Digital Accessibility: The Missing Piece In Your Marketing Tech Stack

Published: June 21, 2024

Marketing leaders know that personalized digital experiences play a significant role in boosting sales and fostering customer loyalty, which is why many organizations have established robust marketing tech stacks complete with automation, conversion optimization, customer data platforms, content management and more.

However, digital accessibility solutions remain largely overlooked. This isn’t just a missed opportunity — it can amount to a significant loss of revenue for marketing leaders.

One in four adults in the U.S. lives with a disability that can impact their digital engagement. Imagine the financial impact if 25% of your audience couldn’t fully access or engage with your content, products or services — specifically, an audience that controls nearly $8 trillion in spending power.

Despite spending more than $20 billion on marketing software in 2022, many organizations still have a massive gap in their martech stack without an accessibility solution in place.

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The Business Case For Accessibility

In a recent survey internal survey of AudioEye’s A11iance Community, comprised of people with disabilities, we discovered that more than half (58%) frequently encounter inaccessible marketing materials.

While we as business leaders often prioritize efforts around diversity and inclusivity, we’re doing a poor job at extending this to people with disabilities. And since this is a population with such large buying power, our business will be the one to suffer in the long run.

Marketers have the unique ability to truly change the market, especially as marketing campaigns often serve as a customer’s initial introduction to a company.

Here are three benefits of prioritizing accessibility within your martech stack:

1. Expanded, Loyal Audience

Many organizations mistakenly believe they don’t have customers with disabilities. In reality, more than 1.3 billion people globally live with some form of disability — making the disabled community one of the largest audience segments in the world. By failing to invest in accessibility, organizations miss out on the chance to tap into this audience, who often describe themselves as being fiercely loyal to companies that prioritize accessibility.

Think about what it would mean if you had 1 million people visiting your site, but 250,000 are essentially seeing a blank page with no way to actively participate or purchase.

Marketers are constantly being asked to generate more pipeline while at the same time doing so with less money and resources. Addressing and resolving accessibility issues is an easy way to squeeze more out of our existing web traffic without spending extra resources.

2. Improved SEO Performance

Accessibility and SEO best practices often overlap. Clear and concise page titles, for instance, improve search engine rankings (which “crawl” websites to get a sense of what each page is about) and assist screen reader users, enhancing search visibility and overall user experience.

In 2021, Google introduced a significant user experience update, gradually implementing a new algorithm that considers on-page user experience as a ranking factor. Websites that continue to prioritize accessibility over time will start to see the benefit of better search rankings.

3. Reduced Legal Risk & Ensure Better Compliance

Earlier this spring, the Justice Department signed a final rule under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) clarifying that websites and digital content for government entities must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Similarly, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reinforced the importance of accessibility in healthcare.

Additionally, as accessibility becomes less a feature and more a requirement, B2B service and technology providers are being asked about their accessibility measures during the vendor selection process. Many enterprise companies will pass up the opportunity to do business if your company does not meet ADA compliance.

Incorporating Accessibility In The Marketing Tech Stack

For those new to accessibility, incorporating digital accessibility into your existing martech stack may seem easier said than done. From my experience, the most successful approach leverages the capabilities of both tech and humans and, even more importantly, tackles accessibility proactively through ongoing testing and education. Here are a few practical steps I’d like to address:

  1. Ensure all digital content meets accessibility standards;
  2. Use experts and automation to conduct accessibility audits and ensure compliance; and
  3. Maintain accessibility by utilizing members from the disabled community to find missing accessibility gaps.

While it may seem like a long and complex journey, prioritizing accessibility in every stage of development is essentially an extension of the personalization efforts many businesses are already implementing. By viewing accessibility as a deeper form of personalization, businesses can better capture and engage the one-quarter of the U.S. population living with disabilities — and consequently access the $8 trillion of spending power they represent.

By doing so, we not only enhance the digital experience for all users, but we also play a larger role in driving both business success and social impact.

Chad Sollis is a seasoned marketing and product leader with more than two decades of experience in driving business growth and innovation across various industries. As the SVP of Marketing and Operations at AudioEye, a digital accessibility platform, Sollis spearheads strategic initiatives in brand development, product marketing, growth, revenue operations and customer engagement.

Posted in: Demanding Views

Tagged with: AudioEye

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