Evidence and statistics key to earning Brits’ trust, but nothing beats personal experience: study

By Chris Lee

Brits want statistics and evidence from brands’ advertising campaigns to convince them to open their wallets, an Ipsos Mori study commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust claims. Personal experience is by far the most impactful on purchasing decision making.

Without personal experience, Britons want hard evidence from brands who target them with messaging. Almost six in ten of the 2,000 consumers questioned (57 per cent) stated that offering statistics and evidence in support of claims was the most important thing advertisers could do to build belief. Second most important was third party support and verification from a trusted organisation (41 per cent).

According to the survey findings, Britons don’t know what to believe when it comes to adverts. Nearly half (46 per cent) stated they only trust advertising claims “some of the time”, while around four in 10 (38 per cent) claimed to never or seldom trust any advertising claims. Even celebrity endorsement was actually found to be “counter-productive”, although journalists and familiar presenters were proven to be more convincing.

Trust is a big challenge facing the advertising industry at the moment. NMK recently reported on new initiatives aimed at helping online marketers understand where their ads will appear, to avoid embarrassment and controversy.

Social media and word-of-mouth impact

Personal experience had the most impact on the purchasing decisions of the people surveyed, followed by word-of-mouth (WoM) marketing. Social media comments and posts had minimal impact as part of the mix. Why is this?

Julian Roberts, head of communications at the Energy Saving Trust, told NMK: “Social media has grown significantly in recent years and is a fantastic tool that allows consumers to communicate directly with brands and learn about other consumers’ experience with them. However, when it comes to building trust in advertising claims, nothing beats an individual’s personal experience. Social media can help to inform opinion, but for the majority of people they need to ‘see it to believe it’.”

Authenticity is key

In order to build that trust, brands should be looking at using more evidence and statistics in their advertising, Roberts argued. But consumers are savvier than ever and brands need to realise that they will not automatically believe unsupported claims being made in adverts, he added.

“[Consumers] will seek out additional information on the claims being made, which is why third party verification is vital,” he concluded. “If consumers see that an advert featuring evidence is supported by a trusted third party then they will feel less need to seek out other sources. A combination of evidence backed up by an independent and trusted organisation is the best way for organisations to build trust with consumers.”

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