Research offers snapshot of trust, reading habits, Q2 advertising predictions

By Brie Logsdon


Nashville, Tennessee, United States


Editor’s note: This is a brief synopsis of content from the INMA Virtual World Congress, May 5-28. Attendees will have access to speaker presentations and robust follow-up reports.

Trust in news is interesting because where consumers find news and sources they trust are not one in the same, Geoff Ramsey, co-founder and chief evangelist at eMarketer, told attendees at the INMA Virtual World Congress on Tuesday.

Citing Gallup and Knight Foundation data, Ramsey shared a graph showing a significant drop in trust in U.S. media from 53% in 1997 to 32% in 2016. When looking at Edelman Trust Barometer from 2019, 48% of people report that they trust the media. 

This trust, Ramsey said, is an average that does not reflect an equal level of confidence in all channels.  

Comparing which channels consumers trust most with which channels they report getting news from reveals a paradox. While Ipsos data shows consumers believe fake news is most prevalent on social media, especially on Facebook, two-thirds of consumers report getting news from social media. 

“Social media, especially Facebook, tend to score pretty badly in terms of fake news,” Ramsey said.

Why does this matter? Recent U.S. studies show that two-thirds of consumers respond more positively to ads when they see them in a trusted environment. For consumers, context does seem to matter, Ramsey said: “With the current pandemic — and the long-term effects on health and the world — I believe that trust, vetted facts, and appropriate context matter more than ever before.”

This is even more crucial as time spent with media has grown due to COVID-19:

  • Forced isolation has added a full hour of time spent with media each day compared to a November 2019 forecast, bringing the total to 13 hours and 35 minutes. 
  • U.S. consumers now spend 1.5 hours more per day on digital media vs. traditional media; of that total time, mobile is the No. 1 platform for consumption. 
  • 10% of time spent is on the mobile Web. 
  • 90% is spent with apps (audio apps are leaders in this area). 
  • Daily use of audio streaming is up, especially for Millennials, and the industry can expect this to rise further once people resume their daily commutes. 

Regarding advertising, Ramsey shared that nearly 40% of buy-side marketers had paused their campaigns as of April 21, according to IAB data, but Ramsey said things should be better by the end of the year. Digital, especially, will recover due to the necessary nature of the Internet in times like these: “Heck, we’re doing this entire virtual conference on Zoom... Digital is not a “nice-to-have. It has become a survival tool.” 

Brands and agencies are shifting more of their programmatic buying toward direct as well as private exchanges. Brands should remember that with scale comes less quality, and a growing number of consumers are saying that brands should stop advertising with any platforms that aid in the spread of misinformation. 

Moving forward, news media must focus on audience needs and include multiple revenue streams in the strategies. While subscription models are important, brands should also consider podcasts, e-commerce, events, licensing, donations, and native advertising.

“Subscription models won’t work for everyone,” Ramsey said. “You can’t always be the one to put up a paywall, but you can look at other revenue opportunities.”

The Virtual World Congress continues on Thursday, May 7.  

Banner image courtesy of Andrés Rodríguez from Pixabay.

About Brie Logsdon

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