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Do Americans Trust Advertisements?

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Half of Americans say they don't trust advertisements, and 44% say they think ads are intentionally dishonest, according to a recent poll from YouGov.

Moreover, most Americans (58%) say there should be stronger requirements for proving claims in advertising.

Trust in advertising appears to be dependent on education, YouGov found: 65% of Americans with postgraduate degrees say advertising cannot be trusted, compared with 44% of those with a high school education.

Age plays a role as well: 35-54-year-olds are more likely to trust advertising (58% do) than 18-34-year-olds and those 55+ (only 48% of both groups think advertising can be trusted).


Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 987 US adults who see advertisements at least once a month.

Trust by Category

  • Advertisements for diet products, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and cars are the least trusted by consumers.
  • Ads for restaurants, clothing stores, and household electronics are the most trusted.
  • 25% of respondents say they believe advertising claims made by casual dining restaurants (e.g., Applebee's, Chili's, Olive Garden), but only 16% believe those made by fast-food chains.
  • Women (23%) are more likely than men (16%) to trust clothing store advertisements, whereas men (17%) are more inclined than women (12%) to believe consumer electronics advertising.

Claims

Tactics such as comparative advertising, citing scientific endorsements, and highlighting awards increase trust with some consumers but actually make a larger number more suspicious:

  • 16% of respondents say they are more likely to believe an advertisement that includes the testimonial of a scientist or expert, but 29% say they are less likely to believe these sorts of ads.
  • Ads making comparisons with brand competitors are more likely to be believed by 15% of respondents but less likely to be believed by 26%.
  • Advertisements that mention awards are more likely to believed by 20% of respondents but less likely to believed by 22%.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 987 US adults who see advertisements at least once a month.


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Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategy and content consultant. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His experience includes working as a strategist and producer of digital content for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and AOL.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Kimmy Burgess Fri Apr 25, 2014 via web

    Brand advertisement is mainly spreading the word. I really don't think that anything else can be implemented. People really don't believe advertisements nowadays and established brands don't need any advertisement. Let your work speak not your money.

  • by Evangelia Tsirikos Wed Jun 4, 2014 via web

    Understanding consumer psychology specific to your brand and competing brands is incredibly important when it comes to OOH advertising or perhaps... all types of advertising. There's so much to consider when developing a campaign to ensure that will be effective not to mention that every person may have their own perception based on personal beliefs and opinions which is an untouchable area that I feel is really starting to give popularity to experiential marketing.

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