Trust Is the New Price for the Modern Consumer
While business is expected to lead us to a better future, the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that 42% of respondents worldwide are unsure of which brands and companies to trust. The uncertainty is a direct result of the media - journalists, brands, social media platforms, and search engines - not fulfilling its responsibilities, as 70% of people in the world worry over information credibility and the weaponizing of fake news. Business success relies on a multitude of factors, but trust stands unequivocally as the most valuable commodity. It means everything you do online - every promotion, advertisement, or piece of content - is a promise to uphold to consumers.
When you’re able to make a connection with consumers and deliver on a brand promise, it creates the start of brand loyalty and consumer-brand relationships. The primary media type used to communicate that promise is through your owned media. Owned media is any form of content you place in areas of the web owned by your brand - your website, blog, social media pages, or email marketing pages, for example. It is a communication channel that offers businesses complete control in creating brand exposure.
However, your owned media, as a silo tactic, limits your capacity to scale. Today’s consumer is more likely to trust the word of their peers when referring a brand, as 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by peer recommendations. With consumer trust at the business epicenter, driving your owned media into ‘earned’ media is as equally as important to scale and benefit from social sharing, reviews, and recommendations.
Earned media works as a vehicle similar to word-of-mouth marketing, driving traffic, engagement, and sentiment around a brand and its owned media. Earned media strengthens brand credibility and consumer trust without the explicit intent to sell, as it puts brand advocates in the driver’s seat when it comes to the promotional element.
While earned media offers value, it sacrifices a business’ ability to control exactly who’s sharing the content, what’s being said about it, and where it’s being distributed. Due to the lack of control, there is greater risk involved when it comes to your brand reputation and safety. Both owned and earned media play important roles in getting your message out, but neither form a cohesive marketing mix in working together in the name of trust. Paid media is the missing link to the mix that puts your marketing strategy in full gear.
In short, paid media is any form of media that you pay to leverage a channel and drive traffic to your owned media. It provides better targeting and control of who’s being fed your content in ways that earned media can’t, plus it boosts the same benefits that your earned media is effective for your owned media. The best paid media is focused and thoughtfully executed through educational and informative articles to build trust from readers.
Today, native advertising is the most successful paid media tactic as a result of its ability to feature the client as the expert on a topic, therefore placing trust at the center of campaigns for the best conversions. It is also a great benefit that native placements fit the form and function of its surrounding editorial environment to deliver content that is participatory rather than interruptive, and to the right audiences.
Native Advertising Increases Trust
A native ad comes in the labeled form of ‘sponsored content’ to avoid ad deceptiveness, and in spite of being an ad, most people choose to click on them. It’s a tribute to the user experience that native upholds, prioritizing the demand people have for contextual content that informs, educates, entertains, and interacts. Instead of a one-way sales pitch like traditional ads, native tells a great, engaging story that’s personalized to incite users to explore more.
Research shows that when content is valuable to the consumer - looking to help rather than sell - people will hold a favorable brand attitude. By crafting informative, interesting content and by giving the power to the consumer in choosing to read or skip the advertisement, native allows brands to earn loyalty points. The results show greater shareability among users, which creates what we can term ‘free media’.
In the same way buzz marketing is effective for building trust, native does it one better. People trust the sites they visit, so by advertising on trusted publications, its audience will likely trust your brand. Native advertising reinforces the need for quality in this way because it’s not the ad that buys trust but the relationship you are able to build with your audience.
Trust must be earned, and paid media - when done right - helps return people’s trust in brands during a time when that very commodity is hard to achieve. The bottom line is that consumers don’t invest where they don’t trust, and for this reason, advertisers are increasingly investing in native advertising.
Are you ready to make a deeper connection with your audience? Contact us today and set your brand apart by earning consumer confidence, credibility, and loyalty with native ads.