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Advertising Lacks Consumer Trust, and Influencers Can’t Save the Day

Advertising Lacks Consumer Trust, and Influencers Can’t Save the Day

New research has revealed slumps in consumer trust for nearly all popular forms of advertising, with even some of the fastest-growing and prevalent suffering heavy declines.

The UK contingent of 30,000 global consumers surveyed by market research group Nielsen shows 13 out of 19 formats dropping their levels of trust between 2013 - 2014. 

Newspaper, cinema, radio and TV ads all saw reductions, while just three of the formats managed to maintain their score, and only mobile ads, ads on social networks and text ads on mobile saw increases - the biggest movement being a meagre 3%.

What’s interesting is to see certain facets of the ‘new breed’ of ads placing highly in terms of their reduction in trust.

Editorial content, a gateway to monetisation for influencers and bloggers, may be trusted by 54% of Brits, but an 8% decline year on year - the heaviest out of all of the formats - won’t help its reputation as a promising alternative to some of the more traditional forms of ads.

In a similar vein, consumer opinions saw a 3% drop in trust, while personal recommendations were one of three formats along with online video ads and online banner ads that saw no change in their level of trustworthiness.

Limited change in this sense meant that personal recommendations soared above the other ad formats in the poll thanks to 81% of consumers trusting them “to some degree”.

Lower down the list, banner ads, placements on social networks and text ads on phones, the last of which raised its trust level by 2% last year, demanded plenty of room for improvement. 

Despite the overall table showing many formats to be trusted by the majority, Nielsen’s EVP for marketing effectiveness for Europe, Terrie Brennan explained that it won’t be easy to stop the rot.

“While advertisers have started to follow consumers online, about a third of online advertising campaigns don't work - they don't generate awareness or drive any lift in purchase intent. 

“More than ever, consumers are in control of how they consume content and interact with brands, so understanding ad resonance across screens is now the only way to successfully drive memorability and brand lift.” 

Brennan added that formats which exceeded trust by the greatest margin provided easy access to a product or service, which could by why two of the three formats that saw growth were based on mobile devices.

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Richard Towey

Richard Towey

Richard serves as head of content at PerformanceIN. After many years spent covering developments from the automotive, sports, travel and finance sectors, he eventually turned his full attention to reporting on stories from the fast-evolving world of digital marketing. Richard now heads up the editorial team at PerformanceIN: the performance marketing industry's leading publication.  

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