To help businesses really understand their customer journey, whether that be online or offline, the AIDA model can be applied. This traditional marketing model has been adapted across the past three centuries can be applied to help understand and guide future digital marketing strategies.
The AIDA Framework
The AIDA model, 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.
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, whether they’re B2B, B2C and industry. The principle of the AIDA model remains the same and the funnel can be adapted to every single business model.
The AIDA Model – An Explanation.
Awareness → Creating brand awareness and gaining attention from potential customers.
Interest → Once attention is gained, sustaining that interest of 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 AIDA 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 to our digital marketing strategies. We can use it to help distinguish users (current and potential) and encourage traffic to be driven.
How To Apply AIDA To Digital Marketing?
Whether you’re carrying out search engine optimisation, paid media marketing or digital PR activities, the AIDA model can be used to speak to your designated audience at different touchpoints across their customer journey and interaction with your brand online.
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, this is likely to help to 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 page (SERPs) for question-based queries, such as “what is the safest car for a first-time driver?” or “what are the best cars for families in 2020?”. These types of queries can be attributed to the awareness/informational aspect of the AIDA 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 resource, perfectly siloed into different themes, making it easier for users to find useful content and with deep internal links across the site, 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 model, product landing pages inherit the benefits from granular targeting of categories pages across the site. As a result, product pages should be developed when users are ready to convert with nice queries with a much higher-intent, provide key information and avoiding hindrances to convert.
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 they may not have thought of to help make their decision to purchase on-site.
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 strategically used 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.
When users are at the top of the AIDA model, you want to create brand awareness campaigns to help the user to 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 utilise the 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.
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, here is where you 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, this is where it is key to capture the action of the user and encourage them to convert. For example, offering a price promotion on Google Search or a hyper-targeted paid advert to influence the decision to convert.
PPC Executive, Charlie Byrne, explains the conversion funnel process in relation to social media marketing in-depth here.
Top Tip – For any brand that fundamentally wants to grow their brand awareness and increase conversions should ideally include a blend of inbound and outbound paid services, as appropraite for their audience demographics.
Within traditional PR campaigns, the AIDA 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, its impact on SEO goals and overview revenue generated from multi-channels.
Usually, Digital PR campaigns focus on the top-of-the-funnel activity and directly relates to the “awareness” and “interest” stages of AIDA. It’s worth noting that Digital PR is mainly off-site and therefore cannot be associated with the whole AIDA funnel. Digital PR can help to boost brand awareness and stimulates users to pass through the funnel with the assistance of completing 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 to deliver online campaigns that target the end-users motivations and challenges. Angles to expose through link building campaigns to align with the “funnel” of AIDA 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.
Not only can the AIDA model be used 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 touch point with your brand and ultimately helps to convert. We outlined each section within AIDA and how digital marketing activities can use enhance their brand visibility and work towards their overall targets.
Top of the funnel digital marketing activities main aim would be to grow brand awareness and create a much larger audience. Therefore, we’re not just looking into users looking into specific micro-moments, where customers know exactly what they want and when they want it.
During the awareness stage of the AIDA model, it’s recommended to focus on a range of digital marketing disciplines, including; a strong Digital PR strategy that will help to earn mentions and backlinks from authoritative and industry-relevant publications that your target audience will be reading, that will increase both brand awareness and benefit 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 in front of a specific audience.
The Interest stage of the AIDA 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, looking into informational and longer-tailed keyword opportunities, such as Featured Snippets and People Also Ask boxes to increase your overall brand awareness of page 1 of the SERPs, to gain search engine real estate against your competitors and ultimately reaching your target audiences query during the informational stage of their user journey.
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 that discusses the benefits of the product and 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, this can help to identify what your audience is seeking to know about your product or service to tap into the emotions of your audience. From the research, useful content can be created around related topics and placed within a siloed content hub. Not only will this hub be easy for your customers to retrieve the content, but it can also help to build up trust and move them closer to make their purchasing decision.
The final stage of the AIDA framework is to fully capture and trigger the specific audience to make the decision to purchase, turning them into a customer for your business. Completing digital marketing activities include hyper-targeted paid search and shopping campaigns that are getting in front of the audience who are likely to convert. This could include, offering an attractive price promotion on your products that incentivising the customer to purchase now.
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 and going above and beyond to ensure the customer is delighted with the brand relationship, helping with advocacy to grow your target audience further.
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 audiences behaviour. It’s crucial to continue to drive your audience and continue to be at the forefront of their searching for their 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 too advocate for. 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 AIDA.
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 model in the comments below!