The Venerable Newspaper Still Most Trusted: AdTrust Survey

The Venerable Newspaper Still Most Trusted: AdTrust Survey

NewsMediaWorks had a few hunches about the importance of trust when it came to clients making business decisions. Enter the AdTrust survey, conducted by Galaxy Research, which polled just shy of 3000 Australians over 18 years. It revealed that traditional media outlets like national, metro and regional newspapers are still among the most trusted news sources out there. B&T spoke to NewsMediaWorks CEO Peter Miller to better understand the results

B&T: First up, can you explain why NewsMediaWorks commissioned the AdTrust survey?

Peter Miller: In early 2017 NewsMediaWorks had commissioned professor Mark Ritson to survey a significant number of advertisers – I think it was around 250 – on the issues that mattered most to them regarding their advertising. Of highest importance was that consumers trusted in their advertising messages. Trust was followed by “Am I getting what I paid?” and “Are consumers engaging with my messages?” So we thought we’d ask what consumers thought about trust, and how they ranked the diverse media on trust. Our contention was that consumers would rank newspapers and news media highly on trust and the survey, conducted by the highly respected Galaxy Research, confirmed the hunch in spades. The survey further found that social media was not trusted at all, for either content or advertising. That was a surprise to us to be frank, but it’s important for advertisers to understand that exposure on social media does not mean their advertising is going to be effective. If it is not in a trusted environment, there is no halo effect.

B&T: Metro newspapers, as well as national, regional and community newspapers rank very highly in the AdTrust survey. Why are these publications more trusted than other media sources?

PM: I think the simple answer is that these are journals of record. And they have been around. They are trust brands. Certainly regional papers are the heartbeat of their communities. It should be no wonder to anyone that regional people trust what they read – and what is advertised – in their local regional paper. The national papers ranked very highly as well.

B&T: How important is trust for media outlets when it comes to attracting advertisers?

PM: Well, our Galaxy study highlights that trust runs like a river. It runs from the content and the masthead across to the advertising. Some of the younger people we surveyed and spoke to articulated this very eloquently.

B&T: Were the findings of the AdTrust survey broadly in line with your expectations?

PM: We had a hunch and it paid off. We were surprised at the depth of feeling around trust (and the lack of it) around social media, especially amongst younger consumers. They know they are being gamed and they don’t seem to like it, ranking social media stone motherless last on trust.

B&T: What was the most significant finding for you out of the AdTrust survey?

PM: The connection between trust in content and trust in advertising. It really matters. A good campaign in a dud media is less effective.

B&T:  Lastly, what sort of insights can potential advertisers take away from the findings of the AdTrust survey?

PM: That they might well profit from revisiting their media planning and any recommendation that they go long on social media and short on newspapers and news media.

To learn more, you can download the full report at

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