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Why Official Channels Matter

Data Shows Giving Companies an Official Platform May Help Media Companies Record Increases in Trust

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I am not a spreadsheet wonk but digging into the trove of raw data compiled for the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer a few stats in particular jump out. When correlated they point to the opportunity that the media has to increase their trust as they begin to give advertisers an official platform to tell their story in their own words – just as our CEO wrote earlier this month.

First, among informed publics between 2011 and 2013 trust in corporate content globally rose four percentage points (13 – 17 percent). This is nearly the same rate that trust in social media climbed over the the same period (8 – 13 percent). Trust in traditional media was flat at 29 percent.

Second, trust in search engines actually declined 83 to 78 percent over the same period.

Finally, between 2009 and 2013, a greater percentage of the informed public said they need to hear things three to five times for it to be trustworthy. This figure grew from 60 to 64 percent over the period.

Taken together one could infer that more people are wiling to go directly to an official source of information like a corporate website than ever before, perhaps eroding some searches. But there’s overlap here too. It’s possible that trust is rising in social networks because, in part, it’s now a robust source for corporate/product information because so many businesses have jumped in to establish official presences.

There’s not enough data here to clearly indicate the trustworthiness of new forms of corporate/branded content that is increasingly being syndicated, integrated and co-created with media companies. However, I am encouraged that the data may encourage the media to see that, by giving companies an official content marketing platform, they can record gains in trust in the years ahead as more informed consumers express an interest in hearing all sides of a story. And that’s exciting for all involved.

​Steve Rubel is executive vice president, global insights and strategy.

Image by Pen Waggener.

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