New research by Havas Media Group in collaboration with the Wall Street Journal | Barron’s Group explores what encourages audience trust in news media and the advertising that runs alongside it.
A new study by Havas Media Group in collaboration with the Wall Street Journal | Barron’s Group titled “Trust in News” explores the components that drive an audience’s trust in news media and where campaigns can make the most meaningful impact.
Greg James, Global Chief Strategy Officer of Havas Media Group, explains: “Media is complex today, and there are risks: connection, context, and content all matter. We’re often faced with many decisions to make about when and where are good and bad places to appear as a brand. The issue of trust in media is not just debated in the industry, but is forefront in the minds of consumers, too.”
He added: “It is important to note that across generations, whether you’re a millennial or a baby boomer, there is a shared understanding of what makes a news source trustworthy. The definition hasn’t really changed. Print is still perceived as the most reliable source for dependable, quality news content. This study highlighted the definite skepticism around social media. People trust content they see in print, on television, and digitally significantly more than the exact same content on social, which was surprising.”
James added that the study came out of the Havas Media Group’s “Meaningful Media” ethos that in order for brands to become more meaningful, they need to appear in media that matters most to their audience.
“There is a correlation between where we show up and what impact we have; at Havas, we help our clients appear in places that are trusted, engaging, and influential,” he said.
The research drew on the attitudes and behaviors of 5,509 respondents who were regular consumers of news media across the globe, including North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, and spanned ages, genders, and sociopolitical points of view.
Among the insights revealed by the global study:
People are more likely to trust a brand built on transparency, integrity, and reliability. More than a third (46%) of respondents said a key element of their trust in a news organization is based on a trustworthy past. Strong, well-researched news content backed up by facts and figures is also a key component in gaining an audience’s trust.
The same quality content is less trusted on social than on other platforms. 80% of respondents trust high-quality news organizations’ content on their “owned channels,” but this drops to 57% when that same content appears on the organization’s social platforms.
Ads that run in print and on television garner more audience trust than digital and social campaigns. 60% of respondents trust ads that run in print media compared to 58% that run on television and 49% that are published on a digital platform.
People who classify as “right” in their sociopolitical viewpoint are more likely to trust news organizations overall. 78% of right-leaning respondents would place trust in a left-leaning news organization, while 68% of left-leaning respondents place trust news media that is right-leaning. Only 2% of respondents globally indicated the most important aspect of trust in a news story is “if I agree with the opinions expressed by the news source,” suggesting that a legacy of trust is built on other drivers, including reliability.
The halo effect on advertising is measurable. A key contributing factor to trust in advertising is if it appears on a news organization that consumers trust. Trust in the advertising on news organization’s channels retains 69%-83% of the trust readers have in the organization.
Josh Stinchcomb, Global Chief Revenue Officer at The Wall Street Journal | Barron’s Group, said: “The Wall Street Journal | Barron’s Group is thrilled to have collaborated with Havas Media Group on a global research study that explores the nature of ‘trust’ in news media, and the effect it can have on marketing campaigns. There is nothing more important to our business at The Wall Street Journal | Barron’s Group than the trust of our readers. Without it, we cannot successfully fulfill our promise to our brand partners: to deliver a qualified audience in a focused and decision-making mindset.”
Havas Media’s James added: “As part of our ongoing research and understanding of the best places to appear and to avoid for our clients, we wanted to dive deeper on trust. This global research with our partners at The Wall Street Journal/Barron’s Group has helped enlighten the delicate decisions around context for advertisers in news.”