Every day we are bombarded by messages, and each one fights to carve out its own place within our consciousness. With the proliferation of marketing channels, it is even more important in the digital landscape to stand out and get the attention of your audience. Be it a billboard or a Facebook ad, attention is always the first step in engagement.

For the digital marketer, are they any tricks of the trade that we can salvage from traditional marketing that will make our lives easier? Is there a conceptual model to help us understand the process from search to sale? The answer may lie in the AIDA marketing model.


What is the AIDA Model?

AIDA is a classical marketing model that allows you to understand the cognitive process we go through when making a purchasing decision. It is an acronym that stands for:

  • Attention – Create attention or awareness of your brand or website
  • Interest – Creating an interest in the buyer for further information about your product or service
  • Desire – Stirring up a desire to buy a product or service
  • Action – Moving the visitor into an interaction with your company.


AIDA Model

Traditionally, the AIDA model refers to the relationship between the company and the consumer. However, in today’s digital age, characterised by the widespread adoption of social technologies, this model is extended to include a wide network of interactions. These interactions take place via C2C ( consumer to consumer) conversations held in the digital space.

But how can we apply this model to enhance our digital marketing strategy? We can begin by looking at some cutting-edge research using eye tracking software.


The first step is to get the attention of your audience. In Google, the battleground for attention is the search engine result pages (SERPs). So what can we do to capture our audience’s attention when they are scanning a SERP? Some interesting answers can be found in recent research conducted by Adrian Durow’s ConversionArium. Adrian’s team used eye-tracking software to analyse where on the screen participants attention was being drawn. In the image below, the position of the green dots represents where the participants were looking and the size represents for how long. This is indicative of where the participants’ attention was being drawn to in the process of evaluating a results relevance. As you can see, there is a crowding of dots around the start of the page title and around the domain name.

eye tracking image

I have summarised what part of the search listing caught the attention of the participants below. For a full review of Adrian’s findings please go here.

  •  Domain names got more attention than other parts of the search listing
  •  Listings with authorship are more powerful at drawing attention
  •  Listings with keywords at the beginning of titles got more attention than those with keywords in the middle or at the end.

In addition to this, the following are tried and tested methods of getting the attention of your audience with your search listing.

  • Google Reviews
  • Meta-descriptions that are enticing with a strong call to action
  • Google Local ( maps, opening times etc)

By applying the above you will be able to make your listing stand out from the competition. But after getting the attention of your audience, you will have to keep them interested if you want them to convert.



Getting the interest of your audience can be the most challenging stage. You have managed to get the attention of a proportion of your target audience, but how can you engage with them in a meaningful way? How can you get them interested? The key here is relevance and usefulness.

You have got to think to yourself  “why has my audience come here?” or “what is it that they want to know?”. Ask yourselves these questions and then produce the content that is truly useful to your customer. If you are selling a product this may be the answers to your most commonly asked questions or the features of the product that are unique. The content itself must be genuinely interesting to your reader, otherwise, you risk it sinking into the sea of marketing mush (see infographic below).


Content Marketing Infographic


Being interesting whilst leading towards a conversion relies on you being specific to your customers’ needs and relevant to the reason why they have come to your page. If you can be genuinely helpful in a way that is specific to a particular need of your customer you will have won their interest. After winning the interest of your audience the next step is to create in them the desire to interact with your company.



Successful marketing isn’t trying to sell your products, but creating a desire in your audience. Two main ways of creating desire through online channels are letting your audience experience what you are offering firsthand or showing the positive experiences others have had. This is where social media and the new landscape of C2C marketing can be so effective in creating a desire in your audience.

Social selling can take many forms, but ultimately you are creating desire by delivering insight and value through a users ” sphere of influence”. This can be in the form of user-generated reviews, testimonials, case studies and interactions on social media. The idea is you are showing your audience something that other people have experienced that they themselves haven’t, and therefore they feel there is something to be gained. This type of social psychology creates a desire to purchase in the mind of the consumer.

For example, showing your audience what a fantastic time other people have had on holiday at your self-catered cottage will create this type of desire. Since these reviews are usually user-generated it holds even more weight, as the old adage says, what others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.

After creating a desire in your audience it is essential for the visitor to take up your call to action by interacting with your company.



We have won the attention of our audience, interested them with our value proposition and created a desire within them for our particular product or service. But all this effort would be for nothing if it were not acted upon. This is where strong calls to action can make or break the success of a website.

An example of a strong call to action can be found below. Obama’s campaign website has a clear “donate now” button that stands out due to the use of contrasting colours. The visitor knows what is expected of them and it is made easy for them to do it.



Generally, some best practice around strong calls to action are:

  •  Have a small number of clear calls to action
  •  Use active language (Buy Now, for example)
  • Make it prominent (contrasting colours, large font etc)

These tips were part of a larger post by Paul Boag that was focused purely on calls to action and can be found here.

Your digital marketing strategy can be tailored to help capture your audiences attention, generate interest, cultivate desire and promote positive actions in the online space. If your ready to try a new strategy for turning a search into a conversion, the AIDA model offers a tried and tested route to success.


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