AIDA Marketing Model: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action

AIDA is an invaluable model to help marketers write new marketing materials. In this article we examine how AIDA can be used in web design.

AIDA Marketing Model and Web Design

AIDA Marketing Model

AIDA is a model for thinking about how you market your products. There is also an opera of the same name, but I hear it has surprisingly little to do with web design. As I found very little quality information on the web about AIDA I thought I would cover it myself.

The four components to AIDA are:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

Attention

Photo of a woman in a bikini

The first step in marketing a product is to get the customer’s attention. A big headline, a flashy graphic, an animation or a video. You need something that grabs the customer and draws them into your advert. And when I say advert, that could be an article on your blog, a page on your site, an advert in the paper, a flyer you’ve distributed, a TV ad, a promotional video on YouTube, an audio advert on the radio… Anything.

You have to think of ALL communication with the customer as an advert. You don’t want your customer thinking that, but you need to remember that anything you produce costs time and money and so it should serve to make you money in return.

Remember: Sex sells! A company I worked for in the past had a “booby button” in the top-right corner of the home page; That button got more attention than anything else on the page.

Interest

Head with gears, depicting interest

Once you’ve hooked the customer you need to reel them in. Whet their appetite and make them want more. Your first paragraph of text on your website, the first few seconds of your YouTube video, the most prominent part of your flyer, … these things need to build an interest so that the customer becomes engaged and wants to digest every word of your marketing. You have to appeal to the customer.

Desire

Heart paper-weight on a 10 euro note, depicting desire in marketing

Next you want your customer to desire the product. What are you selling? You need to analyse your product and work out what the BENEFITS are to the customer. It’s not enough to say “Hey look at this food blender!” Your customer will have seen hundreds of food blenders, so you need to tell them why this food blender is going to make their life worth living! Is it faster than other food blenders? Is it the most durable blender ever made? Will this blender make them more attractive?!

Find the desires your customers have and appeal to them with the benefits that your product provides. A baby milk formula might appeal more to a tired mother if it claims it will make the baby sleep better, than if it claims to be the best tasting formula on the market.

Action

Clapper board from a film, depicting action

Now that your customer wants the product you need to convert them into a sale. You do this by calling them towards an action: “Call now on …”, “Write to …”, “Email us at …”, “Try it …”, “Buy …”

The call to action you use is dependant on your business and the media you are creating content for, but the key things to remember are:

  • Keep it short and snappy
  • Draw the customer into it
  • Decide whether you want to be pushy ("Buy NOW!") or subtle ("Why not give us a call?") and make sure your entire advert is written to suit

Colour

Red, yellow and orange as colours for call to action

Different colours have different meanings to different people and different cultures. But at a biological level all humans respond most strongly to red. The downside is that red can have negative connotations in many cultures. Yellow, being so bright, is also a good colour for attracting attention. A good compromise is to use a medium orange, half-way between red and yellow, to get the best of both worlds. And, in fact, you will see this all over the web. Orange call to action buttons are VERY popular.

Position

Screenshot of this blog article, showing the 'fold'

I don’t strongly believe in avoiding “below the fold” content, but this is one case where I feel that keeping content above the fold is a very good idea. The call to action should remain prominent, within the flow of your page, above the fold so that at a glance a potential customer knows what to do next. Drive them through your website, don’t leave anything to chance.

Consider The Flow Of Your Page

Your use of contrast on the page will create some kind of flow through the document. It is worth considering placing elements in your advert that are on these flow lines.

One model for how eyes flow over any given document

I’ve heard it suggested that there is a set way that eyes flow through any page, as outlined in this graphic, where the eyes start top-right, sweep left and down, then up and right, then finally down again. However I’m not inclined to believe it is that simple. It may be true of pages that don’t have a clear hierarchy or prescribed flow to them, but for a well designed page I believe that the flow will always be as designed by the author of the page.

I’m more inclined to believe in concepts such as the “F-Layout“, but the general flow of your page should also be analysed and considered.

Utilising eye flow to enhance AIDA in an F Layout page

Once you know how your readers are going to scan the page you should place elements at key locations on the flow-lines. So in an “F Layout” page, you might put a graphic to grab attention on the top right, a blurb to create interest on the left below your logo, something to create desire to the right of that, and a call to action on the left at the bottom of the page.

User Experience (“UX”)

All of this needs to be done carefully, whatever you do don’t ruin the user experience of your website. Blend AIDA into your website, rather than trying to bend your website around AIDA. The number one priority should be making your customers happy to be using your website, and THEN trying to hit them with your cunningly written AIDA marketing! Done right a website can be both a joy to use AND an AIDA marketing goldmine.

It’s Only A Model

Finally, remember that AIDA is only a model for considering how to structure your campaign. Don’t assume that just because you’ve applied AIDA you’re going to succeed. A well written campaign needs to consider more than just getting attention, creating interest, desire and action. But it’s a good starting point.

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About Matt Lowe

Matt Lowe is a WordPress web designer / developer based in Newbury, Berkshire. After 8 years of doing the nine-to-five for other companies and watching them make the same mistakes over and over he set out in business on his own. He writes in the third person. Read more »

Posted on by Matt Lowe This entry was posted in Businesses, Content, Featured, Presentation, Squelch Web Design Blog, User Interfaces, Web design and tagged , , , , , , , , , .


3 meditations upon AIDA Marketing Model: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action

  1. On David Sottimano was pontificating thus:

    Question about this paragraph: “Remember: Sex sells! A company I worked for in the past had a “booby button” in the top-right corner of the home page; That button got more attention than anything else on the page.”

    Assuming the attention was the clicks, did those clicks convert? I’ve always believed that sex only sells itself, but I’m always open to suggestion. I read the book “Buyology” by Martin Lindstom where they conducted neuromarketing tests to determine if sex sold. They basically came to the conclusion that it only sold itself. Sorry for the long comment, just want to hear about your experience.

    • On Matt Lowe was pontificating thus:

      Hi! That remark was based on what I was told by my boss at the time. His opinion was that the booby button was an important feature on the website, and he claimed that when it wasn’t there conversions dropped. However the comment was certainly never anything more than anecdotal and I can’t claim to have checked his facts. I think you’re right in that sex can only sell itself if used gratuitously, but when you’re trying to grab attention it can work wonders. You can see sex being used to sell products all the time in TV adverts where it’s essential to get attention fast. But of course, what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to should play a large role in deciding whether sex is the right tactic to deploy in a campaign.

  2. On David Sottimano was pontificating thus:

    Great answer :)

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