AIDA Framework for Effective Ads: How to Capture Attention and Convert Customers

AIDA Framework for Effective Ads: How to Capture Attention and Convert Customers

Learn how to use the AIDA framework to create winning ads that capture attention, generate interest, create desire, and drive action.

Apr 30, 2023
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George Howes
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The AIDA Framework is a time-tested, four-step process that the advertising industry has used for decades. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action, and each element is an integral part of the customer's buying journey. 

While you could jump the gun and focus on Action, you'll miss out converting a large portion of your audience that still needs convincing.

Below, we'll go through the AIDA model and explain how to create an effective ad that follows the customer journey.

  1. History of the AIDA model
  2. What is the AIDA framework?
  3. How to use AIDA to create effective ads, with examples
  4. The limitations of AIDA
  5. Wrapping things up
  6. Generate new ad ideas with MagicBrief

History of the AIDA Model

In 1898, Elias St. Elmo Lewis developed a four-stage model known as the AIDA framework (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action). These were the key stages in a consumer's decision-making process when confronted with a product or service. By applying AIDA, advertisers could mould their marketing strategies to help push consumers to make a desired action. 

Besides just developing the AIDA formula, Mr. Lewis also spoke about different niches and  advertising principles for marketers and the general public alike. More specifically, he spoke prolifically about simplifying complex marketing strategies, and how to remember and apply them for each stage.

His AIDA model is still a fundamental part of advertising today, and is widely accepted for understanding basic consumer behaviour when creating a successful advertisement. Mr. Lewis was finally inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame shortly after his passing.

What is the AIDA Framework?

The AIDA framework is a purchasing funnel that represents each stage of a customer's journey from initial awareness to purchase. These cognitive processes are all unique, and understanding them help marketers create winning ads.

How the AIDA Model Works

Let's break it down stage by stage:


First, your ad is shown to your targeted audience. This is the Attention stage, where you must catch their attention before proceeding further down the funnel. That's why something as simple as an eye-catching headline or thumbnail is a powerful tool for any marketing campaign.


Now that someone has clicked on your ad, it's time to showcase your brand personality with marketing collateral. 

They don't fully know your product yet, but you're providing enough information to pique their curiosity and interest. In this phase, you're typically addressing a pain point (related to the viewer) and potential solutions your brand offers. This can be done through compelling stories, or visuals in a video ad or carousel ad.


Now that they’ve invested enough time in your brand, they're hopefully starting to get itchy fingers! It's time to showcase your product's unique value proposition. This compels them to take action in the form of a purchase.


Here is where you drive home the sale. 

This is your call-to-action, your final plea for your customers to take the plunge and buy. How you phrase this is entirely up to you, but always make it relevant and don't be afraid to remind them of the benefits.

Using the AIDA Framework Work to Create Winning Ads

A digital marketing campaign typically involves creating multiple ads to target different stages of the customer journey. 

So how do you implement AIDA into your ad campaign? Let's dissect each one with examples.


In this stage, a person who doesn't know your brand will ask:

"What is it?"

Your goal is not to aggressively push products for them to buy. Rather, you're focusing on creating brand awareness.

So how would you go about this?

Attention-grabbing headlines, thumbnails and descriptions

An attention-grabbing headline and thumbnails about SEO

To get clicks, you can use attention-grabbing headlines or thumbnails. A clothing brand selling mountain apparel could use a headline such as "Dress for Adventure: Style for the Wild" to lure viewers in. Or if it's a video ad, a thumbnail of someone climbing a mountain with a text overlay saying 'How I conquered the Wild with X Brand' could do the trick.

If you're launching a direct mail campaign, a catchy headline with a gripping story could attract a reader's attention. Just ensure to identify your target audience first, before choosing your marketing strategies.

On Facebook, a content marketing strategy may involve publishing Instant article ads with their website’s content. The ad starts with an enticing headline and intro text, which leads to a 'Continue Reading' or ‘Learn more’ button that directs to their website.

A sponsored ad with attention-grabbing headline, thumbnail and description

Using the right keywords also matters , especially in search engines like Google. Think about what your target audience is searching for and use that in your titles or descriptions. You won't get their attention if your ad doesn't match their search query.


Now that you've got their attention, it's time to start generating interest. This is the stage in your marketing plan where your customer should go from: 

'What is it?'


'I like it!'

In terms of adverts, this usually means showcasing product features or demonstrating how it can solve their problem. For example, if you're selling an automated camera slider, then give scenarios where manual camera sliders failed and how your product could have saved the day.

An example of carousel ad with a product

On Facebook, it would be common to use carousel ads with pictures to really show your product or service's features. A video ad, regardless of platform, can also effectively demonstrate how your product works and why they need it.

Here's a few ways to generate interest in your ad:

  • Feature industry experts or influencers who can vouch for your product or service. This provides social proof and gives added credibility to your products.
  • Focus on compelling storytelling that relates to your consumer's pain points. Your products should then be introduced as the solution to their problem.
  • Highlight your product's unique features and how it differentiates itself from similar products.
  • Feature before and after pictures to show what your products are capable of.


Now's the time to get consumers from saying:

'I like this'


"I think I need this in my life, right now."

Yes, they're indeed similar, but you want to make consumers believe your product or service is a real necessity with your marketing messages. After all, they're spending their money and you want to make sure they're getting justifiable value.

But to create desire, it takes a little more than simply describing your product's unique features. 

Let's go through some of them:

Create a sense of urgency: State that supplies are limited or that the offer is for a certain time only. This really helps consumers act sooner rather than later.

Establish an emotional connection: Use compelling visuals, music and storytelling to get people emotionally invested. Remember, we make purchases all the time because they make us feel a certain way.

Use social proof to build trust. Use customer testimonials, reviews, or ratings to get people to trust your brand. You may have the best product, but if it doesn't have a single review, they may not want to take a risk.


You're approaching the finish line of your AIDA marketing journey. But to get your consumers over the line and seal the deal, you need to make it easy for them to take action. This is also known as a call-to-action (CTA).

CTAs aren't hard to implement, but they should be relevant to your end goal. For example, if you want viewers to download a product guide, your ad CTA could be 'Download Now'. If you're acquiring new customers, then CTAs like 'Shop Now' or 'Sign Up Now' work.

Also ensure your CTA is visible, clear and straight to the point. If your CTA is too small or positioned in an inconspicuous area of your ad, they may go unnoticed or ignored. It's landing page should also be relevant to your ad's message and direct visitors towards the goal you've set.

Lastly, don't be afraid to include added incentives and a sense of urgency in your CTA. Here are a few examples that incorporate both:

"Buy now and save 40%!"

"Download our product guide today and get a one month free trial!"

"Sign up now and get an exclusive discount!"

"Limited time offer - get your skinny jeans before they're sold out!"

A double patty burger with extra cheese with chicken nuggets on the side

What the AIDA Framework Can't Do

If you're in the ad creation process, it's natural to be excited and hopeful about the results. But remember that following this framework doesn't guarantee success. By knowing its limitations, you can plan your ad strategy accordingly.

Let's go through some of the drawbacks of the AIDA framework:

It only concentrates on new customers

When aligning your ad strategy with AIDA, you're primarily focusing on attracting and appealing to potential customers. This is great for acquiring new customers, but retaining existing ones will require a different strategy altogether. Instead, you'll want to focus on consumer loyalty programs, retargeting ads, and other more personalised strategies based on their purchase history and interests.

The Buyer Journey Isn't Always Linear

Not all purchasing decisions follow the AIDA framework. A potential consumer may see an ad and decide immediately to purchase, skipping the consideration stage. This could be due to a few reasons: maybe the consumer is an impulse buyer or the brand has enough trust that they don't need to think about it.

AIDA is only a single component of a holistic business strategy

We've mentioned some examples of how you can use the AIDA framework in ads. But basing a single marketing tactic for each element may not be enough i.e only using blog posts to get attention. In reality, a blog post can increase brand awareness, generate interest and even lead to an eventual sale. So, don't assume that one tactic can't cover multiple AIDA elements.

Your ads should cover multiple AIDA elements at once and focus on creating a personalised customer journey for each individual. Coca Cola, for example, doesn't need to create ads explaining the unique value proposition of their product - we already know!


The AIDA framework provides a guide for developing ad campaigns to understand the customer journey and make ads more effective. It reminds advertisers to focus on interesting thumbnails, compelling content, incentives, and a clear call-to-action. By breaking down the four stages of AIDA and applying it to your ads and their landing pages, you can create a successful ad campaign.

However, the AIDA framework is just a guide for marketers, and shouldn't be solely relied on. Use it as part of your overall digital marketing strategy, keeping in mind that not all customers follow a linear path when purchasing.

We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the AIDA framework, and how to use it to create effective ads. Now go out there and start creating your ads with AIDA in mind. 


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