MEMBER RESEARCH: Sharethrough - Trust, engagement and transparency

This research commissioned by Sharethrough looks at the brand favourability of premium publishers as well as audience trust, transparency of information and depth of engagement in premium publishers versus major social platforms.

Premium publishers rank far ahead of Facebook and Twitter for trust, transparency and engagement, and enjoy strong brand favourability in both the UK and US.

Over three quarters (79%) of respondents thought it was very important to know the origins of news content, and they had more confidence in how premium publisher brands source their news than they do when they access news through social platforms.

Consumer understanding of where news content is sourced correlated clearly with brand trust. While the proportion of respondents who trusted premium publishers was relatively high, with 79% trusting the BBC, and 55% trusting The Times and The Guardian, only 36% said they trusted news content on Facebook and Twitter.

While 70% of those surveyed said that they knew where information was sourced by the BBC, and 55% felt the same about The Guardian and The Times, far fewer had the same confidence in the news content they accessed through their Facebook (43%) and Twitter (44%) news feeds.

The survey also revealed consumers engage more deeply with content on premium publisher sites than through social platforms. Although the time spent accessing news content on the two media types is broadly similar, respondents were 48% more likely to actually read an article on The Guardian than on Facebook, with social media activity geared towards scrolling through news headlines.

Additional findings:

  • Favourability towards premium publishers is strong with 80% of respondents reporting a positive opinion of the BBC, followed by The Metro (53%), The Guardian (48%), The Daily Mail (46%), The Times (44%) and The Telegraph (43%)

  • The majority (62%) of respondents said they check Facebook at least weekly but less than a fifth (19%) said they spend more than 30 minutes reading news during each Facebook visit.

  • Respondents expressed more active distrust for social platforms than for publishers, with three times as many saying they don’t trust articles shared on Facebook (33%) as don’t trust The Guardian (11%)

  • Overall, UK consumers are slightly more skeptical about the content they consume than US consumers, both on premium publisher sites and on social media platforms, but the need to understand the source of content is the same.

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