NewsMediaWorks has released its latest AdTrust research, revealing insights into consumer trust in media and the ads placed there.
The report covers perceptions of content and advertising by channel, highlighting news media’s strong lead in terms of trust.
That is why 94 per cent of Australians (17.4 million people) continue to engage with news media.
The research found that the highest level of trust was in printed newspapers, at 27 per cent net content trust, followed closely by news websites at 21 per cent. They also had the highest ad trust scores.
Social media, on the other hand, received a rating of –22 per cent net content trust and -26% for ads , making it the least trusted across both metrics.
Newspapers trust is high across all categories, with regional papers considered most trustworthy by readers, followed closely by national, community and metropolitan mastheads.
For websites, the AdTrust research indicated clear differentiation between news media websites and other digital media, with the former considered more trustworthy than search engines, non-news websites and social media sites. This highlights the value of premium in the digital marketplace.
What drives trust in news media?
A central question at the heart of the AdTrust research was around what makes a medium considered trustworthy or untrustworthy. This was approached through a series of questions that allowed respondents to identify what aspects of a medium indicated reliability, truthfulness and relevance.
The findings showed that news media credibility is driven by reputation and accountability. For example, respondents identified that news media are regulated and monitored, and that publishers have to comply with laws and codes of practice.
Furthermore, several participants identified that there is reputational risk for news media publishers if they are found to have printed material that is untrue or misleading.
In contrast, respondents considered social media to be less trustworthy due to high levels of spam, unregulated and user-generated content, and difficulty in determining whether information posted was factual or not.
“Advertising on social media is all about clickbait,” said one respondent. “Companies will write anything for you to be intrigued and click on a link to visit their site.”
How does trust in media differ between demographic groups?
Demographic breakdown of results reveals that younger news media consumers are more trusting of ads in all media types compared to older readers, and female readers tend to be more trusting than males.
Participants that had a higher income were more trusting of ads particularly in newspapers than lower income earners.
Overall, almost in one in two of all respondents agreed that their trust in a medium’s content impacted their trust in the ads they are exposed to on that medium.
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