Which Marketing Channel is the Most Trusted? Our Survey Says…

Getting people to trust you has always been a cornerstone of effective copywriting. It’s a simple principle: if people believe what you say, they’re more likely to buy.

A key factor in building trust, that’s often ignored, is the channel you use. An advertorial, for example, in a well respected broadsheet is likely to have a higher response rate than if you were to email the same advert.

A YouGov survey (reported upon in Marketing Week) to assess levels of trust in different types of media (in response to the phone hacking scandal) found the following:

  • radio  – 52% think it’s very or fairly trustworthy
  • TV – 47%
  • newspapers – 28%
  • magazines from brands – 25%
  • online magazines and mag apps – 23%
  • paid-for printed magazines – 22%
  • websites – 21%
  • email – 11%
  • direct marketing – 8%
  • celebrity tweets – 1%
  • YouTube and website videos – less than 1%

(Breakdown courtesy of Help in the City blog)

Combining channels can increase trust levels (and sales)

Another interesting stat is that the same percentage (31%) trust ‘comments/reviews written by other users and customers’ as editorial written by professional journalists. This highlights the power of ‘word of mouth’ in the social media age, and that people are actively looking for feedback from other customers before committing to a purchase.

With this in mind, it’s worth considering how you can incorporate customer feedback alongside your own content for maximum trust building impact. Perhaps by extending your promotions into Facebook and Twitter, therein lies the answer?

Another takeaway is the fact that people now trust free branded magazines (e.g. those of supermarkets) more than paid-for magazines. After endlessly banging my drum about content marketing a few years back, it looks as though people are finally getting used to the idea of brands being producers of quality content, and not merely shallow advertising.

Customers are a cynical bunch

So what else can you apply from these findings to your marketing?

Well firstly, the overall low levels of trust show that you can’t afford to treat your customers like idiots. People are already cynical of marketing. Filling your copywriting with exaggerated claims and hype won’t win you many friends.

Secondly, try to involve customer input, with reviews, case studies and comments, to build the authenticity they’re looking for in this (supposed) era of transparency.

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