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Experts Reveal ‘Seismic Shift’ in Consumer Trust of Social Media

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Aussie consumers have low levels of trust for advertising, but will pay more to purchase from a trusted brand, a new report from Cheetah Digital reveals

Experts Reveal ‘Seismic Shift’ in Consumer Trust of Social Media

Aussie consumers have low levels of trust for advertising, but will pay more to purchase from a trusted brand, a new report from Cheetah Digital reveals.

What can marketers do to keep up with this seismic shift in consumer expectations where hyper-personalised relationships with brands are the only way forward? This question – and more – was unpacked in a recent Cheetah Digital-hosted webinar by an expert panel of guests, including:  

Keep reading to discover their views on what Aussie consumers want and don’t want from their favourite brands, how to win customers’ hearts and minds with relationship marketing and the “sweet spot” of customer loyalty in a world without cookies. 

Social media’s erosion of trust 

According to Cheetah Digital’s new Digital Consumer Trends Index, 67% of consumers in Australia do not trust the advertising they see on social media platforms. And more than half (63%) don’t trust social media platforms with their data.

Teresa Sperti, Founder and Director at Arktic Fox doesn’t find the results surprising at all. “Over time, there has been an erosion in the level of trust for social platforms,” she points out. “As a whole, this has led consumers to be increasingly wary about the information they provide on these platforms and how their data is being utilised.” 

She credits this erosion of trust to a couple of things. First, consumers are concerned about the social impact these platforms have on society; and secondly, consumers are worried about the approach that’s taken to harvest their data.

A recent Washington Post poll finds that, of all the large tech companies, social platforms like Facebook and Tiktok have the lowest level of consumer trust. In fact, 72% of Internet users rated their level of trust in Facebook as “not much” or “not at all” to responsibly handle their personal information and data on their Internet activity. And roughly six in 10 distrust TikTok and Instagram, while slight majorities distrust WhatsApp and YouTube. This decline in trust mirrors Cheetah Digital’s findings to a T. 

“From a data privacy point of view, consumers’ expectations are changing broadly,” Teresa adds. “Consumers are less trusting of brands when it comes to providing data. They don’t believe brands can be trusted to protect personal data or utilise it effectively. As a result, we’re seeing a wave of greater skepticism from consumers as a whole.”

Adam Posner, CEO and founder at The Point of Loyalty, agrees, pointing out the disruptive aspect of social ads. “The ads interrupt and are, oftentimes, irrelevant. But even more, they’re invasive. That aspect of social ads feels creepy, which works to erode consumer trust as well,” he says.

It’s ironic when you consider that social platforms emerged as a way to drive engagement with the audience. Since it’s moved into a sphere of profit over people, they’ve moved further from their reason for existence. 

“These days, it’s all about monetisation of the platforms. As they’ve increased the amount of advertising, consumers have become bombarded with all kinds of messages,” Teresa says. “It’s become hard for consumers to decipher what’s ‘fake news’, if a product is quality or if they’re potentially being taken for a ride.”

Adam brings up the idea that, on these platforms, the consumer is essentially the product. “It’s a real awakening,” he says. “Consumers are realising that if they’re the product through their data, then that means they’re valuable. So, naturally, they’ve become even more protective over their data.”

Miles Toolin, senior solutions consultant at Cheetah Digital chimes in, saying, “What that’s creating is a data economy as a consumer. We’re going to see a shift to a value exchange where the platform says give me your data, and I’ll give you something to make it worth your while. That’s when social platforms will start regaining consumer trust.”

Teresa adds, “Customer expectation is changing. The brands that are going to win moving ahead are those that have earned the right to effectively communicate, earned the right to be entrusted with data and are able to retain the right to utilise that data. And a lot of that comes back to control and consent.”

Meanwhile, Cheetah Digital’s report also shows that email still reigns supreme when it comes to driving sales, beating paid social and display advertising by up to 228%. “The statistics don’t lie,” Miles says. “We’ve gone back to the future of marketing, in a sense. In light of all the creepy advertising, marketers are going back to the basics of building a brand. And that’s putting the spotlight back on email.

“Email is a trusted channel. At least 90% of consumer brands have emails. And it’s widely accepted. So, it’s a great foundation and super effective for marketers.”

Personalisation and the value exchange

In a world that’s increasingly focused on automation, it can be challenging to bring in the human touch. But it’s essential because that’s what consumers demand. In fact, according to Cheetah Digital’s report, 52% of Australian consumers are willing to share personal data to feel like they are part of a community. And more than half (56%) of Australian consumers feel frustrated when they receive irrelevant content or offers.

“We’re increasingly moving into an era where data ethics is more than optional, it’s critical,” Teresa says. “That means brands must go further than simply focusing on privacy compliance. They have to put customers in the driver’s seat with their data. 

“That’s going to be a significant shift for brands after an era where they once mandated how customer data would be used. It’s not sexy, but brand reputation will be tied to how brands operate around data, and data ethics is going to be paramount.”

Access the webinar free and on-demand here.

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Genres: Storytelling

AZK Media, Mon, 15 Aug 2022 09:06:00 GMT