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6 Reasons Why Icons are Important for Ads

Rocio Alvarez

4 min read

While the modern marketer has more tools at their disposal than ever before, helping a business to stand out in a savagely competitive market remains one of the hardest jobs to do.

Luckily, with icons, marketers can make ads that tap into how the human brain works to make ads more attractive, engaging, and easy to understand to drive engagement and conversions.

This article explains why icons are some of the most important visuals to have in your advertising –and tells you why your ads will do much better with them on board.

How Icons Work

Icons are visual representations of an object, action, or idea that convey information in a way that’s easy to recognize and remember.

The working of an icon is grounded in the design of the human memory capacity. Studies indicate that this capacity is made up of memory and recognition. Recognition is the stronger of the two, and people’s ability to recognize graphics is much stronger than their ability to recognize character.

By adding icons to your text, you add interest, enabling people to digest info much quicker and giving them an impression they won’t forget in a hurry.

In any case, people refer to read info with icons and text when the information is hard-to-understand. Plus, users only spend one to four seconds reading ads. Adding icons helps them to consume it all in one serving and in the one to four seconds window.

What Makes Good Icons

You have one mission to accomplish with your icons –that is to offer specific information visually without distracting the consumer.

But to achieve that, the icon must have the following features:

  • Simple, cohesive, and clean.  It should be straightforward but include the necessary details to communicate the intended message.
  • Should be mindful of the already widely-accepted icon models. For instance, a thumbs-up indicates ‘well done’. If you used a thumb down to applaud an action, it would send mixed signals.  
  • Perfectly designed. A perfect design will convey the intended information accurately.

Here are the reasons why icons are Important:

1. Generating Attention

The truth is people don’t pay much attention to ads regardless of where they’re shown. Since every platform is littered with them, people have learned how to block them –especially for the uninteresting bunch.

The characteristics of an icon make them natural drawcards for the eye. A well-done icon will draw attention within the first milliseconds that a user engages with it.  It’s hard to forget an ad that grabbed your attention that quickly.

2. Enhancing Branding

Other than grabbing attention and making the message more memorable, icons help link the ad to your brand. It’s a subtle yet bold way of sharing a brand’s personality as more and more people interact with the ad.

Most global brands have used icons to personify their businesses, turning the brand into more than just a revenue seeking entity. This smart approach is partly responsible for their success.

3. They Help to Describe Functions

Imagine that you just launched a new product and you’d like to describe its functionality through an ad.

In this case, squeezing the information in a step-by-step order may seem like a no-brainer. However, adding icons makes it much easier for the reader to understand what you mean and even try it out themselves.

4. They are Ideal Storytellers

Storytelling in ads is meant to evoke emotions in the audience. Because visuals are better at stirring emotions than text, icons play an important role in enabling marketers to tell the perfect story in their ads.

The spiral effect is seen in better engagement with the audience, and a deeper connection that pays out in customer loyalty and more sales.

5. They Provide a Better User Experience

At the end of the day, you want your advertising to yield positive results in the form of driving traffic to your sites for a start.  The problem is, this fruit of great advertising can be easily hampered by poor UI and UX.

For the digital marketer who wants to attract customers and convert that attraction into revenue –and hopefully a constant stream of it –using icons can help you ensure your UX is in top condition.

Icons work well on a graphical user interface because they are just the right size for a UI operated by the finger or mouse. Words and text on the other hand are subject to read-tap asymmetry –instances where a button or link is too small for tapping.

Considering that 74% of users will return to a website they found mobile-friendly, icons can also help your ads to achieve the ultimate goal of advertising–minting quality leads for your brand.

6. Creating Easy to Understand Advertising Features

Advertising features are typically loaded with information and are likely to contain infographics. The catch is while the infographic gives the audience a break from narrative text, it also needs to be succinct.

Today’s audience is also time-starved and has a short attention span. Infographic icons provide a clean layout for your infographic and can help you point out the important points. More than that, they can explain different stages in a process without complementary wording. They utilize the small space available in a typical infographic to say all that needs to be said.

Final Word

Icons are driven by the ability to grab attention rather than seek it and the ability to be remembered. Choose icons that help you do these two things for your advertising.

As most experts recommend, if every advertiser fully embraced the value of icons, ads would be easy to understand and information would be easier to digest and retain, making ads with icons more engaging compared to ads that rely on text alone.

If you’re looking for engaging social media and SMS ads that speak volumes without being bulky, trust the ATTN Agency to create them for you. We understand how important it is to speak your audience’s language and we’ll help you do that with each ad you put out.

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