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News media delivers a halo effect for advertisers

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 ‘The Company You Keep’ is a recently published study by Galaxy Research exploring consumers’ trust in different media. LANCE CLATWORTHY now takes a deeper look at how greater trust in content earns greater trust in ads. News media outperforms all other media on both metrics.


Ads trusted by the target audience

A survey of advertisers revealed that they rate “Ads trusted by the target audience” as the most important characteristic in selecting a media in which to advertise.*4


Content trust earns ADTRUST but less so for Social media

Community papers, National papers and Regional papers stand out as enjoying both the greatest trust in content and the greatest trust in ads. Metro papers perform next best with Digital news media significantly outperforming Search, Social and Websites generally. The latter 3 media types exhibit lower trust in both content and ads.

The graph below clearly shows the high correlation between the trust that consumers have in a media’s content and the trust they have in ads on that media. On the basis of the research data collected for each media type, the “line of best fit” is effectively a model that uses Content trust scores to predict ADTRUST scores.   The model suggests that content trust is responsible for 84 per cent of ADTRUST – Nothing drives trust in ads like trust in content.

Of particular note is the fact that Social media has a low content trust of -16. The “line of best fit” model suggests that this level of content trust should deliver a trust in ads score of around -1. However, Social media has an ADTRUST score of -21. Social media has even less trusted ads than we’d expect given the low trust in content.

Two of the Galaxy research respondents help to illustrate the difference in people’s perceptions of Social media and newspapers:-

  • “Social media is very anonymous so anyone can publish ads” commented Holly, aged 22.
  • “I feel that newspapers are more traditional and therefore more trustworthy” said Pete, aged 24.


Fake news outperformed real news on Facebook

Illustrating the reasons for consumers’ low trust in Social media content, a BuzzFeed news analysis found that top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook than top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined. During the key election period (Aug 2016 to 8th November election day), the 20 top performing false election stories from hoax sites and blogs generated 8.7m shares, reactions and comments on Facebook. Over the same period, the 20 best performing election stories from major news websites generated 7.4m engagements. On Facebook, fake news had commanded more attention than real news.

Rachel Botsman is an acclaimed author and global authority on a new era of trust:-

  • “Technology, for all its pluses, also means falsehoods and ‘fake news’ can quickly spread through networks unchecked and with unstoppable momentum.”
  • “In fact, online misinformation on a grand scale – and the potential for digital wildfires – was listed by the World Economic Forum in 2016 as one of the major risks to our society.”


News media has earnt consumers’ trust

For newspapers, more so than any other media, long established credibility has built consumers’ trust in the content. This in turn has earnt a greater trust in ads – a greater trust from advertisers’ target audiences. And Digital news media also demonstrates content trust that has elevated trust in ads significantly above that achieved by Social media, Search and Websites in general.  For advertisers on news media, trusted content delivers trusted ads.

ADTRUST and Content trust consumer research:

*1. Galaxy Research online questionnaire, June 2017 was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 2,863 Australians aged 18 years and older. Results displayed are Net ADTRUST and Net CONTENT TRUST which, on a scale from 1 to 7, is Percentage agreeing (5,6,7) less Percentage disagreeing (1,2,3);

*2. ADTRUST matrix : 20 component characteristics : Developed and validated by Hyeonjin Soh, Leonard N Reid and Karen Whitehill King (2009). Measuring Trust in Advertising. In Journal of Advertising, Vol. 38, Issue 2, p83-104;

*3. Content trust was not asked for Outdoor or Cinema;

*4. Positioning News Media : Mark Ritson, Associate Professor of Marketing, Melbourne Business School. Online questionnaire conducted by Research Now, Sept. 2016. n = 260 advertisers;

*5. Verbatim quotes : Galaxy Research online questionnaire, August 2017. Recontact to n=200 of the 2863 ADTRUST respondents : 8 open ended questions asked online.

*6. QB1: To what extent do you agree or disagree that information conveyed in advertising in < media > is…? Scale Disagree 1 to Agree 7: Net Adtrust is Percentage answering 5,6,7 less Percentage answering 1,2,3.

*7. QB3 To what extent do you agree or disagree that the information provided in news items, articles, programs and other content on < media > is trustworthy? Net Content trust calculated as Net Adtrust (above).

*8. A BuzzFeed News analysis found that top fake election news stories generated more total engagement (eg, shares, comments) on Facebook than top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined ; Access the article here.

Today’s news Russia-linked posts ‘reached 126m Facebook users in US’

Access “New ‘AdTrust’ Study Reveals Consumer Trust in Content and Ads Across 10 Media Channels” here.

Access “AdTrust: young readers driving news media trust” here.


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