Trust and quality are now the two most important brand metrics when it comes to profit growth – and increasingly inter-connected – according to effectiveness expert Peter Field. So, why then, is trust often misunderstood and oversimplified when it comes to advertising?
Newsworks’ new research evaluates the growing importance and strength of brand trust, explores how advertisers can benefit from being in trusted environments, and aims to more accurately define and measure trust.
Jo Allan, CEO of Newsworks, said: “We are in the middle of a trust crisis – be it Partygate, the Met Police or unregulated online content – so knowing we can rely on trusted environments like news brands is vital for individuals and for advertisers, especially in a world where fake news and misinformation continue to pervade our society.
“Trust has never been more important. But the question is, do we really understand it? This prompted us to explore the concept of trust, how we define it and its impact on brand growth in much greater depth. Reassuringly, these two different studies revealed remarkably parallel findings, and the results will be important for brands looking to boost their trust by advertising in trusted environments.”
IPA Databank: News brands’ positive impact on advertising effectiveness
The link between trust in news brands and advertiser profit growth has risen sharply over the last decade, according to the latest analysis of the IPA Databank.
The study, which was undertaken by effectiveness expert Peter Field, shows that over the last 10 years the effectiveness of advertising in news brands across six key business effects – including market share, pricing power and profit growth – has increased significantly.
Campaigns using news brands between 2012-2016 had an uplift in overall effectiveness of 32% compared to campaigns that did not. And this uplift was even stronger in the more recent period (2018-2022), showing an uplift in effectiveness of 52%.
Impressively, looking at profit growth, advertisers using news brands experienced a 24% uplift in 2012-2016 compared to non-users of news brands – this increased to 88% in the period 2018-2022.
The analysis also shows that advertisers using a multi-platform (combining print and digital) approach derive the greatest business benefits of all, with an uplift of 61% versus brands not advertising in news brands.
This is because ads appearing in news brands are seen as trustworthy and suggest high quality, which are now the two most important brand metrics that lead to growth for advertisers.
Field said: “While the uplifts were still strong in the earlier period of this study, they are much stronger post 2016. This is arguably around the time that trust issues began to explode – think Trump, Brexit and Cambridge Analytica – and the emergence of the fake news era.”
“Trust and quality perceptions are interconnected as vital brand metrics, and their importance to advertisers has doubled over the last 20 years. This study shows the case for advertising in news brands, which has always been strong, continues to strengthen at a remarkable rate.”
Alongside the new IPA Databank analysis, Newsworks has launched an in-depth study into trust, which helps advertisers more accurately measure and understand consumer trust in brands. The research project included extensive expert interviews, in-depth interviews with consumers and nationwide surveys with over 10,000 people in which trust was evaluated in more than 150 brands.
This year-long study, in conjunction with Map the Territory and Tapestry, has led to the development of a new, more accurate measurement of trust, which considers the multi-faceted nature of this crucial metric.
Instead of the current, overly-simplistic approach, of asking consumers whether they trust a brand or not, the new metric is based on how a brand scores against the four pillars of trust – perceived familiarity, fame, competence and risk. By evaluating a brand against all four pillars a more accurate measurement of trust is delivered.
Ian Wright, Joint-MD, Tapestry commented: “As well as providing a more accurate measurement of the overall trust in a brand, the other key benefit of this new approach is that it acts as a diagnostic tool to help brands identify which pillar, or pillars, to focus on to increase trust in the future”.
Using this new metric, Newsworks undertook research to understand the halo effect of advertising on a news brand. The results showed trust is 1.5x higher when a brand advertises on a news brand website compared to a non-news brand website.
This halo effect on brands advertising around trusted journalism stems from perceptions of news brands’ websites being seen as much more competent and far less risky than non-news brand websites.
To help brands utilise this new metric, Newsworks have created a trust calculator, which shows the overall trust in a brand, alongside how it scores on each ‘pillar’ relative to the average for 150 brands.