In a somewhat surprising twist given what seemed to be current attitudes towards advertising, new survey data suggests a large shift towards greater trust in ads! To wit, a 2014 survey from YouGov found a little over half the general population (56%) believing that the ads they saw, read or heard were honest. In the same survey conducted this year, that figure has shot up to almost three quarters of respondents (72%). Correspondingly, the proportion of respondents who claim to trust the ads that they see, read or hear has also risen from 50% in 2014 to 61% this year.
Looking at responses across demographic groups, this latest study indicates that:
- The proportion who feel that the ads they’re exposed to are very or fairly honest is above-average among females (75%), 35-54-year-olds (75%), Black Americans (79%) and Hispanics (78%), with Black Americans also showing less skepticism in the 2014 survey;
- Perceptions of ads’ honestly declines alongside rising educational attainment and income levels, also in line with the 2014 findings; and
- The same general demographic patterns are apparent when analyzing trust in ads.
However, there appears to be a disparity between the perceived honesty of ads themselves and of the people who work on the advertising industry. In a separate survey, only 11% of US adults considered those in the advertising profession as having high standards of honesty and ethics.
Another report reveals that the advertising medium affects perception of trust as well: print ads and TV ads are the most trusted, whereas online pop-ups are perceived as being notoriously untrustworthy.
Finally, almost two-thirds of US adults (64%) surveyed by YouGov felt that there should be stronger requirements for proving claims in advertising, a gain of approximately 10% points from 2014.
About the Data: The 2017 results are based on a survey of 1,019 US adults who see any advertising at least once a month. Survey-takers were advised that, by advertisements, YouGov was referring to “any commercials you see on television or hear on the radio or any advertisements you may read in newspapers, magazines or see online.”