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Trust Me - This Is The Hot Topic

At the end of 2016, working with our research partner, iReach Insights, we asked a nationally representative sample of adults the extent to which they trust advertising platforms. Our objective was to understand more about each medium, delving deeper than reach and frequencies. Pertinent in a year that Edelman reveal “a global implosion of trust” across government, business, media and NGOs (the largest ever drop in trust across 17 years) and in which we are no longer sure what’s fake and what’s not. 

Ironically, within a global fake news storm, we found that consumers across Ireland trust Editorial Content (newspaper or online editorial content) above all other formats. Despite proliferation of online sources of news and information, it could perhaps be testament to strong news brands and historic journalistic integrity in the Irish market. For a relatively small country, community and local news remain important.  Mindshare ‘Day in the Life Of’ (DILO) research shows us that overall, 77% of adults consumed news online yesterday and 49% consumed printed news.

On a worldwide scale, in light of recent world events, a strengthening of editorial content has been called for. The Guardian last week called for journalists to work together to ensure the stories that should be investigated and reported to the public are, citing the coordinated work of 107 international news outlets in breaking the Panama Papers news story in 2016. If this comes to light, it could further amplify the importance and trust in Editorial Content into the future.  

On the opposite end of our trust spectrum lies social networks, 5th least trusted advertising platform with 16% of adults saying they completely trust or somewhat trust this platform.  This position is reflected on a global level.

For such a popular advertising platform and one of the most consumed, trust levels would indicate consumers are not entirely confident of this platform. The fast pace of change in the social media sphere coupled with a lack of understanding of data usage and privacy issues may be to blame. GroupM Ireland research indicates that consumers remain unsure;

  • 62% of adults are concerned about the amount of information companies such as Google and Facebook have about them
  • Only 12% believe that allowing tech companies such as Google and Facebook access to their online data will benefit them
  • 9% are comfortable with their data being used for personalised advertising online

(Source: GroupM Ireland Quarterly Media Tracker, Q4 2016)

These sceptical views are reflected across younger age groups too so it may be a while before we see trust levels across social media rise.

While levels of trust are low across some advertising platforms, it doesn’t mean that consumers won’t notice, like, remember or take action. DILO research shows that 77% of the population were on Facebook yesterday with social media taking up 14% of our media day (GroupM Ireland Quarterly Media Tracker Q4 2016) so its reach is undeniable.

Trust is borne out of a company (be that a brand or a media owner) being consistently reliable and truthful and is earned over time.  So it’s up to us all to ensure those standards as a minimum.

More results from our research into trust and action of advertising platforms can be found here.