Search Engines Now The Most Trusted Media Source

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The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer was recently released and offers some thought-provoking insight around trust, and in particular which media sources people are most likely to associate with being trustworthy. This was the 15th annual survey; with 33,000 respondents from 27 countries surveyed. While the survey covers various aspects of trust in media and business, what was particularly interesting is the shift in trust between various media sources.

When respondents were asked to rate how much trust they placed in various media sources for general news and information; Search Engines for the first time came out on top as the most trusted source. 64% of respondents indicated that their most trusted source for information was Search Engines; overtaking Traditional Media which dropped 3 percentage points to 62%.

Trust in Search Engines is even more prevalent among Millenials – the definition for which varies depending on who you ask; but includes those members of the population born between 1980 and 2000 – whose level of trust in Search Engines is 72%; 8% more than Traditional Media sources.

Also worth noting is the upward trend in Social Media as a trustworthy source.

Search Engines Now Most Trusted

Delving even deeper; 31% of respondents indicated that their first source for general information about business is Online Search, 27% indicated Online Search is their first source for breaking business news, and 37% indicated that they most often turn to Online Search to confirm or validate news about business. The graphs below illustrate that Online Search is generally on the rise as the preferred source for business information, while Newspapers and TV are on the decline.

Search Engines Now Used First

The Trust Barometer isn’t a definitive ‘you must go out and invest in online search’ study, however, it does provide some fairly compelling evidence of the growing importance of having an online presence. For the first time, trust has shiftedaway from Traditional Media sources and toward Search Engines. As the upward trend continues, a growing number of consumers will look to Search Engines, such as Google or Bing, for business information and brands that they would deem trustworthy.

Let’s say I’m a young Millenial looking to renovate my kitchen. As a means of doing some quick research to find a reasonably priced business to install my new kitchen, I turn to Google to do the hard yards and find some potential candidates. Within seconds I’m presented with pages of results. I look through the top 5; because if they’re Google’s top 5 choices they must be good, and after some elimination have chosen my preferred supplier.

If your target market is in the Millenial age bracket then chances are you should consider your Search Engine presence; and whether it’s sufficient enough to capture the increasing number of Millenials who turn to Search Engines in the first instance. That said; there is still an increase in the level of trust placed in Search Engines to deliver news among the general population, not just Millenials.

So, what are the Search Engines saying about your business?

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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