Britons increasingly suspicious of content marketing

Thirteen of the 14 most trusted forms of advertising have seen a decline in trust over the last two years among UK consumers with editorial content experiencing the biggest drop, according to a new report.

TV ads, company websites and promotional emails have all seen a decline in trust among UK consumers, according to Nielsen’s latest ‘Global Survey of Trust in Advertising’, which polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries.

In the UK, editorial content was hit by the biggest decline in trust, falling 8% to 54%. This is followed by emails that consumers sign up to (down 7% to 56%) and newspaper and radio ads (both down 6%).

Of the 19 ad formats covered in the report, only the three least trusted – mobile ads, text ads on mobiles and ads on social networks – have increased in trust over the last two years.

Personal recommendation remains the most trusted form of communication at 60% of UK respondents.

Content marketing agency Kameleon’s CEO Richard Armstrong says millennial audiences are increasingly clued up when it comes to editorial content and so brands need to make sure their content is relevant to their target audience.

“The younger generation is especially more savvy when it comes to brands trying to integrate themselves in conversations where they don’t have any credibility,” he says.

“It’s all about showing rather than telling. Rather than brands constantly telling their audiences what actions they need to take, it’s about showing what they need to do.”

– Richard Armstrong, CEO of content agency Kameleon

“Influencer marketing can be particularly useful in this situation, as influencers bring the credibility and endorsement that brands so desperately need to get their messages out there.”

For example, whiskey brand Chivas Regal knew its target audience was interested in fashion, but didn’t have any credibility in that area.

“The brand realised that while its audience probably wouldn’t want to engage with content around whiskey, it could connect with them through their passion points. As a result, the brand partnered with Savile Row as they had more credibility in that area,” he explained.

Ad formats that lead to action

Personal recommendation is the format most likely to lead to some form of action being taken by consumers (cited by 71% of respondents), followed by opted-in emails (62%) and TV ads (53%).

“The formats where action exceeds trust by the greatest margin share a common attribute: easy access to the product or service,” says Nielsen’s EVP of marketing effectiveness for Europe, Terrie Brennan.

Generally, people are more likely to trust an ad format than take action as a result of seeing it. However, three ad formats counter this trend. Opted-in emails are more likely to engender action than trust (62% take action vs. 56% trust), as are ads in search engine results (43% vs 38%) and mobile text ads (28% vs. 27%).

“You like it, you buy it. Online and mobile formats make it exceptionally easy for consumers to live in the moment and take quick action on the ad. Often, consumers simply click a link and they’re directed to a place where they can receive more information or purchase the item.”

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