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Trust in social media ads dwindles after data scandal

New research shows Australians’ trust in social media channels has fallen in the wake of the Cambridge Analytic scandal and concerns about data privacy, while trust in newspapers, news websites, radio and television has risen sharply.

The second Adtrust study by Galaxy Research, commissioned by NewsMediaWorks, the peak organisation representing news and media publishers, surveyed more than 4200 Australians over the past 12 months about their trust in the content and advertising across 10 media channels, including newspapers, television, radio, magazines, cinema, outdoor, news websites, non-news websites, social and search.

The findings revealed that consumer trust in the content on social media channels has fallen to -20 and trust in ads has dropped to -28 in just under 12 months since the inaugural study was undertaken.

The majority of Australians (58 per cent) trust Facebook less than they did six months ago and nearly two thirds (63 per cent) said they do not trust advertising on Facebook.

Conversely, trust in the content of printed newspapers has risen 13 points to +48 and trust in ads rose 10 points to +38, making newspapers the most trusted media for both content and ads. News websites were the most trusted digital channel for content and ads.

The research shows that trust in media channels directly drives purchase intent, with 58 per cent of consumers agreeing that the more they trust an ad, the more likely they are to buy a product or service.

“Consumers are now well aware that their personal data is being commercialised and, in some instances, their privacy traded for profit and, as a result, have honed their media choices. 

“The further erosion of trust consumers have in social media demonstrates they are tuned into the real news, nearly all of which has been revealed by quality newspapers and news websites. That’s where advertisers should be headed too,” NewsMediaWorks CEO, Peter Miller, said.

Trust in advertising also changes with age, with respondents under the age of 35 having higher trust in all media channels than older users, especially those aged over 55.

Younger users, despite being heavier users of digital media, ranked ads in newspapers as the most trustworthy of all media, with the study recording a pronounced drop in their trust of ads in social media and non-news websites.

The results are calculated as net figures, that is, the percentage of those that trust a medium minus the percentage of those that mistrust a medium.

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