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Online Advertising Has Work to Do to Elicit Consumer Trust
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Online Advertising Has Work to Do to Elicit Consumer Trust

Alex Burmaster, European Internet Analyst

Our global trust in advertising survey illustrated that the online ad industry has a lot of work to do when it comes to reaching the levels of trust consumers already have in traditional media ads.Aside from brand Web sites (trusted by 70 percent of online consumers globally) e-mails, sponsored search links, video ads, banner ads and mobile text ads are at the bottom of the trust league. Of course, traditional media advertising forms have been around much longer and, consequently, consumers have had more time to become familiar with these formats, while advertisers and publishers have had more time to come up with the right ad models.

Online is still an embryo compared to these other advertising life forms. It has grown so rapidly that the industry has struggled to come up with a suitable model in these early days. The spam industry has practically killed any chance of e-mail marketing becoming the effective method it really should be. Pop-up ads, and the insane experiments to make it as tricky as possible for consumers to close them, have in fact helped to create negative perceptions surrounding display advertising. Add to this, the irrelevance and inaccuracies of many sponsored link ads when it comes to locating exactly what you’re looking for, and it’s easy to see why online, to a degree, has shot itself in its embryonic foot.

However, can the Web actually become the saviour of the global advertising industry? Trust in almost all forms of advertising is up. Is it possible that the explosion of social media and the ensuing trust in consumer opinions online is forcing advertisers to use a more realistic form of messaging grounded in the experience of consumers rather than lofty ideals of advertisers?

We’ll see, but at the moment I’ll be more interested in what you think of these points…

To address this, we’re working closely with our clients to develop ways in which display advertising is served so that it becomes a more effective medium for brand advertisers and a more trusted form of advertising in the mind of consumers. Here’s hoping that when we next run the survey, online ad formats are closer to the top of the trust league.