Business as Usual Isn’t Accessible: Why Accessibility in Marketing Matters

Why Accessibility in Marketing Matters

What does accessibility mean to your business? I bet you’re thinking about ramps, elevators, or maybe a bathroom with space to accommodate mobility devices. The corporate world in general has made significant progress toward accessibility for everyone. But what about accessibility in marketing?

As marketers, our job is to create experiences for our audience that engage, entertain, and educate them. Accessibility in marketing means ensuring those experiences meet the needs of everyone in those audiences. The vast majority of your audiences will interact with your marketing content — whether it’s your website, blog post, social media presence, or even just your logo — long before they deal with you in person. The digital accessibility of that marketing content is vital.

Why Accessibility Matters in Marketing

Accessibility in marketing is a critical way for your business to maintain relevance, expand your audience, and, frankly, reduce legal liability. Drawing on the expertise of the team at Level Access, an industry leader in digital accessibility, this post will examine why so many brands and agencies are making accessibility in marketing a priority.

A growing number of brands are realizing that their marketing campaigns aren’t as inclusive as they could be, making digital accessibility a popular topic of conversation. And the factors behind this shift are varied.

Why Accessibility

1. Including People with Disabilities

Accessibility in marketing has become a mainstream priority. It makes sense — around one billion people (or 15% of the global population) live with a disability. If you’re not OK with automatically eliminating 15% of your audience, digital accessibility in your marketing efforts is a must.

Many people use assistive technologies to access online content. Your marketing campaigns must be compatible with tools like magnifiers, Braille displays, and screen reading software (among others) to minimize barriers for your audience.

Including people with disabilities is the top driver of digital accessibility initiatives, with 72% of respondents in the 2022 State of Digital Accessibility Report citing it as a factor.

2. Providing an Improved User Experience

The second most common reason brands report embracing digital accessibility in marketing campaigns is to improve the user experience for their entire audience. Very often, accessible content benefits everyone — not just people with disabilities.

Closed captions on videos are a great example of how accessibility tools can improve UX. Although the primary use case for captions is to make video content available to people with impaired hearing, they can also provide a better experience for people with cognitive challenges or viewers using devices with the sound off.

Data from Facebook indicates branded content designed to work without sound is rated as having 48% more relevance.

Because accessible content tends to be better organized and easier to understand, it also makes for superior user experiences.

Complying with Legal Requirements

3. Complying with Legal Requirements

Legal compliance requirements are an unavoidable part of doing business. While digital accessibility standards tend to be more stringent for government bodies, education, finance, and health institutions, the reality is that 20% of organizations have been sued more than once over accessibility issues. The number of ADA Title III lawsuits climbed 320% between 2013 and 2022.
Law or policy Description
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
  • An international voluntary consensus-based standard for web accessibility
  • Defines how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities
Section 508
  • Requires federal agencies to make their information and communications technology, like websites and training, accessible for everyone, regardless of whether or not they work for the government
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

4. Protecting Image and Market Share

A growing number of consumers are choosing to do business with companies that demonstrate alignment with their own values. That can mean sustainable practices or environmental responsibility, but it can also apply to social issues like diverse representation, equality, and inclusion. By prioritizing accessibility in marketing, your organization can demonstrate your commitment to providing an experience available to everyone.

But there’s a technical benefit to digital accessibility as well. Descriptive link text, header structures, and alt text for images don’t just make it easier for readers to process your content. They also make it more discoverable on search engines. Because just like SEO, digital accessibility is all about getting relevant content to your users.

How to Work Toward Accessibility in Marketing

Achieving total accessibility in your marketing campaigns isn’t easy — and it won’t happen overnight. But making digital accessibility a priority is an essential first step.

Accessibility in marketing will require a collective effort from your entire team, from writers to designers to developers. Centralizing your accessibility efforts and pooling expertise can minimize the burden on a single person or team and increase your chances of success.

At TPM, we’re proud to partner with Level Access to help organizations build more equitable online experiences and support diversity and inclusion in marketing and beyond. Reach out today to discuss how we can help you make your marketing more accessible.

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