Advertising no longer the UK’s least trusted industry for first time in a decade 

Research from the Advertising Association finds that trust in advertising is growing, with the industry no longer the UK’s least trusted.  

Advertising is no longer the UK’s least trusted industry, according to new research from the Advertising Association (AA) shared today (4 June).  

For the first time in a decade, advertising has been bumped off the bottom spot for consumer trustworthiness. It’ll perhaps come as no great shock that the media and government have overtaken it as the least trusted industries among the public.  

Just 26% of UK consumers trust the government and media, while 30% now trust advertising, up by 7% on 2022 figures.  

The most trusted industry is the medical profession (73%), followed by banking (48%), telecoms (43%) and energy (32%).  

Trust in advertising is higher among younger people (50%) than those over-55 (22%) – with young people four times more likely to trust online advertising than the over-55s.

Television is the most trusted medium, with 41% of consumers trusting it.

People twice as likely to trust ads after seeing watchdog’s awareness driveThe ‘Value of Trust’ report from the AA and think tank Credos also found a link between trust and overall effectiveness, as trust jumped from seventh to second place as a driver of brand effectiveness and financial performance. 

Dan Wilks, director at Credos, says: “If people want to truly understand the value of trust in advertising to them, it is best described as results, regulation and recruitment, or the ‘3R’s of Trust’. When it comes to results, trust in brands and trust in advertising media increases profits and overall effectiveness.”  

Different industry initiatives have contributed to a growth in trust, including the Advertising Standards Authority’s trust campaign, which resulted in people being twice as likely to trust ads after seeing the campaign.  

Credos and YouGov, as part of the report, polled 107 MPs in January. Overall, more than a third of them (39%) trust advertising, while 33% distrust it, and 23% neither trust nor distrust. Of those surveyed, the report found that those who distrust the industry are five times more likely to support government regulation action.  

Stephen Woodford, CEO of the AA, says: “Our latest research shows that public trust is improving, especially amongst younger people – and we must keep building on this.

“Improving the public’s advertising experience, through more engaging creativity and well-planned media exposure, not only improves trust but drive better business outcomes too.”