Are brand sites more trustworthy than social media?

by | Dec 14, 2017 | Public Relations

New research reveals that while consumers use social platforms as their principal access point for information, only 55 percent trust the content they find there. When it comes to trust, consumers have higher expectations for brands’ own websites and apps—and expect them to be trustworthy, credible, accurate and up-to-date.

A new study from digital brand trade association Digital Content Next (DCN), Trust as a Proxy for Brand Value: Understanding the Role of Trust in Digital Content Consumption, conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, highlights what publishers and advertisers must understand about trust in digital media and the components needed to build a successful consumer relationship.

“This research confirmed consumers lack trust in social platform content and that it’s spilling over into their perceptions of brand sites and apps,” said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, in a news release. “While we don’t recommend that publishers walk away from the relationships they have with the platforms, we do recommend they urge the platforms to better utilize and protect trusted news and entertainment brands.”

Are brand sites more trustworthy than social media?

To maintain trust, brands should closely monitor trust and work to maintain it as a key differentiator in the volatile digital media marketplace.

Research highlights include:

Social automation and algorithms appear to have a negative impact

Sixty-two percent of consumers agreeing that “there’s so much random content on social media, there’s no way to tell if an article is credible or not.”

A younger audience of “Social Skeptics” has emerged

Seven in 10 of these consumers choose quality brand sites for content and prefer brand sites/apps for information. In fact, 41 percent of Social Skeptics have a content subscription, which also signals a preference for premium content.

Brand sites build trust by delivering on key attributes, such as credibility and accuracy

These attributes correlate highly to both trust and importance. However, there are also hidden drivers which are less obvious—but that correlate highly to trust. These include popularity, virality, and personalization, all of which are important strategies to employ and very much a part of the algorithms of platforms.

The study found that brand sites should incorporate four key building blocks of trust into their strategies:

  • Attribution (confirming multiple sources)
  • Reputation
  • Navigation
  • Prediction (past experiences with the brand)

Are brand sites more trustworthy than social media?

Consumer trust in brand sites also positively impacts advertisers on the site

Higher trust in brand sites results in a trust halo effect for advertisers. Brand sites provide a significant boost in advertiser trust and positive perception compared to social media and YouTube.

Consumer expectations around trust are higher for brand sites and apps

But they expect brands to be trustworthy, credible, accurate, and up-to-date. Therefore, publishers should closely monitor trust and work to maintain it as a key differentiator in the volatile digital media marketplace.

Read the full report here.

Are brand sites more trustworthy than social media?

The study was based on a U.S. online survey of 1,000 respondents with home internet connection, weekly or more engagements with social media and brand sites/apps of ages 18-64. Data was collected in October 2017.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter