Using Digital Trust to Build Meaningful Connections

Data breaches, political advertising meddling, and deceptive content are headlines that have been burned into the brains of consumers in recent years. As people become more conscious of their personal media consumption, they are also paying closer attention to the content platforms they choose—and this, in turn, is shaping the ways they build meaningful connections with brands.

Business Insider’s Digital Trust Report 2018, based on a survey of 1,300+ consumers, showed that when it comes to trust not all platforms are created equal—and that trust can have a big impact on the way consumers respond to the advertising they encounter on digital platforms. In fact, trust is a bigger factor in consumer interaction than ad relevance. The study found that 54% of users said the absence of fake news on a platform is extremely or very impactful, while just 35% said the same about the relevancy of ads. Given its impact, it is no surprise that digital trust has become a topic of discussion in major publications and studies, including studies by the Pew Research Center, eMarketer, and TrustX. Brand trust overall is weak.

For the second straight year, LinkedIn was the report’s top performer in terms of respondents’ feelings of safety on a platform. This is a result of LinkedIn remaining scandal-free in the past year and also its focus on professional content. Those platforms that experienced negative news related to data breaches and sketchy content fell to the bottom of the pack in terms of how “safe” respondents felt using them. The importance of rebuilding this trust is evident in the steps these platforms have taken to reestablish a feeling of safety among their users, including investing in machine learning to combat abuse and misuse of the platform.

Havas’ proprietary Meaningful Brands® study, which explores the connection between brands and human well-being, has shown year after year that those brands considered to be meaningful generate significantly higher brand KPIs. Globally, only 57% of brands are trusted, and it’s even worse in the US, at just 24%. The Meaningful Brands study shows a high correlation between trust and meaning: 5 of the top 10 most trusted brands are also ranked highest in meaning. As marketers, we are cognizant that higher association with meaningful media platforms can translate into higher brand perceptions and greater connectivity to consumers. By taking digital platform trust into consideration in media planning, we are better able to position brands for a long-term relationship with consumers.

It is also the case that a safe environment for consumers creates a level of confidence that encourages people to engage more with content. As we plan direct-response or activity-based campaigns, we take into account that those platforms that enjoy higher digital trust are more receptive to ads and sponsored content, ultimately driving greater success for our campaigns and brands. #meaningfulmedia