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What are anchor items in advertising and how can they help to “catch” the attention of a potential customer

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Tatiana Avtomonova, Ads Designer


Today we are going to talk about targeting advertising. As you know, social media is overloaded with information and visual noise. The reader’s attention is overloaded and he or she might just click through your ad. And that reduces clickability and cost per lead.

How do you then “catch” a potential customer’s eye?

There are several ways. We will talk about one of them in this article.

What is an anchor object? 

An anchor object or “anchor” is a key element. The one that focuses most of the attention on itself. In our case, it is the main element in an advertising banner. 

Where do you place anchor objects?

Most often they are placed in the corners of the visual center of a rectangle.
Anchors can also be placed along with one of the power lines.

There can be several areas in an image, each with its anchor object.

With the right combination of these options, you can prioritize information, build a hierarchy, simplify the experience of the content and direct the user’s attention in the direction you want it to go.

Consider the example of anchors in advertising.

Anchor elements are placed in the corners of the image. This positioning allows information to be read quickly, so the user can figure out what to do next in seconds.

Rule #1: A person’s attention moves from the brighter and more visible element to the less visible one. Trace your attention back to this banner.

Another example:

Here, anchors in the form of text are placed along horizontal lines at the top and bottom, and there is a central element, the illustration.

The eye moves from the more massive and prominent text to the picture and then to the smaller text at the bottom.

The simple and clear structure makes it easy to find the information you are looking for.

The main thing is to remember to leave “personal” space between the elements and not to “glue” to the edges of the images.

With the help of a hierarchy based on point layout (pic. 1), object size, and contrast, you can direct the focus of attention to the action or information you want.

It is already clear from the examples that text and images can be attention anchors, what other elements can there be?

An anchor object can be any visible element: 

—  Photo / Illustration (person, animal, or even object)
— A text block
— A geometric figure can often be used as a substrate under an element, thereby enhancing contrast and highlighting.
— Pictogram, icon, tag, factoid
— Diagrams

The anchors here will be the child’s photo, the text, and the supporting text at the bottom.

Another example:

The combination of anchor objects simplified the perception of the advertisement and created some structure. For example, 325 leads were received from this banner. 


What images to choose as an anchor? 

In our practice, it is better to choose anchors with the image of the potential client’s problem. At the same time, images with the desired result work not much worse. But the best results were achieved with the former. Why this is the case, we discussed in an interview with Tom Schreiter. The fact is that people are more willing to accept a solution to a problem than to strive for a better one. 

The next example is a comparison:

The positioning of the elements in the comparison image, allows you to understand the size of the benefit. From this banner, we got 55 leads for a paid course.

Anchor elements can be found not only in images but also in text. For example, emojis or words highlighted in capsules, extra paragraphs, or other ways.

Such anchors will help your client navigate through the text. They will more quickly see what you want to convey.

Such markup in the ad text brought 172 leads, whereas without markup there were no leads at all.


By understanding how to create a simple and clear structure you can get more attention to the ad, make your pitch clearer, and therefore more attractive to the potential customer. Which in turn will lead to a greater ROI.

And yes, don’t forget to put images that demonstrate the problem more often – they work better.

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