How to Select Funnel Steps Correctly when Setting Up Attribution


If you want to optimize advertising costs and increase ROAS, consider and correctly evaluate the contribution of each channel in the chain before selling. The tools of standard Google Analytics aren't enough here because half of the attribution models available in the service give all the value from the transaction to any channel in the chain. The majority of the attribution models estimate the channel according to a conditional rule, not on real funnel metrics.


Learn more about the pros and cons of all models in the article What is Marketing Attribution Model for Marketer: The Definitive Guide.

Unlike the standard GA models, OWOX BI Attribution takes into account the mutual influence of channels on conversion and user engagement down the funnel. You can also compare ad performance across your standard models and the Full-Funnel Attribution model to see undervalued or overvalued campaigns.

As a result, you will be able to redistribute the budget to channels that attract users with conversions but don’t receive any value by Last Non-Direct Click.

In this article, we explain how to highlight conversion events for funnel steps on the AIDA marketing funnel model, and build an attribution model in OWOX BI based on these steps.

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Note: This post was originally published in Dec 2019 and was completely updated in Late 2023 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Sales funnel and AIDA Marketing funnel model

The sales funnel is the path the user takes from first encountering the site to buying. The AIDA model explains the four steps a consumer follows before buying something. According to the AIDA marketing model, this path consists of four stages:

1. Attention (Awareness)

  • This is the stage where consumers first become aware of a brand or product. It's about catching the eye of potential customers.

Example: Imagine you're browsing social media, and suddenly, you come across a captivating advertisement for a brand-new pair of running shoes from an unfamiliar company. The ad features bright colors and a catchy slogan, "Hit the ground running!" It grabs your attention amidst a sea of other content.

2. Interest

  • Once attention is captured, the goal is to build interest. The consumer starts to learn more about the product and begins to see how it could fit into their life.

Example: Intrigued by the ad, you click on it, which takes you to the brand's website. There, you find engaging content about the benefits of these running shoes, such as innovative cushioning technology that makes running less stressful on your joints. They've got articles and testimonials that pique your interest further.

3. Desire

  • Interest evolves into desire when the consumer starts to form a personal connection with the product, imagining themselves using it.

Example: As you read customer success stories and see images of people happily running in these shoes, you start to imagine your morning jogs being more comfortable and enjoyable. The website might also show a comparison with other leading brands, highlighting why these shoes are superior, increasing your desire to own a pair.

4. Action

  • Finally, the consumer takes action by making a purchase decision.

Example: Convinced that these shoes could improve your running experience, you decide to buy them. The website facilitates this with a clear, straightforward checkout process. There may be a first-time buyer discount that prompts you to complete the transaction immediately.

Throughout these stages, the marketer's job is to guide the consumer down the funnel by creating targeted content and interactions that are relevant to each stage, moving the consumer smoothly from one step to the next until a purchase is made.


In theory, it sounds simple and consistent. 

In reality, however, things are a little bit more complicated. The audience of your site may not behave as you expect. Visitors coming from different advertising channels interact differently. A person can go to the site many times and leave without doing anything, throw goods in the shopping cart, click on different banners, etc. Yes, his actions would be consistent, but each user will have his own sequence or actions (pageviews, button clicks, forms submitted, etc. - events collected into sessions, sessions grouped by clientid).

Also, the selection of communication channels depends on which stage of the funnel the user is on. 

For example, media advertising works perfectly with a cold audience at the top of a funnel that needs to create interest, to grab attention. 

Email marketing works better with the audiences at the middle and the bottom of the funnel. Those are loyal users familiar with the brand, so the conversion from mailing is higher.

To increase conversion from site visitors to buyers, you need to correctly track, understand and evaluate the actions of your audience and select the funnel steps you will use in your attribution modeling.

Steps after the AIDA Funnel Model?

Incorporating a re-engagement step after the initial purchase acknowledges the value of existing customers. The goal is to make it easier for them to buy from your brand again by recognizing their previous experience. Repeat customers would bypass the initial stages of the funnel and proceed directly to the action phase, enhancing efficiency and fostering loyalty.

Recent Updates to the AIDA Marketing Model

The AIDA model has been enhanced with variations like AIDCAS, REAN (Reach, Engage, Activate, and Nurture), and NAITDASE to address its simplicity and adapt to digital consumer behavior. The model now emphasizes personalized communication strategies across consumer touchpoints and platforms throughout the buying journey. It's used to structure marketing campaigns and websites, aiming to guide prospects from awareness to action while nurturing long-term relationships.

Why do you need a sales funnel

With the correct sales funnel, you can:

  1. Correctly assess the effectiveness of marketing, find undervalued sources of traffic, and optimally redistribute the advertising budget.

  2. Understand the needs of your users to make them relevant offers.

  3. Divide the audience into segments depending on which stage of the funnel users are at and personalize communication with each segment.

  4. Find bottlenecks in the funnel and optimize them.

How to form the steps for the AIDA Marketing funnel:

The task of your advertising and other marketing activities at each stage of the AIDA funnel is to motivate the user to move to the next stage — closer to conversion(whether it’s a sale or a scheduled demo). 

For example, conversion actions can be viewing the item card, subscribing to the mailing list, adding the item to the cart, and more. 

But how can you determine which of these actions are suitable for building an AIDA Sales funnel?

Select conversion actions for future funnel steps

At this point, you need to take all the business-critical actions users take on the site before they convert, such as the first payment.

The selected actions must be tracked on your site and sent to Google BigQuery. This will allow you to perform the next step.

Analyze how suitable the selected actions are for the AIDA marketing funnel

You can analyze conversion actions in different sections, for example:

  • Time from activity to conversion.
  • Probability of conversion due to the conversion action.

First, you should make a table like this with all the selected events:

Conversion action
Number of events (last 6 months)% of conversions made after this eventThe average time before conversion after the event
Event №1257 43295%3 days
Event №2145 76529%8 days
Event №356 3917%14 days
Event №......................

You shouldn’t limit yourself to the number of events. The more actions you use for analysis, the better it will be. At the same time, of course, don’t forget about common sense.

Then you have to make a graph based on this table. Here’s an example of such a graph:

The graph shows how the time before conversion changes depending on the conversion action.
Good — when the events you select are evenly distributed on the graph. This will make it possible to build a funnel by dividing these events into clusters, each of which will be a step of the funnel in attribution.
Bad —when events are grouped on the graph in one place. Then, you’ll only get one or two steps of the funnel. In such a case, the quality of the model calculations will be low.

Group actions into clusters - future Funnel steps

The potential AIDA funnel example on analyzed events:

Events 1, 3, 7, 9Events 2, 10, 13, 19Events 4, 8, 11, 12Events 6, 14, 15

Configure and calculate attribution in OWOX BI based on prepared clusters

If you don’t have a project in OWOX BI, you can start using it for free right away.

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Before you run attribution calculations, you need to collect all the advertising cost data in Google BigQuery. You can also collect the statistics from call tracking systems, email marketing services, and CRM revenue data.

With OWOX BI Streaming, you can srteam raw data about users’ events on the site (page views, events, transactions, etc.), etc. to GBQ. The same applied for [GA4] BigQuery Export.

You can also load order status information and users from your CRM into BigQuery manually. 

Data in GBQ can be accessed by SQL queries and answered as tables. (That’s why we’ve prepared a lot of customizable SQL templates so you don’t need to be a developer to apply attribution models, build reports or just access your data).

Example: Funnel for SaaS Business

On the screen below, you can see how traffic sources are often distributed at different stages of the funnel. If AIDA funnel marketing events are selected well (see chart above), we can redistribute the budget among advertising sources.

If the events aren’t selected successfully, all of them will fall on one or two advertising channels, and then there will be no options between which channels to redistribute the advertising budget.

P. S. If you need help combining data into Google BigQuery and setting up attribution, we are ready to help. Sign up for a demo and we’ll discuss the details.

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  • Why is AIDA Funnel Marketing important?

    The AIDA model is crucial in marketing as it provides a structured framework to craft effective communications that guide customers through the stages of becoming aware of a product, developing an interest, building a desire, and finally taking action. This process helps businesses capture and maintain customer attention in a competitive market, directly influencing sales and marketing success.
  • What is the limitation of the AIDA Marketing Funnel model?

    The AIDA Marketing Funnel model is limited as it presents a linear customer journey, neglecting the complexity of consumer interactions across various channels. It also overlooks post-purchase engagement, customer satisfaction, retention, and the potential for long-term relationships.
  • What are the 4 steps of the AIDA model?

    The AIDA marketing funnel model consists of four steps: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It begins by capturing the consumer's attention and then stimulates their Interest in the product or service. Following this, it kindles the Desire for it and, finally, prompts the consumer to take action, such as making a purchase or requesting more information.