Olivia Parker
Jun 19, 2018

75% of execs see ads appearing beside undesirable content

Global executives think brands must be responsible for where their advertising appears, a new Reuters survey reveals, and that well-known news brands are trusted far more than social media platforms.

Two thirds of those surveyed said they thought their news consumption would continue to grow
Two thirds of those surveyed said they thought their news consumption would continue to grow

A new Reuters survey exploring news consumption patterns, social media and brand perceptions, finds that two thirds of executives think brands are fully liable for where their advertising appears — and that 77% think that advertising next to unsavoury or objectionable content damages their perception of a brand.

Three-quarters claim to have seen brands advertising against such undesirable content, found the Tomorrow’s News 2018 survey, which was conducted by Synergy Research & Consulting and polled 1,587 global executives over three weeks in May.

In other findings, 87% of those surveyed also agreed that Google and Facebook should do more to control ‘fake news’ or inappropriate content on their platforms (this rises to 90% among APAC-based execs), and 81% (83% in APAC) agreed that the two platforms should be held accountable for the content they carry.

The survey had good news for established publishers, meanwhile: 80% of the executives polled agreed that “a news brand is a mark of quality on a story”. Two-thirds said they were more likely to trust an advertiser if their ad appeared on a trusted news site and, crucially, 64% said they would be more likely to respond to an ad that appeared on such a site.

Of those polled, 66%, up from 50% in 2016, say they think their news consumption will continue to grow, and just 16% said they thought that news brands would disappear in the future. A rising number (54%, up from 39% in 2016), said their consumption of linear TV would continue to decline.

The survey also found that news websites or apps remained the primary news source for 83% of executives. Only 36% said they tended to refer to social media when consuming news stories online — and when on social media, executives were much more likely to trust stories posted by well-known news publishers than their close friends, influencers or celebrities. Just 5% said they trusted content posted by brands or advertisers on social media.

The report finds a widespread lack of trust in social media as a source of reliable news, with just 8% of survey respondents saying they would turn to social media for ‘trusted content in a trusted environment’. Only 12% would turn to social media to verify the source of a news story, the survey found, compared to 83% who would turn to online news brands. Just 15% agreed that social media would be their primary news source in the future and 85% said fake news has made them doubt the reliability of news stories shared on social platforms.

Under half of respondents, however, answered that they ‘strongly agree’ to trust well known news brands - but this was still up 7% on 2016, suggesting a gradually increasing faith in established journalism brands.

The report also found widespread scepticism about the management of data, with the vast majority (91%) saying they are ‘not convinced that companies erase the data they hold on them once they have cancelled accounts or subscriptions’; 95% agree they should have the right to view, limit or erase information that businesses gather on them. Interestingly, however, 60% said they would be willing to share their data with companies if it was used to provide them with a better online experience.

The EU’s GDPR, which was implemented in May, appears to still be a subject of confusion to executives: only 18% described themselves as ‘strongly familiar’ with the regulation and just 7% considered it an important factor that would affect their business in the next 4 years.

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