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Trust in advertising on the rise

Advertising Association

3 min read Partner content

New research shows trust is the second strongest driver of brand profitability and effectiveness, up from seventh a decade ago

4th June 2024, London UK: The Advertising Association today launches the new Value of Trust report from UK advertising industry think tank, Credos, which reveals that for the first time in a decade, advertising is no longer the UK’s least trusted industry, overtaking the government and media. New analysis for the report by effectiveness guru Peter Field shows trust has leapt from seventh to second place as a driver of brand effectiveness and financial performance. It also reveals brands who moved away from building longer term trust and towards short-term marketing tactics to defend sales during Covid-19 suffered from falls in profit margins and business effectiveness lasting longer than the economic downturn. 

The findings, unveiled at an industry breakfast briefing in London, also highlight a significant ‘generational digital divide’, with 50% of young people trusting the adverts they see or hear compared to just 22% of the over 55s. Television remains the most trusted media channel overall, with 41% trust, whilst trust in online advertising channels has been rising quickly amongst the younger generation. They are now almost four times as likely to trust online advertising as the over 55s. 

Credos’ research continues to demonstrate that people’s enjoyment of advertising is the single biggest factor in whether someone trusts it or not. On the other hand, being bombarded by advertising is the single biggest driver of distrust. This follows previous research which revealed that increased trust in advertising can be achieved through increased awareness of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). People who saw or heard the recent ASA advertising campaign were twice as likely to trust both ads and the advertising industry.

The Value of Trust report also contains the results of YouGov/Credos polling amongst 107 MPs in January, which found that those who do not trust the advertising industry are five times more likely to support greater government intervention to regulate advertising. Overall, 39% of surveyed MPs trust the advertising industry, 33% distrust it, and a further 23% neither trust nor distrust the industry. 

Dan Wilks, Director of Credos said: 

“If people want to truly understand the value of trust in advertising to them, it is best described as results, regulation, and recruitment, or the ‘3R’s of Trust’. Firstly, when it comes to results, trust in brands and trust in advertising media increases profits and overall effectiveness. Secondly, our research shows politicians and policymakers are more likely to impose regulation on an industry deemed untrustworthy. Finally, trust in our industry, its values, and ways of working, is key to attracting and retaining the best talent.”

Stephen Woodford, CEO of the Advertising Association said:

“Our latest research shows that public trust is improving, especially amongst younger people - and we must keep building on this.  Improving the public’s advertising experience, through more engaging creativity and well-planned media exposure, not only improves trust but drive better business outcomes too.”

The new Value of Trust report provides insights and tools to practitioners across the advertising industry. For agencies, it evidences why it is so important to create enjoyable ads wherever possible. Brands can use it as a checklist of what to do more of and less of to build trust, and how those decisions drive profitability. It also reminds media owners that building trusted platforms drives greater demand and in turn greater profitability.

Advertising Association members can download the Value of Trust report from the AA website from Tuesday 4th June.

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