Only 17% of Global Ads Utilize Any Kind of Accessibility Features: XR

Report Highlights Overlooked Audiences and What Marketers Can Do to Close the Gap
XR Extreme

XR Extreme Reach, a global technology company that powers the creative economy, today released its 2024 Global Advertising Accessibility Index & Trends. The report reveals new insights into advertising accessibility worldwide, and launches the first global index that breaks down growth and development by market. The analysis of more than 100 countries revealed only 17% of advertisements were optimized for accessibility—leading to a significant number of overlooked audiences and ad impressions.

Accessibility in advertising is pivotal to ensuring that all ads have the opportunity to be seen, heard and understood by audiences, irrespective of their physical or cognitive abilities. Developed to encourage more inclusive practices across advertisers, agencies, broadcasters and publishers, and ensure that all creative is optimized for reach and resonance, XR examined the integration of accessibility features in advertising campaigns, current levels of adoption and the movement of regulatory standards across specific markets within North America, EMEA, LATAM and APAC regions.


The report defines advertising accessibility as advertisements that incorporate features that eliminate communication barriers. This year’s study employed a 12-month examination across 102 countries and analyzed over 800,000 creative assets and 7.8 million ad deliveries spanning linear and digital platforms. Research and data evaluation included a comprehensive review of current regulatory information related to accessibility across key markets, along with scaled analysis of creative inclusive of closed-captioning and audio descriptions.


The report’s most glaring discovery was the fact that 83% of global advertisements fall below basic accessibility standards with only 17% of the global creatives analyzed either including closed captioning, audio descriptions or a combination of both. Creative analysis and research also found:

  • No country has achieved a ‘Fully Realized’ level of accessibility maturity, with only 15% showing a material level of accessibility in their advertising.
  • Although many markets demonstrate good adoption of closed captioning, in some cases even reaching as high as 100% of ads, audio descriptions are still very much underutilized, reaching only 4%, and in most markets, less than 1%.
  • Closed captions and audio descriptions are significantly underrepresented across digital, with less than 1% including accessibility contents.
  • Canada has stringent government regulations that drive over 100% of broadcast ads to feature closed captions, followed by Ireland (30%) and UK (25%) Canada with significant improvements in their strategic objectives for accessibility.
  • Markets such as the United States, Australia and France are categorized as “developing interest” within the Global Advertising Accessibility Index, showing a growing focus on mandates, while other countries such as Spain and New Zealand fall under “Developing Interest” demonstrating progress in awareness.

“We are encouraged by an overall growing global shift towards accessible advertising as markets lean into establishing regulatory efforts and demonstrate progress in driving awareness,” said Simon Sikorski, president, global operations, XR. “Creating a more accessible future enables all sides of the industry to win; advertisers can achieve greater reach and resonance across all audiences, broadcasters and publishers drive greater value across inventory and all people can have the opportunity to connect with brands across the world,” added Sikorski.

According to Sheryl Daija, founder and CEO of BRIDGE, a DEI trade organization committed to helping companies operationalize inclusion as a business practice, “In terms of accessible advertising, XR’s report showcases the stark reality that the industry is still way behind in ensuring equitable access to all advertising by those with differing abilities and we have far to go to help connect overlooked audiences with great content experiences.”

XR’s new Global Advertising Accessibility Index will help align the ecosystem to evolving global standards and encourage all advertisers, agencies, publishers and broadcasters within XR’s ecosystem to prioritize accessibility across ad formats, platforms and channels.

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