- Research from YouGov from this month found that 61% of consumers who see ads at least once a month trust what they see, read and hear, a figure up 11% from March 2014 as reported by eMarketer.
- Beyond just trusting ads at a higher rate than three years ago, 72% of internet users said the ads they encounter are also “honest,” a 16% increase over 2014.
- Separate research from MarketingSherpa from last October that broke the trust in ad question into channels found that traditional channels like print and TV were more trusted than digital formats. Print trust topped 80% and TV neared print’s results while digital banner ads only reached 39%, the same number that reported trusting mobile phone ads.
Higher trust in advertising overall is good news for marketers, but those results are tempered by other industry research and trends which paints a much more complicated picture of the landscape.
There are indications that overall consumer trust in digital marketing has eroded, as evidenced by developments such as rising consumer adoption of ad blocking software. The number of ad blocking users has risen significantly in recent years. In a digital landscape cluttered with content consumers may find intrusive, restoration of trust could be critically important.
YouGov’s results stand in stark contrast to Gallup polling that found declining trust over the past 10 years in a wide variety of public institutions including churches, banks, the press and the government. The MarketingSherpa data that broke trust into specific marketing channels throws some cold water on YouGov’s numbers since digital ad spending continues to rise and is widely seen as one of the more effective ways to reach a specific target audience compared to the more scattershot approach of traditional channels like TV and print.
For marketers, the takeaway is that they need to be paying close attention to their target customers and how these consumers are engaging — or not — with messaging. If trust is growing, it could be because brands are doing a better job with consumer-first strategies. If it isn't, then its time to double down on streamlined, cross-channel experiences that value to the customer journey rather than intruding on it.