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What is the AIDA Formula?

AIDA is the abbreviation for the English words Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. The term stands for one of the best-known advertising effectiveness principles and pre-sales models, which, translated into German, is based on the levels of attention, interest, desire and action.
  • Describes how the advertisement affects the user
  • Spans four phases from purchase to action
  • Is usually run through by every customer until the decision to buy
  • All phases are equally important, but may overlap

How does the AIDA formula work?

Originally, the formula was developed over 100 years ago to provide sellers with a guide to the different phases of a sales conversation. In essence, AIDA is still valid today and has even been developed further in various directions. As described above, each letter stands for an important word, and everything together (as an acronym) results in the significant advertising effect principle. The first stage of the psychologically well-proven model is that the advertising generates attention in the viewer. Subsequently, interest is to be aroused for the product or service in question. If the user is interested in the object of the advertisement, this interest should then be deepened further if possible. In the third step, the (strong) desire to “have to have” the object should then be generated from this. In the last stage, the goal of the purchase action should be achieved, for example, by means of a call-to-action. The AIDA principles are nowadays applied in advertising strategies, sales conversations (e.g. B2C telephone sales), moderation, presentation and similar activities. Of course, the arguments of the advertising message should always be perceived as reasonable and conclusive by the respective target group, i.e. the audience should be properly convinced by the advertising product.

How the AIDA formula is applied in practice

So how exactly do potential consumers get through the four successive phases described above, after which they finally make the purchase? In phase 1, the attention of the advertised party can be attracted by interesting music or striking colours. This is no easy task in todays times of sensory overload and tough competition. Humour is one of countless possibilities. Those who are creative and stand out from the crowd can gain a clear advantage here. However, you should definitely avoid the so-called “vampire effect”, where too much attention is distracted from the product. Of course, the viewer may be interested in the product from the very beginning, but it is the task of phase 2 to create or deepen this interest. This goal can be achieved with original, funny or cheeky slogans and design elements especially for certain target groups. In doing so, the respective brand is cleverly and sustainably anchored in the customers memory. Finally, in phase 3 the desire to own is triggered, which is also influenced by the advertising promises. The interest is thus transformed into desire, and both emotional and rational messages – or combinations thereof – can be used here. For example, the customer should “be trendy”, acquire a status symbol or satisfy a need for security. In phase 4, the final action stage, the customer then buys the product. This is achieved with a concrete call to action for the purchase of the product or service. The CTA must of course be placed correctly, not too early and not too late. It can also be lured with a limit. The step model of the AIDA formula is only complete when step 4, i.e. the purchase, is completed.

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