your business. Complete digital marketing activities such as hyper-targeted paid search and shopping campaigns that get in front of the audience who are likely to convert. This could include offering an attractive price promotion on your products that incentivises the customer to purchase now.

Nurture

An extension of the traditional AIDA model we’ve seen over the recent years is the need to nurture your new customer throughout their entire purchasing process. This involves going above and beyond to ensure the customer is delighted with the brand relationship, helping with advocacy to grow your target audience further. Other variations and adaptations of the model are discussed below.

Alternative Hierarchy of Needs Models

As we mentioned earlier, AIDA marketing has been adapted across the last three centuries, resulting in slight variants to the traditional model. Below we have listed just four examples, though there are many more out there which are being used to drive digital strategy.

  • AIDAS – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action and Satisfaction
  • AIDCA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction, Action
  • AIDEA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Evidence, Action
  • REAN – Reach, Engage, Activate and Nurture

Essentially, the models still focus on the basis of Attention, Interest, Desire and Action, however new developments tend to put more emphasis on the retention of customers or in building trust to develop brand loyalty. 

Top Tip – Solidify your AIDA strategy and build conviction by displaying trust signals such as customer reviews or showcasing the number of recent customer purchases.

To Conclude

With large changes across the entire media landscape, both online and offline, over the past decade, it’s vital to adapt and be reactive with changes in your target audience’s behaviour. It’s crucial to continue to drive your audience and be at the forefront of their searching for solutions because if not, it’s likely that the audience could subsequently diminish overtime and move to competitors who are strategising more effectively.

A fascinating study by Peter Field published in 2013, outlined that “brands should spend around 60% of their budget on brand-building activities and 40% on activation” for maximum efficiency and effectiveness in evolving marketing channels. This hypothesis is something that we at Impression also advocate. Across all digital channels, we recommend utilising a mix of marketing channels to entice users across the complete buying journey and share traffic back and forth to maximise those funnelling into the action stage of the AIDA marketing model.

As an integrated digital marketing agency, we work in a collaborative manner to push our digital efforts to work harder. If you’d like to hear more about how we can create an integrated marketing campaign, get in touch with our team. 

I’d also love to hear any thoughts/previous experiences with collaborating across a range of marketing activities throughout the AIDA marketing model in the comments below!



Katie Barnard

SEO Executive

As an SEO Executive at Impression, I get to work with a range of clients to improve their online presence and achieve their ambitious business goals. From engaging content to technical analysis, I love all aspects of SEO - though you’ll find me at my happiest when problem-solving a particularly demanding challenge.

Katie has specialist knowledge in SEO.

Luca Hargrave

SEO Executive

I joined Impression as an SEO Executive in January 2021 having previously worked in marketing at British travel guide publisher Rough Guides, implementing the SEO strategy and gaining some hands-on experience in content creation. Prior to working life, I studied Italian and Business Management at the University of Reading. It was on my year abroad in Italy when I got my first taste of digital marketing, working on translation and content management, as well as social media, for the University of Pisa website. In my spare time, you can find me attempting to lift heavy weights in the gym, experimenting with new beats on the drums, or supporting the mighty Leeds United.

Luca has specialist knowledge in SEO.