How Much Do People Trust Advertising?

February 3, 2022

In the US, trust in advertising practitioners remains rather low. And, it appears that, globally, few people are willing to trust information in advertising on its own, with the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer showing that only 8% of respondents say they automatically assume the information in advertising is true. 

To further illustrate the low level of trust people have in advertising, the survey of more than 36,000 respondents from 28 countries reveals that one-fifth (21%) of respondents say they will never believe the information in advertising is true if it’s the only place they see it. Moreover, most respondents (41%) need to see the information in advertising repeated at least once or twice before they believe it. 

On the other hand, information provided by employers and national governments appear to garner a higher level of trust. Some 13% of respondents separately say they automatically trust information from their employer and from their national government. 

Information that appears on social media feeds is one of the least trusted forms of information. Fewer than 1 in 10 (6% of) respondents say they automatically believe the information they see on their social media feed, while close to 3 in 10 (27%) say they will never believe information that appears there if it’s the only place they see it. This is as a survey from Harris Poll and Ad Age shows that nearly half of Americans say they have a friend or family member who has been influenced by misinformation on social media

Indeed, social media is the least trusted source of information among those examined in the survey. In a separate question comparing news sources, search engines and traditional media remain the most trusted, but have both seen a decrease in respondents who say they trust them.

Finally, concern about fake news has increased over the past year. About three-quarters (76%) of respondents say they worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon. That’s up four percentage points over 2020.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a November 2021 survey of more than 36,000 respondents from 28 countries. 

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