Which of the following are you least likely to trust for factual information?
- Printed adverts 33%
- Government statistics 27%
- Contributor websites like Wikipedia 15%
- Corporate websites 14%
- Consumer review sites 11%
Comment by Justin Roux, SVP of Communications at Luvata:
I can’t say I’m very surprised at the results of this poll, but they are certainly very interesting because they illustrate things upon which the communications world has been building its strategies lately. That’s very reassuring – particularly for someone like me. I’m also going to have some fun with these numbers...
With 33% of the vote, printed adverts are the least likely to be trusted for factual information - that’s not to say that a printed advert is untrustworthy. Print advertising is NOT usually used to convey large amounts of factual information, but simply to give a nudge to thoughts, emotions and behavior. No one reads a glossy advert looking for facts. I expect you knew that already. Well, now I’ve confirmed it.
So, it makes me smile that government statistics are only slightly more trustworthy than glossy adverts. Picture that in your mind - the detailed and expensive output of a parliamentary think-tank is seen as being as reliable as photo of a pop-star on a speedboat. Why? The last ten years, particularly the wars in Iraq, have associated politics with 'cover-ups' and ‘spin’ and governments will have a tough job trying to regain trust. This morning I read a slogan which said “truth is the new spin.” If that’s true, I’m happy.
Wikipedia is twice as reliable as government statistics. I smile. A few years ago, I visited Wikipedia looking for a picture of Brunelleschi’s Castello – the ox-crane - one of the most important developments in construction history. I found a picture of the original sketch for the ‘ox crane’ and a comment from a university graduate saying: “I don’t know what this is but it looks like fun for the horse.” (sigh...) Nonetheless, Wikipedia has improved since then.
Corporate websites are 1% more trustworthy than Wikipedia. Good. We are bound by laws to be truthful and we are watched by the social media. This is, in my opinion, one of the toughest policing systems available. Would a communications director dare to make an untrue claim about his company or product these days? I think not. The audience now has the biggest voice on the planet.
...which is why consumer review sites are the most trusted source of information on the web.