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31 January 2019

Edelman: Traditional Media Twice As Trusted as Social Media

UK adults are consuming more news than before, with traditional media remaining the most trusted news source whilst trust in social media remained extremely low, the Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 has found.  

The Edelman Trust Barometer, surveyed 33,000 people across 27 countries, including the UK, US and China, between October and November 2018 last year.

The UK specific research found that traditional media was the most trusted news source (60 per cent) and was more than twice as trusted as social media (29 per cent). Overall trust in UK media was up five per cent year-on-year.

Globally, trust in traditional media as a source of general news and information is now at its highest level to 65 per cent.  Search engines, which do not create news content themselves, have benefitted as people seek out information from trusted sources such as publishers and broadcasters. Social media remains the least trusted source at 43 per cent.

UK adults were found to be consuming and sharing news more than last year. News engagement increased by a 22 per cent from 41 per cent to 63 per cent. Nearly a third of Britons surveyed (29 per cent) said they read more political news than they did before the 2016 Brexit referendum.

British respondents said they were “reading, watching or listening to the news more than I used to” because “things are changing so quickly I need to stay up-to-date.”

The Edelman results were discussed at the Advertising Association’s annual Lead Conference yesterday, and were contrasted with AA’s think tank Credos' research which found public trust in advertising had fallen to a record low.

Keith Weed, president of AA and outgoing chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever, said the research was a warning to the ad industry and it must "do our utmost" collectively to respond to the "concerns" and "be seen to do so".

Weed continued: “Without trust, advertising has no future. A brand without trust is just a product. Advertising without trust is just noise."

Hamish Nicklin, chief revenue officer at The Guardian, said the industry was guilty of "massively oversteering" its activity towards data and targeting, rather than the quality of the brand's creative messaging.