What does AIDA Stand for?

The AIDA formula is one of the great classics of marketing and it works equally well in classic marketing, as well as innovative approaches and typical online marketing.

In this article we will show you how the AIDA formula works, which practical examples there are and how you can use them specifically for your company.

Definition: AIDA formula

The AIDA formula developed well over 100 years ago. It states that consumers go through four stages before they finally decide to buy a product or service. Defined by abbreviationfinder, these levels give the AIDA formula its name because they are:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

So it begins with the attention that arouses interest, from which ultimately a need, a desire, develops. The conclusion then forms the “action”, i.e. the purchase of the product or service.

The basic idea is therefore that when setting marketing measures, you should proceed exactly according to these steps in order to be successful and to achieve sales.

In the following we will now go into the individual steps of the AIDA formula in detail.

AIDA model – what does the AIDA formula say?

The core message of the AIDA model is that the phase before the purchase of products or services is always similar, regardless of what it is. The period of time within which these phases are run through can be different. When buying a condominium, the individual steps are carried out in exactly the same way as with the comparatively spontaneous decision to buy an ice cream, even if the time periods within which the phases are passed through are very different.

In order to present the AIDA formula in detail, we will now go into the individual steps.


The basis is always to attract the attention of potential customers. This means that the desired target group is not only addressed, but also becomes aware of the message placed and thus consciously perceives it. Gaining attention sounds banal, but it is not so easy nowadays, as the overstimulation caused by images, videos and other variety of content is enormous, especially online.

The first of the four steps is therefore particularly important, because it is it that only then enables the further stages of the AIDA formula.


Attention alone is not enough – because those who just shout the loudest may get attention, but no real interest. The second level of the AIDA formula is the interest that is to be directed towards the company, a product or a service. Potential customers should not only perceive the advertising message, but also feel that a certain interest is aroused in them. Accordingly, the prerequisite is that the advertising is target group-oriented, because only then will interest be aroused.


Once the attention has been gained and there is interest in the advertised good, the next step is to be taken. The existing interest should be increased so much that it is converted into concrete desire. The feeling of wanting something should be developed. Thus it can be said that the interest aroused before is now converted into a concrete need. This further development prepares the last step.


In marketing, there is often talk of placing a “call to action”, for example a specific button with a call to action that is included in a newsletter.

In the final step, the interest and need has become so great that the person now takes an action on their own – the purchase of the product or service. This is where the tension created by marketing and communication measures through the successful conclusion of the purchase ends for the time being.

Extended models of the AIDA formula

But wait, there is more! The AIDA formula has been established for many years with hardly any contradiction, but there are also extended models that map the cycle of the AIDA formula more comprehensively. We will now introduce you to the most famous variations.

AIDAS model

What happens after the purchase? Hopefully the customer is satisfied. That is why the AIDAS formula adds an “S” – for “Satisfaction”. The model says that after the purchase, it should be checked how satisfied the customer is with his product in order to be able to estimate how likely a subsequent purchase is.

AIDCAS model

A “C” is added to this formula, which stands for “conviction”, meaning conviction. This formula takes into account that between the phases of the AIDA formula, persuasion must also be done in order to be able to reach the next phases.

DAGMAR formula

The DAGMAR formula sounds a little different to the AIDA formula at first, but in principle it is a very similar method. The letter combination stands for:

  • Defining
  • Advertising
  • Goals for
  • Measured
  • Advertising
  • Results

The method is comparatively less known and is almost fifty years old. Its basic idea is that advertising must take place in a planned manner and the measures implemented must be measurable in concrete terms so that it can be clarified which results can really be assigned to these advertising measures.

Measurability was a challenge at the time and it still is today in offline media. In the case of online advertising, on the other hand, data can often be evaluated in great detail, for example if we think of conversions from landing pages.

Use the AIDA formula

How can the AIDA formula be used specifically? In general, this method is used in many companies, even if this happens unconsciously.

Practical examples

The easiest way to show where the AIDA formula is used is with those companies that rely heavily on advertising.

Let’s think of an online shop for fair fashion, for example. Typically, advertisements are placed in social media that are intended to attract the first attention of the defined target group . If the advertisement is successful, the user is directed to the company’s website. Storytelling can be used here, for example , by writing a blog article about the good production conditions and the positive effects of fair trade. If potential customers read this article, we have already reached “Interest”, i.e. phase two.

Subsequently, it is important to arouse the need more and more in online marketing, for example through re-targeting. If the purchase is not made immediately, the company must try to address potential customers again, to reach them again and to initiate the next step, “Desire”.

Once that is done, the person finally triggers the order – and thus becomes a customer. The cycle of the AIDA formula is complete. Now we can also see which phases the alternative models would have served, namely, for example, that it now needs to be clarified how satisfied the customer is with the product ordered.

Apply the AIDA model yourself

Applying the AIDA model is possible for all companies. It is important that you take enough time to become aware of the sequence of phases based on your company. Think about how potential customers behave, how they think and who exactly your target group is.

On the basis of this knowledge, you can subsequently develop advertising measures that do justice to the AIDA formula. For example, a particularly eye-catching advertisement that is supposed to attract initial attention. A detailed blog article that should then arouse deeper interest and so on.

What you must remember is that marketing alone is not everything. The best customers are customers who buy from you more often. This return rate is measured intensively in online marketing in particular. Therefore, after-sales support is just as important. Think about how you can ensure at this point in time that your customers are satisfied and have fond memories of your company – ideally enough so that they will buy again soon.

Criticism of the AIDA model

Where there is light, there is also shadow and, of course, with a marketing model that is over a hundred years old, critical voices also arise.

The central criticism is that the AIDA model is too simple. The process is rigid and it is not taken into account that a purchase may not always be made. What happens if, after the interest has been aroused, no purchase can be made? Companies must also be prepared for these scenarios. In the digital age in particular, there are approaches to this problem, such as specific retargeting marketing, to counteract this. These are aspects that the developer of the AIDA model could not have known over the past millennium, but which are brand new.

Overall, the AIDA formula is generally very accepted and it is undisputed that many advertising mechanisms are based on this concept. It is important to keep an eye on other ways to win customers, tailored to your own company, also around the formula, and not to rely on this concept alone.

Conclusion on the AIDA formula

The AIDA formula is a simple tool that can still be used today to critically question your own marketing measures. The simple phases help when it comes to developing new advertising measures and considering how potential customers should be addressed. The simplicity of the model is also the biggest criticism. But anyone who uses the AIDA formula as a basis and combines it with other sensible methods, approaches and ideas is definitely on the right track.

AIDA formula