Public 'trusts advertising more' after 2015 low
Public trust in UK advertising has been gradually improving after an all-time low in 2015, according to survey findings revealed at today's Trust Summit hosted by the Advertising Association, IPA and ISBA.
Credos research showed trust in UK advertising has improved by 25% (or 11 percentage points) since its lowest point in 2015 – from 44% to 55% in 2020.
As the graph (below) shows, Credos has published its survey as a three-year rolling average and compared this trend to "all other industries".
Despite trust in advertising growing at a faster rate since 2015, the rate has not been enough to stop the headline trust gap widening between the ad industry and other UK industries. Trust in other industries has grown from 57% in 2015 to 71% last year.
The report, entitled Rebuilding public trust in UK advertising highlighted increased visibility of regulation and the work of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as significant drivers of this change.
The other main positive driver for this increased trust in advertising was high quality of advertising that is creative, entertaining and engaging.
The second highest factor towards more trust in advertising was social contribution of advertisers including work towards promoting health messages during the pandemic and more diverse representation.
On the flipside, the biggest contribution to distrust was bombardment which is unchanged since the 2018 survey. A concern of those surveyed was about the blurred boundaries of advertising.
Those surveyed also specified misleading and invasive advertising techniques, like scams and fraudulent campaigns, as driving mistrust of advertising more than any other factor between 2018 and 2021, particularly for the younger generation.
Where mistrust of advertising is already present, the belief that there is not enough regulation was very common, the findings said.
To combat this the ASA carried out a pilot ad campaign in Scotland in 2020 in partnership with the Advertising Association, Mediacom Edinburgh and The Leith Agency to demonstrate their work to facilitate "legal, decent, honest and truthful" advertising across all channels.
Two-thirds of those that saw this pilot were more likely to trust the industry than those who did not, and half of them were more likely to trust ads in general, the ASA added.
Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association, said: “The public’s trust in our work isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have and has been central to the Advertising Association’s work these past three years.
"As all the evidence shows, Trust pays – with better returns on campaigns and better long-term value for the brands they support."