NEWS17 June 2015

Children trust websites advertising familiar brands

News UK

UK — An ethnographic research study from Ofcom has revealed that online advertising from familiar brands is seen by children as a mark of a site’s credibility and trustworthiness.

The study, Children’s Media Lives, is tracking the same 18 children, aged 8-15, to explore how their digital media use evolves over time. Intended to offer an in-depth understanding of how these children are thinking about and using digital media, the study looks at device use, media activities, family dynamics, content creation and funding, advertising, online safety and parental concerns and mediation.

Findings from the first wave of research, which began last year and will continue for a further two years, indicated that children were most trusting of websites that advertised brands popular among friends and family. If a site had many adverts, it was considered a sign that the brands considered the site trustworthy, meaning the children could do so too.

The study also revealed that while children could recognise and understand TV adverts, and many could identify some kinds of online ads as advertising, many of the children failed to notice less traditional styles of advertising — such as banner ads on websites — as being promotional. Product placement was found to be almost completely invisible to them.