Trust in newspapers strongest among all media: study

Newspapers have been found to be the most trustworthy source for content and advertising while social media was at the bottom of the scale, according to new research.

The AdTrust study, commissioned by NewsMediaWorks – an industry body for the publishing sector in Australia, found consumers trusted advertising and journalism in newspapers – in particular national, community and regional papers, above all other forms of media.

NewsMediaWorks chief executive Peter Miller said he hoped the study results, along with a growing number of trust issues relating to Silicon Valley giants, such as Google and Facebook, will convince advertisers to rethink their marketing budget allocations.

“We’re visiting every sales department of every news media organisation and I’m saying simple things to them, go and see your top 20 advertisers,” Mr Miller said.

“These findings might worry people who aren’t spending much money in newspapers.”

The study, undertaken by Galaxy Research which surveyed 2863 Australians above the age of 18, is due to be released on Wednesday at the NewsMediaWorks INFORM News Media Summit.

Newspapers, radio and television were all found to be trustworthy for content and advertising.

Surveyed consumers were found to trust neither the content or advertising on social media, while search engines were found to have trustworthy content, but trust in advertising was low.

Traditional publishers such as Fairfax Media, publisher of The Australian Financial Review, and News Corporation are facing declining advertising revenue. As advertising moves away from print to online, publishers are only making cents for each dollar they used to make in print.

The value of digital advertising has been dragged incredibly low. Meanwhile, players such as Facebook and Google are hoovering up most advertising dollars in the digital space.

This is despite a series of audience measurement, fake news and brand safety scandals in the past 12 months.

Facebook has been heavily criticised in the aftermath of the US election, which brought the surprise victory of Donald Trump. The social media site has been blamed for circulation of false stories before the election. Facebook also admitted to a series of metrics errors which boosted audience figures given to advertising clients.

In March, the Financial Review revealed the first Australian advertisers to pull their spend from YouTube after their ads appear next to undesirable content, sparking a mass boycott of Google’s video-sharing platform by advertisers in Australia.

The boycott of YouTube started in Britain when The Times revealed the British government and other major brands had their ads next to extremist content, hate speech and anti-Semitic material.

Trust is key to driving sales, according to the NewsMediaWorks study, which found half of the respondents agreed the most trustworthy an ad was,, the more likely they would be to buy the product.

Similar results were found last week by television industry body ThinkTV which measured the effectiveness of video advertising.

The study, undertaken by Adelaide University Professor Dr Karen Nelson-Field found TV advertising has a short-term impact on sales 24.1 per cent stronger than YouTube and 22 per cent stronger than Facebook.

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