Do people trust brands more than their friends online?

Traditional publishers are the most trusted source of online content, according to Outbrain.

The premium content company asked people who they trust most online and how this affects their purchasing decisions. They found that people often trust content posted by brands more then that posted by their friends.

The survey of over 1,000 UK consumers found that 34% of time online is spent consuming content that the individual did not set out to find.

What does this mean? Outbrain believes it highlights the importance of ‘unintrusive, native content’.

This is supported by the fact that respondents listed content recommendations on publishers’ sites as the most interesting.

Trust is high in traditional publishers

In fact, the study points towards a high degree of trust amongst consumers in traditional publishers. Two thirds of respondents listed these kind of publications (such as The Guardian and The Sun) as being reliable.

Traditional publishers were the most trusted sources of content relating travel and financial advice. Social media was more trusted for content relating to health and fitness and fashion.

“Marketers need to bear in mind the need for innovation and creativity,” Outbrain’s northern Europe managing director Stephanie Himoff.

“Given that consumers spend much less rime reading service and product reviews than other types of content, marketers would be wise to use engaging content in the environment conumsers trust most: publishers’ sites.”

Harder to gain trust on social media

The survey results also showed that even though people tend to spend the majority of their time on social media, trust is a much rarer commodity.

Interestingly, 77% of respondents considered familiar brands a reliable source of information. This compared to 67% who thought the same about content shared by their friends.

60% considered useful and relevant content from brands they were unfamiliar brands was reliable. 

Again, suggested and recommended content comes out favourably. 54% of respondents said they liked being guided as it allowed them to find services and products that they might find useful.

The amount of content that an individual will look at also depends on the kind of product they are looking for information on. Shoppers tend to read three pieces of content before parting with their money, while this rises to five for travel and financial advice.

The full report can be downloaded here

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