Nowadays, celebrities can command huge fees for a single Instagram post and millions when it comes to an ad campaign. However, new polling has revealed only 17% of British adults find celebrity endorsements trustworthy sources of information, with old fashioned word of mouth leading the way among the British public.

At the same time influencer marketing is taking off, the figures reveal little trust placed in promotions from celebrities amongst the British public. However, 77% say they trust word-of-mouth information, along with 71% of people having faith in newspaper, magazine and online reviews.

The poll, which surveyed 2,035 British adults and was carried out by ComRes, shows traditional advertising in print and on television are more trusted than digital platforms. Over half (55%) of adults surveyed said they found TV adverts trustworthy, with only 36% feeling the same way about online advertising.

For the marketing companies and big brands investing heavily in influencers, social, and digital platforms, the results might seem cause for the concern. However, digital marketing expert Ran Berger says companies shouldn’t start re-writing their marketing strategies just yet;

“The crucial difference here is between trust and influence. Whilst the public may place more trust in word of mouth and written articles, they can be influenced (sometimes unwittingly) by a whole host of digital communications, including celebrity endorsements.

“What these results do show, however, is that people don’t like the hard sell. They prefer information that comes from recognizable sources and that’s why making digital content appear ‘native’ is so important.”

With a recent report from influencer specialist Tomoson showing 59% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2016, these results highlight the gap between trust and influence.

The polling was commissioned by coffee company Keurig. Stephen Stagg, UK managing director for Keurig, said: “These results show us the tough job both marketing agencies and brands have when it comes to building trust and awareness amongst the public, and the creative work that needs to go into achieving that coveted consumer confidence.”

Traditional PR techniques also get an endorsement from the public, with the figures revealing 60% view print and online articles as trustworthy sources of information. In contrast, over half of respondents (51%) said they saw the social media content pushed out by companies and brands as untrustworthy.

On the growing importance of print and online reviews, Steven Mills, founder of review site, Tech-Mag.co.uk, said: "For a brand to build trust in today's climate, independent review sites are an absolute must. We all know consumers look at an increasing number of websites before making a purchase, and having your brand reflected well on an independent site is key.

“Further to this, brands under utilise sites like Trust Pilot. Having your business on there is not enough anymore, you have to have a process to ensure customers are willing to leave honest reviews without hassling them."

 

By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

 

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