Ways to develop accessible and inclusive online advertising campaigns

Published August 14, 2023

Whether it’s getting more traffic to your site, more customers in the door, or promoting services, advertising aims to expand your company’s reach. 

The best way to influence potential customers is through advertising, a growing and bustling industry. The sector predicts that U.S. ad industry revenue will grow by 2.6% this year, reaching a record-high $352 billion.

Even with this in mind, some businesses still miss the mark by not being inclusive and accessible in their advertisements. By excluding certain demographics, you limit your audience, which is counterproductive to the overall mission. 

The importance of inclusive and accessible advertising

Those living with disabilities are often overlooked when it comes to businesses brainstorming for advertisements, even though they are a large part of our population. In the United States, 1 in 4 adults live with a disability. That totals out to 27% and breaks down to:

  • 12.1% with limited mobility.
  • 12.8% living with cognitive disabilities.
  • 7.2% facing difficulty living independently.
  • 6.1% with deafness or serious hearing difficulty.
  • 4.8% with blindness or low vision.
  • 3.6% with difficulty bathing or dressing.

Additionally, among people with disabilities in the U.S.:

  • 59.6% live in a household with internet access.
  • 62% of adults own a laptop or desktop computer, compared to 81% without a disability.
  • 72% of adults own a smartphone.

The consequences of inaccessible advertising

These statistics show that this large, often underrepresented demographic makes up a large portion of your company’s potential audience. Without accommodations, your advertisements won’t reach this population. 

This could also lead to:

When creating ad campaigns, always consider those with visual, hearing, cognitive, and mobility disabilities. By considering this large group of users, you prevent gaps while building your audience, which will support you in meeting — or even exceeding — your business goals. 

Considerations for developing ad campaigns

If your brand embraces accessibility, you stand to grow your audience by reaching more people and making a good impression, leading to more potential business. While this is great for your marketing efforts, it’s also just the right thing to do.

Be sure to:

  • Present information that users can perceive.
  • Make sure the landing pages you are guiding users to are also accessible.
  • Ensure that your messaging is clear and your call to action is obvious to create transparency, which leads to trust with your audience.

These measures will lay the foundation for online advertising campaigns that are inclusive, accessible, and effective.

Inclusivity in advertising

Inclusivity is the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. This includes those living with physical or intellectual disabilities or belonging to other minority groups. 

One way to showcase inclusivity is by representing marginalized groups in advertisements or on your company’s website. With more inclusive campaigns, you empower others while attracting new clients or customers.

Accessibility in advertising

Accessibility is necessary because otherwise, those living with disabilities will not have a chance to experience your advertisements. Being accessible requires providing barrier-free access to content.

Ways to do this include:

  • Adding closed captions to videos.
  • Adding both narration and text.
  • Including alternative text for graphics and images.
  • Limiting the use of pop-up ads.
  • Ensuring your text color and background have contrast.
  • Make sure your site is navigable using assistive technology.

By being both inclusive and accessible in advertisements, you expand your reach and help build a sense of community around your brand. This sense of community is what will keep customers and clients coming back by setting you apart from the competition. 

Not only does it benefit your business and help you avoid potentially costly legal matters, but being accessible and inclusive — even in advertising — is just the right thing to do. Representation and removing barriers allow us to include everyone and more accurately represent our diverse world.


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