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Do People Trust Content From Marketers?

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Most consumers (74%) say they generally trust educational material from a business as long as it seems objective and doesn't explicitly try to sell a product/service, according to a recent report from Kentico.

However, trust is extremely fragile: Even just adding a product pitch to the end of an otherwise objective blog post or newsletter brings the credibility level down significantly, with only 45% of consumers saying they trust such content.

Other factors that make consumers skeptical about content from marketers include referencing things that can't be verified with other sources (46% say this prevents them from trusting information), leaving out/not addressing different perspectives (17%), and presenting information in way that hides it is coming from a company (15%).

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 325 US adults (age 18+).


Corroboration

  • 49% of respondents say they will generally trust what a company says about a particular topic but will also corroborate with other sources.
  • 57% say educational information from a company is more credible when it contains verification from named sources.

Sharing and Discovery

  • 69% of the consumers surveyed say a company's educational information is more credible when discovered through a friend or family member.
  • Asked how often a company's educational content comes up while searching for topics related to a particular problem or need, 27% report it happens often; 57%, sometimes; 11%, hardly ever; and 5%, never.

Demographic Differences

  • Women are 11% more trusting of content marketing than men, and they trust content shared by friends and family members 20% more than men do.
  • 60+ year-olds are 17% more trusting than 18-29-year-olds, but the same 60+ age bracket is 14% less trusting of content passed through friends and family members than the 18-29 age group.

About the research: The report was based on data from an online survey of 325 US adults (age 18+) conducted in May 2014.


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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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Comments

  • by Neil Mahoney Tue Jun 10, 2014 via web

    Re that study on the credibility attached to info that also plugs products: I'm surprised that the trust remains so high. In my book, "Integrating Marketing, Sales, Social Media," I cite a real-world instance where a major publishing company presented important survey data to a group of mangers -- who were all very impressed -- until the presenters went into a sales pitch for each of the magazines.

    The point I make is that you should be satisfied when you impress a roomful of important buying influences, and return later to make your pitch and get the order. The related point I make is that not every sales presentation requires that you mindlessly ask for the order. Neil Mahoney

  • by Caroline Tue Jun 10, 2014 via web

    Agree with you, Neil Mahoney. The information provided could be biased, and that would only be realised once the "pitch process" begins. Waiting until another time to pitch is a great way to combat this.

  • by Artin V Thu Jun 19, 2014 via web

    Survey questions are flawed, at least those presented in this article.

    Example - any blog or information article that carries 'named sources' would be trusted much more than if it did not have, especially when you mention 'doctors'. It is well known that when you use 'authority' people trust it more - the question mentions 'doctors' - Cialdini's book "Influence". When you phrase the question like that the conclusion is foregone.

    In sales & Marketing psychology it is well known that once the word 'sales', 'promotion' etc is mentioned people go immediately on the defensive. So this question also has a foregone conclusion once the words included are 'products' or service

    and you probably realized I'm using the same technique to gain trust and influence my conclusion - referring to a 'named source' and 'authority' - Cialidini's book.

    I believe that more often than not survey results may be 'adjusted' naturally just by 'adjusting' the question. Sometimes this happens intentionally - other times unintentionally. In both cases results are not to be relied upon.

    What's the point of this comment - just don't trust - that word again - every survey result that comes out there. Last time I checked eating chocolate proved good for health - until I found out who commissioned the survey ...

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