Search Engines: STILL the most trusted Media Source

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A year ago I wrote a blog on the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer; and in particular that for the first time, the survey results showed that Search Engines were the most trusted source for information. Not only did the survey indicate that people were placing the most trust in Search Engines, for the first time Search Engines overtook Traditional Media sources as the most trusted for general news and information.

Fast forward 1 year and the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer has been released and paints a similar picture to 2015:

Trust placed in both Search Engines and Traditional Media lifted 1% from 2015 to 2016 with 63% of survey respondents indicating that their most trusted information source was Search Engines, followed by Traditional Media at 58%. This marks the second consecutive year that Search Engines have ranked higher than Traditional Media.

Trust in Search Engines (as well as online only media, owned media and social media – that is, all media sources except for traditional media) is higher in the millennial age group; whose trust in Search Engines sits at 66%

Trust in media sources 2016

What’s interesting about the level of trust placed in Search Engines as a news source is that the survey results are essentially saying that a person is more likely to trust a piece of news if the headline is ranked on Google (or another Search Engine) than if they read the same piece of news at its original source. With no difference in the content of the news or the publisher, people place more trust in it if it’s ranked by a Search Engine. Take the example below where I’ve heard something on the radio and Googled the ‘largest solar system in the galaxy’, and then been presented with multiple news headlines. Perhaps I’m more likely to place trust in these headlines or the story itself because Google has done the validation for me, as opposed to if I read the article direct on RedOrbit or The Inquisitr.

Google news example

One could argue that this same thinking could be applied beyond general news and information; do people turn to Search Engines as a trusted source of information on goods/services they are looking to buy? I might be biased, but I’m leaning towards yes! It’s not at all uncommon these days for an unknown answer to a question to be “I don’t know, just Google it.”

Tessa has years of experience in data analysis and number crunching, following the completion of a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in both Finance and Economics. Since discovering the ever changing, complex, and data driven world of digital marketing and SEM she’s never looked back. Tessa currently manages campaigns for clients across a range of industries; specialising in the management of both lead acquisition and e-commerce campaigns. Finding the sweet spots to maximise the return for clients is all in a days work.

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