Traditional publishers are the most trusted source of content among consumers compared to blogs and social media, although the results vary per vertical, according to new research.
The findings come from content recommendation platform Outbrain, which surveyed the online content consumption habits of 1000 UK consumers to find out the nature of content trusted online and to identify when content marketing is most effective.
According to the research, two-thirds of respondents found traditional publishers more reliable than social media or blogs for topics such as travel and finance, while social platforms were found to be more trusted in regard to what the company called “lighthearted content”, such as fashion and health & fitness.
Outbrain’s Northern Europe managing director, Stephanie Himoff, said that the results reaffirmed the importance of unintrusive, native content in marketing strategies, with content recommendations on publishers’ sites, claimed to be the “most interesting”.
“Given that consumers spend much less time reading service and product reviews than other types of content, marketers would be wise to use engaging content in the environment consumers trust most – publishers’ sites,” said Himoff.
On the whole, the report revealed traditional publishers – such as The Guardian and The Sun – to be more trusted as sources of information over social media or blogs, with two-thirds of respondents agreeing content found on the former is reliable.
While social networks still eating consumers’ most time online, Outbrain suggests trust there is becoming harder to earn; the report found that 77% of consumers found familiar brands to be reliable sources of information, ahead of content shared their friends on social media at 67%.
The results from Outbrain’s study conflict fairly starkly with a report by Nielsen from 2015, which showed a decline in consumer trust for brands. At the time, the most trusted source was a personal recommendation (81%) and consumer opinions online (58%).
Meanwhile, a survey in the same year by affiliate network affilinet found bloggers to be the third most trusted source of information, behind friends and family, while journalists and brands sat at sixth and ninth place respectively.