NEWS4 June 2024

Survey highlights growing levels of trust in advertising

Media News Trends UK

UK – New research from industry think-tank Credos suggests there are growing levels of public trust in advertising, with the sector no longer named the least-trusted industry in the country.

Trust in advertising

The research released today by Credos, part of the Advertising Association, shows that advertising has, for the first time in a decade, escaped bottom spot; the sector now ranks ahead of the government and the media for credibility. Young people are especially likely to say they trust the ads they encounter.

The Value of Trust report from Credos shows that trust is now the strongest driver of brand profitability after the perceived quality of the brand, ahead of five other metrics. 

The findings are based on several pieces of research, including a YouGov/Credos poll of 107 MPs, IPA Databank data analysed by Peter Field, an Advertising Association/Credos public trust tracker and qualitative and quantitative research from Credos including a survey of 2,002 people, 30 people for a week of digital tasks and nine 45-minute Zoom interviews.

It also shows how the brands that focused less on building long-term trust and more on short-term sales during the pandemic have seen long-lasting negative impacts on profits.

Our latest research shows that public trust is improving, especially amongst younger people – and we must keep building on this,” said Stephen Woodford, CEO at the Advertising Association.

“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.”

The Credos study found that young people are far more likely to say they trust the ads they see or hear, with 50% of people aged 18 to 34 saying they trust ads, compared with 22% of over 55s.

Television remains the most-trusted advertising channel overall, though trust in digital advertising is rising, especially among the young, who are four times as likely as over-55s to say they trust the digital ads they encounter.

People’s enjoyment of advertising is the biggest determinant of whether someone trusts it or not, and having a sense of being bombarded by advertising is the single biggest driver of distrust.

The report said the YouGov/Credos polling among 107 MPs in January also found that those who do not trust the advertising industry are five times more likely to support greater government intervention to regulate the sector. 

Overall, 39% of surveyed MPs said they trusted the advertising industry, and 33% did not. The others were non-committal. 

“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’,” said Dan Wilks, director at Credos.

“Firstly, when it comes to results, trust in brands and trust in advertising media increases profits and overall effectiveness. Secondly, our research shows politicians and policymakers are more likely to impose regulation on an industry deemed untrustworthy. Finally, trust in our industry, its values, and ways of working, is key to attracting and retaining the best talent.”