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Why Accessibility in Advertising Is Good for Everyone

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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Sixty-one million adults in the United States have a disability, which is approximately 26% of the population. Without accessibility in advertising, brands might be missing out on targeting a significant chunk of that demographic — all because they’re overlooking people with disabilities in their marketing plans.

One survey conducted in the United Kingdom found that more than four million disabled people had abandoned a cart online due to accessibility issues. Some believe this has led to billions of dollars in lost revenue for brands.

As a whole, accessibility in advertising translates to ad campaigns that can reach people with disabilities, such as impairments in mobility, vision, hearing, and learning. Mass-marketed advertising campaigns tend to miss people in this group due to the extra effort sometimes required to make ads accessible.

On the other hand, brands that embrace accessibility and inclusivity in their advertising campaigns stand to gain as much in public goodwill as they would in profit. More than that, it’s the right thing to do.

For more information on web accessibility solutions for ecommerce brands:

Meeting Accessibility Requirements

One of the reasons more brands don’t capitalize on this untapped market is the perceived difficulty of making their ads more accessible. On the contrary, if brands plan out ads with an accessible mindset from the beginning, it’s easier to insert features like captions and audio descriptions.

While there isn’t a clear-cut set of requirements when it comes to accessibility in advertising, there are Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance requirements for websites and point-of-sale devices. The World Wide Web Consortium created a rule set on web accessibility called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. In it, the international standards organization recommended four main areas of concentration, which is to ensure:

  1. Information is presented in a perceivable way to all users.
  2. Users can navigate and operate the contents of a website.
  3. Users can understand the interface and information.
  4. Content is robust enough to be interpreted by a variety of audiences.

Every brand should consider designing for accessibility, especially when it comes to targeted advertising. According to the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, doing so can improve customer retention, customer service, SEO optimization, bounce rates, and usability.

Checklist of Accessibility Features to Consider When Creating Your Next Campaign

So, how can you start improving accessibility in advertising for your brand? Take a look at this checklist for some ideas:

✅ Test ads to eliminate bias

The easiest way to know if your advertisements are accessible is to include people with disabilities in the creative process. Try to run your ads by randomized focus groups to help eliminate any bias that might be harder to see from your brand’s perspective. The more voices you add, the more likely you can avoid harmful stereotypes.

Formulate campaigns with accessibility in mind

If you begin your marketing planning with accessibility at the forefront, you might be surprised how many missteps you can catch before it becomes an issue. Try adding people with disabilities to specific customer segments and including them in buyer personas for targeting.

✅ Consider an accessibility-friendly redesign of your website

Your brand might not have thought about accessibility when first designing your website. That’s okay — it might be a good time to think of a website redesign anyway. To make a website more accessible, try adding auditory cues for deaf users or contrasting text for colorblind users.

✅ Increase accessibility of digital ads

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve accessibility in advertising is to add narration and subtitles to digital ads. Facebook and YouTube already have features to automatically add subtitles to video ads, and introducing narration is as easy as recording a new voiceover.

✅ Use readable fonts

For readers with visual impairments, a hard-to-read font could be the end of their dealings with a brand. You should always consider which font to use when creating content, but taking some extra time to discuss accessible fonts could pay dividends down the road.

✅ Always use alt text

Alt text is the text attached to an image that users see when they hover the pointer over it. Page readers for the hearing impaired can also read alt text, allowing them to perceive the content you worked hard to create.

✅ Make sure content is navigable with assistive technology

Tools like text-to-speech software allow people with disabilities to navigate and enjoy online content, so it’s a good idea to make sure your website is compatible with assistive technology. If it’s not, users will look for a site that is.

For more help on extending the reach of your advertising campaigns, try AdRoll’s advertising platform today!

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