Instead, word of mouth proved more reliable – 77 per cent said they trust information that has been passed on this way, while 71 per cent had faith in newspaper, magazine and online reviews.
The poll of 2,035 adults by market researchers ComRes for coffee company Keurig suggested traditional advertising across print and television reigned supreme when it came to trustworthiness. While over half of the individuals surveyed said they thought TV ads were trustworthy, this fell to 36 per cent for online ads. Some 51 per cent of respondents felt social media content from brands couldn't be trusted.
While the study may initially seem alarming for those increasingly shelling out money on influencers campaigns and social platforms, the research does acknowledge the gap between trust and influence – it does not say that they are the same thing.
Commenting on the report, software and development firm Flat Rock Technology's co-founder and CEO Ran Berger said: "Whilst the public may place more trust in word of mouth and written articles, they can be influenced, sometimes unwittingly, by a whole host of digital communications, including celebrity endorsements."
As PRWeek's 50 hot new influencers list reflects, people are being swayed by all sorts of different digital communications. Influencers can have the benefit of offering brands a lower-cost and more effective alternative to traditional celebrity or media endorsements.