Implementing the AIDA model into a web design project

AIDA is a consumer behaviour sequential model that while traditionally used for marketing and advertising, can be applied to web design. In today’s digital landscape, web developers and designers ‘in the know’ use AIDA to make their websites more appealing and engaging. Without developing websites that begin by attracting a user’s attention, you will lose valuable leads. When used chiefly, it can be an excellent way to guide users from the attention stage, right through to the taking action stage. Let’s find out more about AIDA and how it can be used in your web design.

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What is AIDA?

AIDA is a marketing and advertising model that has been around for a long time. Traditionally used for marketing campaigns, it was a way to lead potential buyers towards an action; ideally purchasing a product. Nowadays, the consumer behaviour sequential model has found a much more profound use in the digital landscape.

AIDA is used nowadays when developing websites that aim to lead users from attention right through to taking an action. Whether that is clicking a call-to-action, signing up for a content offer, or purchasing a product, following the AIDA model can help you to achieve just that.

The purpose of using AIDA in web design is to create a favourable view of your brand, alongside developing content that is relevant and appealing as part of the inbound marketing methodology. Web designers and developers can use the AIDA model to lead users through the key stages to achieve that all-important action.

AIDA is sequential and reflects the journey of a buyer. Within this model and in the real world, a user needs to be taken through each of the stages before they are likely to take action. Now, let’s take a look at each of the 4 stages in AIDA and how they apply to web design.

The AIDA sequential model

Using AIDA in web design

Attention

The first step of AIDA is to gain the attention of a user. The ideal situation is a user has clicked through to your website from a search engine listing. If you have optimised your website and content for SEO, that is only half the job. If you fail to gain a user’s attention, you have no chance of progressing them to that all-important action stage.

Your website needs to grab the user’s attention and failing to do this will only see them leave your site. Not only does that increase your bounce rate but you could also lose valuable potential leads to your competition. Having a good understanding of your customers from developing buyer personas will help extensively throughout AIDA.

Grabbing a user’s attention in web design can be achieved in several ways. Once they are on your site, you need to give them a reason to stay. Some of the methods for gaining attention include:

  • Creating relevant and meaningful content
  • Using graphics and other imagery to catch the user’s eye
  • Adding a video
  • Bold and striking typography and headlines
  • Animation
  • Using striking or appealing colours
  • Image sliders

To give you an idea of the attention stage in action, here are a couple of examples.

The Panattoni website uses both a striking headline and a video to capture a user’s attention.

An example of the AIDA awareness stage in action

The Future Living homepage makes use of both animations that reacts to mouse movement and a striking headline.

An example of the awareness stage in action

Interest

The next step in AIDA is when a user transitions from the awareness stage to the interest stage. At the interest stage, the user is showing an interest in what you do and wants to find out more. Changing a user’s attention to interest can be the hardest step as you need to appeal to both a user’s psychological and social influences.

Understanding your potential customer’s motives is essential for changing their attention to interest. Developing your buyer personas will give you an idea of your customers’ wants and needs and can be extremely beneficial at this stage. Showing how you can help address a user’s problem can help to move attention to interest. That’s why your buyer personas are essential. So you understand what your visitors are aiming to accomplish and how you can help them to achieve that.

The best way you can help to create interest is by providing benefits and clearly outlining what they can gain. Providing the benefits will allow a visitor to see whether the content or products address their problem. Then, if it does, you have whetted their appetite to want to know more. Stories can be another way to interest your users. Starting with the why in a story is the best place to start. Interest can be measured using metrics such as bounce rate, visits, time on page and traffic sources.

An example of the interest stage in action on the Dreamscape website, providing the benefits showcasing why interested visitors should choose Dreamscape.

An example of the AIDA interest stage in action

Desire

The penultimate stage is when a user changes from the interest stage to the desire stage. At this point, a user is now moving away from a general interest towards an intention to take action. Because desire is an extension of interest, you need to continue presenting your offer in the best possible way. Yet transitioning from interest to desire is the hardest stage in AIDA. You need to make a user want something.

Generating desire in web design can be difficult when you only have around 25-50 seconds to make an impact. Making your web design engaging and the content appealing is the best way to secure that desire.

At the desire stage, it is too earlier to implement call-to-actions and expect a user to click on them. Instead, you should be looking at incorporating other features that will lead them to a desire to take action. Desire can be achieved through testimonials.

Using testimonials to create desire

Testimonials are statements of praise or recommendation, usually in the form of written or spoken statements. These testimonials can be in the form of:

  • Customer quotes
  • Customer photos
  • Video testimonials
  • Customer experiences
  • Case studies

Implementing testimonials in your web design project can be beneficial. Not only does it help to build trust but it also increases the chance that a user will take action. Research by G2 Crowd and Heinz marketing found that up to 92% are more likely to take action when they’ve read a positive review or testimonial.

These testimonials are often placed below the fold, lower down on a page. Testimonials provide little benefit to someone who has only just gained attention or interest. That’s why they usually tend to placed either on a separate page or towards the bottom of a page.

Using metrics to measure desire is more difficult compared to other steps of AIDA. That’s not to say you cannot still use different metrics to paint a picture. Returning visitors would probably be the most significant metric at the desire stage. Other metrics from your website searches will also give you an idea. Looking at what users are searching for, the number of search exits, or search refinements.

Here are a couple of examples to show testimonials in action during the desire stage.

Testimonials at work on the Bizzabo website, about halfway down on the page. The web design also uses a slide scroll to feature more testimonials while utilising as little space as possible.

An example of the desire stage in action

A dedicated page for case studies found on the HubSpot website also shows testimonials at work.

An example of the AIDA desire stage in action

Action

We’re nearly at the end goal now. The final stage of AIDA is a user taking that all-important action you’ve been building up to. It can be argued that if you have built up a strong enough desire throughout the AIDA model, the action stage is the easiest to achieve. The last stage is all about convincing your potential leads to take that final action.

All that’s left now is to encourage a user to take action and the only way to achieve that is to provide clear and concise call-to-actions. Whatever the action is you want the user to take, make sure to provide a visible way for a user to take that next step.

Examples of actions include:

  • Making a purchase
  • Providing contact details in exchange for a content offer
  • Signing up for your mailing list
  • Making a donation
  • Signing up for a free trial

But don’t feel this stage needs little work. It is just as important as any stage and still needs careful thought or CTA placement in your web design. Find 5 CTA best practices to improve conversions. Action can be very easily measured. Metrics such as your click-through rate on a CTA or the number of content downloads will tell you how many users took action. Heatmaps can also tell you whether users are clicking a CTA. But your CTA is just one element required for this stage. You also need a well-designed and persuasive landing page to convert the visitors into leads.

Find out more about designing the perfect landing page here

A final note…

Incorporating the elements of AIDA into your web design project is a great way to make your website more appealing and engaging to users. Considering each stage of AIDA will also help lead to more users taking that all-important action when used alongside relevant and engaging content. Just a final note: implementing the features of AIDA is best utilised in the ‘F layout’. Try it out for yourself in your next web design project.