As social media continues to be a dominant force in everyday life, marketing is more dynamic than ever. The “Smartphone Era” changes strategy to include short and sweet content that reflects a brand and makes it relatable, maybe in a catchy video or a visually appealing graphic. They spend time and money conducting market research and creating the perfect ad; posting at the right time on the right platforms, all in an effort to keep someone from scrolling past. More often than not, brands forget to ask themselves a crucial question: Is the content as accessible as it is informative?
Accessibility in marketing is more than a push for diversity and representation: It is about making sure that you are reaching every single member of your target audience. When you caption and subtitle your videos, both large and small, your outreach is guaranteed to increase, and the numbers prove it: The National Health Interview Survey in 2019 concluded that 14.6% of adults have hearing difficulties; that’s more than 48 million Americans! The most recent estimates for Michigan suggest that 17.4% of the state population has some degree of hearing loss.
Captions also have more practical benefits than we realize. A study from the University of Wisconsin concluded that subtitles benefit children and adults learning to read, and those who are learning English. The same study also claims it will increase student attention in courses and further develop literacy rates in developing countries. From a marketing perspective, we find that without captions, content can actually be making far less of an impact than we think it is.
Additionally, brands could make more money in the long-run by captioning content. If you publish a video or commercial without captions in Michigan, you are automatically missing a minimum of 17.4% of your audience. This number doesn’t account for those who can hear and still browse social media without the sound on. For example, someone being quieter at home while a family member is asleep, commuters on public transit, etc.
As an added bonus, you are creating brand loyalty! The Deaf and Hard of Hearing are more likely to appreciate and support a brand if they feel appreciated and supported in return. The vast majority of your competitors will completely neglect them by not making their content accessible and will lose the opportunity. Some companies have even gone the extra mile by including the Deaf community and American Sign Language in their marketing. Starbucks designed a completely unique “Signing Store”, conveniently located near the deaf institution, Gallaudet University. Pepsi had a Deaf joke in a Super Bowl ad in 2008, and AT&T sponsored an entire music video in ASL with a Deaf director and cast for their Feel the Music campaign.
The truth is that these initiatives are noticed because they are so few and far between. By captioning content we are:
- Raising awareness for accessibility in marketing and supporting those with disabilities.
- Making brands and businesses more accessible and relatable.
- Preventing more people from scrolling past content.
- Reaching an audience competitors may be neglecting entirely.
- Saving money by preventing wasted money.
Making content accessible is an essential step to elevating marketing campaigns as exponentially more companies see the benefits of accessibility. Don’t fall behind, set the standard for others.
Want to learn more about how to increase your brand or organization’s accessibility and ADA compliance? Our team at Coeus Creative Group can help you create more inclusive marketing. Contact us today to learn more.
You can access our easy to follow guide on expanding your reach through captions here.