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Millennials trust ads in news media most: research

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While millennials are often perceived as disengaged with traditional media, opting for online streaming devices and social media platforms, Galaxy Research discovered that readers aged 18-34 trust ads in newspapers more than any other media and more than any other age group.

The Australian study, commissioned by NewsMediaWorks, titled ‘The Company You Keep’, gives insight into the importance and delivery of consumer trust in two vital areas: content and advertising.

Readers aged 18-34 still show less trust in Social, Search and Online despite being the more trusting age group of ads across all media. Social media scores a +2 amongst younger users, however ads in Newspapers (+37) and Digital News Media (+24) are significantly more trusted.

“I feel that newspapers are more traditional and therefore more trustworthy,” commented Pete, a 24-year-old respondent.

Community, National and Regional papers were overall indicated as having the greatest trust in both content and ads. While Metro papers performed next best with Digital News Media significantly outperforming Search, Social and Websites generally.

Community newspapers achieved the highest Net ADTRUST (+24), with Regional and National papers accomplishing a similar result. According to data from Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (emma), 66 per cent of Australian community newspaper readers look forward to reading their local paper and 70 per cent would miss it if it were not available – exemplifying the medium’s trustworthiness.

News Media grants its audience limitless access to information, facts and analysis, on which readers rely to inform certain aspects of their lives. The communities created by news media, made of 16.8 million readers in Australia, are responsible for judging brands by the environment in which they are seen.

Print and digital news publishers are working to create a space that is transparent, measurable and accountable, and have proven to be reliable, useful and effective.

The Galaxy research indicates advertisers need to focus their attention towards news media if they are to survive the ubiquitous reluctance and anxiety consumers possess over media as a major institution.

Trusted content, trust in ads

As concerns over brand safety increase in the era of ‘fake news’, it is imperative that the platforms on which brands choose to advertise are considered trustworthy, the research says.

Ten media channels were tested, including Newspapers, Television, Radio, Magazines, Cinema, Outdoor, Digital News Media, Social, Search and any other Websites.

More than 2800 Australians aged 18+ were surveyed and asked to determine to what extent they agreed the ads in the given media adhered to 20 characteristics (Honest, Credible, Useful, Likeable and so on) grouped into four key dimensions – Reliability, Usefulness, Affect and Willingness to rely on.

The study adopted an existing academic framework called the Adtrust Matrix to quantify levels of trust in content and ads, known as Net ADTRUST. This was calculated by taking the percentage of those who agree and subtracting the percentage of those that disagree on each characteristic.

The study found that there is a direct correlation between content and advertising, and ultimately demonstrated that ads in news media were the most trusted.

In a separate study called ‘Positioning News Media’, advertisers identified that ads trusted by the target audience was the most important characteristic in selecting what media in which to advertise.

These two key findings go hand in hand in highlighting the significance of trust within our current media landscape, and demonstrates the unique power and value of print and digital news brands as effective advertising partners.

“The fact is that news media continues to deliver large, highly engaged audiences who trust their preferred news source and adjacent advertiser messages” said NewsMediaWorks CEO, Peter Miller, commenting on the news media sector’s $2.07 billion in ad revenue achieved in the 12 months to September 2017.

‘The Company You Keep’ study confirms that high levels of consumer trust in content correlates to the trust found in ads.

In other words, the environment or context in which the ads appear elevates the success of the ad, creating a halo effect.

This advantageous halo effect is continued as 50 per cent of respondents agreed that the more trusted an ad, the more likely they are to buy the product and/or service.

Greater trust in content leads to trust in advertisements, which finally lends itself to greater purchasing intent, the study found.

Vijay, a 35-year-old respondent said: “Trust means being able to put your trust and faith in either a product or a person and feel assured that the product will be reliable, honest and live up to your expectations.”

This article is an excerpt of NewsMediaWorks’ feature on trust, featured in the latest issue of The Works. To read more on the topic and access some data rich deep dives on several advertising segments, download the PDF here.


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