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Readers trust print

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8th February 2018

It’s been a bumpy ride, but it seems the tide of trust is turning back to the traditional.

That’s the view of Sam Upton, writing for Two Sides, a not-for-profit organisation that supports the print and paper industry.

Over the past 18 months, Upton argues, the issue of trust itself has become a major news topic, with politicians at every level placing fake news at the top of their agendas.

He writes: “With the rise in fake news coinciding with the rise of social media, there’s a clear link between the platform news is delivered on and the veracity of the information. But what that link is and what difference the medium makes is still under debate, so Two Sides commissioned a global survey, asking over 10,000 consumers in ten countries about the issue of fake news and what difference reading stories in a print newspaper makes. Their response firmly holds print newspapers up as the more trusted source of news and the medium that offers a deeper understanding of a story.”

Out of all UK respondents, 76% agree that fake news is a worrying trend, while just 16% trust the news stories they read on social media. This compares to 39% that trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers. Consumers also look towards print for greater depth, with 63% agreeing with the statement that reading news in a print newspaper provides a deep understanding of a news story. When given the same statement for social media, only 45% of respondents agreed with it.

The Two Sides study also asked UK consumers about their advertising preferences, in particular their response to online ads and whether they paid any attention to them. The results pointed towards online advertising not only being routinely ignored, but branded irritating and irrelevant. Of over 1,000 consumers interviewed, a massive 78% don’t pay attention to most online adverts, while 69% find them “annoying and usually not relevant”. When asked about actual times they have clicked on an online ad, 72% stated that they couldn’t remember the last time they willingly clicked on one, while 63% said they do their best to block or avoid them.

Upton says: “It’s clear from these results that online advertising isn’t working. Many people are choosing to ignore most of the ads they see online – which, for brands keen to capitalise on the reach and cost-effectiveness of digital marketing, should be a very worrying trend.”

In the Two Sides survey, 59% of respondents stated that they don’t trust many of the advertisements they see online. This echoes the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer, which reported a 13% lift in trust for traditional media while trust in social media dropped two points.

Print newspapers, done well, have a big future.