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Online Trust Deficit

With an average exposure of up to 3000 messages of online content every day, it’s amazing that any of what’s seen or read is retained or acted on at all.

A giant online trust deficit.

A recent Forrester Research survey of almost 60,000 US and 15,000 European adults reveals that few trust the endless barrage of online messages from companies or brands. In fact, the findings breakdown the tiny credibility value that of all of this content noise actually has:

  • 15% trust social media marketing
  • 12% trust information about companies on mobile applications
  • 10% trust ads on websites
  • 9% trust text messages

In every case, European respondents trust online content even less than those in the US.

So what does it all mean?

Today, people online trust the content that they find on their own. And they dismiss the content that’s pushed out by brands.

This research reveals that “self-selected” content is the kind of content that matters most. This includes natural search engine results, brand or product recommendations from friends and family, professionally written online reviews, and consumer-written online reviews.

More than ever, companies and brands need to find new ways to connect with “always on” consumers. And branded content, not advertising, has the power to do so. In order to effectively use content for brand building, companies should focus on how they are adding value and addressing the unique needs of the prospects they are trying to reach—without all of the yelling and selling.

Only by telling good stories in a relevant and credible context, with consistency and authenticity, will brands be able to realize meaningful and measurable value from their investments in content creation. Online audiences are changing like never before. As the research shows, adopting a long term view of how to address the new content publishing and distribution requirements that meet the needs of what prospects and customers find valuable will determine success online.

Share your story.

Who are you turning to for trusted content that you find credible and worth sharing? Please share.

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