What the heck is AIDA? - Part 1


Let me ask you, how do choose what article you read in a newspaper or magazine or even on your social media?


The usual answers I get are things like, it’s the picture or the headline, something that catches my interest.


Then I ask how do you decide if you are going to read the whole article?


More often than not the answers will be that they read the first paragraph, that one that is usually in bold at the top of the article and then if that piques enough interest they will continue to read the article.


This is exactly what the AIDA principle is all about. It is key principle we must understand when it comes to advertising. It doesn’t matter what you are actually advertising for, it could be for new clients, a new team member or if you have ever tried online dating you are advertising yourself!


Here is what AIDA stands for;

A - Attention

I - Interest

D - Desire

A – Action


Have you have ever seen one of those charity fundraisers that you see in shopping centres that are coin funnels? You put the coin in the top and it rolls around and around the funnel, getting faster until it drops through at the bottom. This is the perfect analogy for writing adverts, with the coin dropping through at the bottom being the person taking action to contact your business.

So lets take a look at each one individually.


A is for Attention


The first thing that any form of advertising must do is get the Attention of the people it is targeting, sometimes known as suspect. A suspect (not in the criminal sense) is someone who is in the market looking for our product or service.

This may be a little controversial among some readers, but everyone on the planet is walking around assessing what they see and saying to themselves (amongst other things), What’s In It For Me, also known as WIIFM.


There are 2 ways to get the attention of your target market;

1. Pictures and or

2. Headlines


Firstly the picture must be an image that resonates with the persons WIIFM. The image must elicit some kind of emotional response or interest in the person if it is to get them to continue to read through the advert.


For example a picture of incontinence pads is not likely to get the attention of a young single guy interested in camping and motorbikes.


Secondly and more commonly is the headline. Here we are using words to get the attention of the suspect and not pictures. The following is some guidelines around writing an effective headline;


1. It must take up to 25% of the space available at top of the advert


2. It must contain words or concepts that the target market is already considering about the product or service eg Attention Single Mums


3. It must be open loop (see the chapter on questions). The reason for this is it must draw them to read on, so they are able to answer the question. For example;

a. Here is how to….

b. How you can….

c. Finally, ….

d. The top 5 ways to…

e. Attention …


4. It must contain the word you, so the reader associates themselves directly into the headline.


Now that you have the attention of the target reader, its now time to build some interest like get our coin in the charity funnel that is starting to speed up as the funnel narrows.


See the next post for part 2.



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