Able to Access

Able to Access. Accessibility is gaining more attention in the marketing industry as the largest minority group, people with disabilities, are often excluded from marketing plans. Social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn are offering more accessibility options such as auto-captioning and real-time captioning. In 2023, accessibility will continue to be a hot topic as companies invest in more accurate auto-captioning and visibility of accessibility options, in-person experiences become more accessible, and disability representation in advertising improves.

This trend originates from the report:

Meltwater - 2023 Marketing Trends Guide

About three in every 20 people worldwide live with disabilities, yet excluding them from marketing plans has long been the norm. From ads devoid of visibly disabled people to unusable websites and apps, the industry has a history of overlooking the largest minority group in the world. Those standards are slowly changing as more companies are implementing higher accessibility standards as part of their wider DEI efforts.

Thanks in part to subtitle-embracing Gen-Z, closed captions are a regular sight across Instagram Reels and TikToks, which both began offering auto-captioning features in 2021. In 2022, Instagram rolled out auto-generated captions for in-feed videos, while TikTok introduced the option to toggle auto- captions on and off. Meanwhile, LinkedIn began offering real- time captioning for the platform’s Audio Events.

To help the marketers behind the scenes, Google expanded its inclusive marketing resource All In to cover disability inclusivity and accessibility. And on the PR front, artists Beyoncé and Lizzo demonstrated how to approach missteps when they apologized and removed a slur targeting disabled people from their songs. Accessibility will continue to be a hot topic in 2023 as the progress made has revealed how much further there is to go.

A 2022 Business Disability Forum survey of disabled consumers found that 42% of respondents couldn’t complete an online purchase because of inaccessible websites or apps. Forty-seven percent were unable to find information about a product’s accessibility features. For social marketing, Twitter is set to roll out image description reminders, is working on a closed captions toggle, and is exploring expanded alt-text and captioning features.

We’ll likely also be seeing platforms investing in more accurate auto-captioning for video as well as live and audio-only events and making accessibility options more visible. For in-person experiences, marketers should pay special attention to the accessibility of spaces and get creative with multi-sensory experiences, giving consumers the chance to sample products and interact with products. Finally, when it comes to disability representation in content, 2023 will come with even more casual inclusion of disabled people in advertising that doesn’t center on disability.

Haven’t thought about accessibility in marketing yet? Consumers are continuing to demand more inclusivity and representation from marketers, which is why it’s imperative to be proactive about implementing solutions..