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May 4, 2022 - By Hawke Media

Why to Focus on Accessibility in Your Video Marketing

From TikTok to Instagram Reels, video content is huge in the content creation space. According to Cisco, video content will make up 82 percent of the total web traffic in 2022. Among the driving factors for this trend is simply that more people around the globe are able to access the internet. Video marketing is the prime way to reach your target customers, but there needs to be accessibility for all audiences. 

However, your brand has room to access more potential customers through accessibility. In 2019, around 13.2 percent of the U.S. population had a disability that affected their hearing, vision, cognition or mobility. 

In addition to enabling people with impairments to better interact with your content, improving media accessibility allows audiences to engage with your content in alternate ways. From adding transcripts to including captions, improved accessibility in video marketing allows you to connect  with  a wider range of prospective customers. Plus, it offers invaluable opportunities to increase your online presence by optimizing your content for Google indexing.

What Is Accessibility in Video Marketing?

Accessibility in video marketing adds vital elements to your media so that anyone can easily engage with your content, whether or not they are a person with a disability. People who have visual or hearing impairments, difficulty moving or cognitive disabilities should have as  comparable an experience as anyone when interacting with your video content.

An example of good media accessibility is captioning in videos. It relays the same message to those who need captions due to an disability, as well as for those who choose to watch with sound off. For instance, if someone watching your video is in a noise-prohibited area like a library, captions help communicate the same audio information in a video without much hassle. You can also implement accessibility in web copy with the use of alt text to enable screen-reading software. This  gives useful descriptions of images to users with a visual disability.

The more users who find your posts easier to engage with, the more you improve awareness and reach a larger audience. Before we go further into the benefits you gain from making your content accessible, let us look at the laws that impact media accessibility.

The Guidelines of Web Content Accessibility

Different laws are in place to protect the rights of people with disabilities. With these laws, no one is excluded from engaging with meaningful digital experiences.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA’s purpose is to improve access and possibilities for  those with disabilities ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity in the workforce. Following the first signing, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law in 2008, with several significant amendments concerning the meaning of “disability.”

Under ADA Title II and III, auxiliary aids and features such as transcript and media descriptions must be provided to people with impairments. This requirement ensures disabled people have equal access, rights and opportunities to information in the community. 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to act as an international standard for making web content more accessible for people with disabilities. The guidelines enable web developers to improve web accessibility, including mobile accessibility, creating a more inclusive environment where everyone can interact with dignity.

These guidelines apply to information on web pages such as text, image and video. It also extends to the structure of the information and how you present it to the audience, like reducing or hiding content that can trigger photosensitive people. The standards of accessibility included in the WCAG have three levels of compliance scaling from 80-100 percent web content compliance.

Benefits of Making Video Content Accessible

There are benefits of making your video content accessible and they include the following:

Boosts SEO

Search engine web crawlers have an easier time indexing your website’s content when you add descriptive text for visual media, such as images and videos. By including target keywords into your videos’ descriptions and transcripts, you help search engines better understand your web page and what your content offers. As a result, media accessibility features give your pages a better chance at ranking higher on search engine result pages.

Increases reach

Developing your web content to be accessible to those with disabilities enables you to reach a wider audience. With a better user experience, you improve the ways users can engage with your brand as you reduce the challenges they may have while navigating your content.

How to Make Video Content More Accessible

There are some inexpensive ways to improve your accessibility in video marketing without losing the core message of your content. From including captions to enabling audio descriptions for your videos, the primary purpose is to ensure that people can engage with your content, whether they have hearing loss or are visually impaired.

Add video captions

Captions are significantly different from subtitles, which mainly provide the text format of the dialogue in the video. Although both appear at the bottom of the video, captions tend to cover more screen real estate. This scope includes the dialogue in the video, the sound effects and essential background information to ensure the user gets a more complete understanding of the video’s content.

There are a couple of different types of captions depending on platform and preference. Closed captions are separate from the video and are typically shown by the video player, with the option to turn them off. In comparison, open captions are directly embedded into the video and cannot be disabled.

Platforms like TikTok, Facebook and YouTube automatically add text to video using speech recognition software. This is helpful for a lot of content creators, but can lead to inaccuracies due to the limitations of the technology. Usually these platforms offer a way to edit what was automatically curated, so always revise. If revisions aren’t possible, add the captioning yourself. 

Remember: Captions are not limited to dialogue. Add any audible cue to enhance the experience for those watching without sound. This can include the type of music in the background, deliberate silences or coughs and background noises. 

Include Video Transcripts

Transcripts are more descriptive than captions, providing a text-only version of everything in the video. People with hearing loss can read the full-text transcript to understand the video’s content. Typically, transcripts have timestamps and written descriptions of audio effects like dramatic pauses and visual details in the video. With the complete text, users can conveniently search for particular information and go directly to the parts of the video where it is mentioned. 

As with closed captions, a video transcript is usually included on the service hosting the video itself. On YouTube, for example, one would click the three dots on the video for settings, and then click “Open Transcript.” Similar circumstances exist with Vimeo and other common video hosting platforms that you may embed on your site or app.

 As with captions, verify the text for accuracy. If you are hosting the transcript on your own site, you’ll need to write it and manually hyperlink to it when creating the web page. You don’t need to list every word of the transcript out on the screen, but you should host the transcript in a page or PDF that can be read by Google to help boost SEO.

Enable Audio Descriptions

Remember, transcripts are not just for persons with hearing disabilities and those with visual disabilities, but for anyone who wants quick access to the content of the video in written form. Include full descriptions so that a reading of the transcript gives visitors a full description of the video or webpage. Although standard audio descriptions provide basic information about the video, such as the scenery and discussion, it can be extended to give information on every detail, frame-by-frame.

If this all sounds like a lot, that’s because it can be when you’re first getting started, especially if your website or videos have never been optimized for accessibility before. The effort to optimize your videos for accessibility will be worth it. You’ll reach a wider audience, boosting SEO, and generally leading your industry as an ethical brand. The experts at Hawke Media will help you get started.

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