So There’s Definitely a Shift in Social Trust


It’s true, the media landscape has transformed entirely over the past decade. Not least the rise in digital content both on proprietary news sites and across social media. As the bubble of wondrous digital stats has steadied (come on marketers if it sounds too good to be true…) and digital requires as much strategy as the next channel, the mounting scandal around the use of personal data by giants like Facebook is perhaps the start of a much greater shift in social trust in 2018.

Digital metrics have long sounded like the antithesis to expensive out of home (OOH) spend and traditional print media, which in the main has struggled to diversify enough to keep up with Millennial and Gen Z’s consumption rate and preferences.

So many digital agencies, particularly those that pride themselves on engaging youth, have lauded that ‘traditional media is dead’. But is it? There are growing numbers of indicators to suggest that there is a shift in these generations, where millennials perhaps stumbled into the delights of social privacy issues, digital footprints and fake news, and the next generation are far more sceptical.

Point-blank I’m not a fan of the phrase ‘digital native’, maybe I’ve watched too much Black Mirror. But it is the growing up with the internet and both the bounty and backlash it offers, which is the influence on the expectations and perception of content – both paid for and organic, that is the biggest challenge for content owners to navigate.

Fake News, that U.S. election and perhaps the unsurprising truth that big data on Facebook was easily manipulated to further serve and grow a multi-billion-pound organisation will do little to reengage an audience that has been slowly peeling away from the first social superpower.

For years we’ve been banging on about digital footprints, being careful what to post and this has seen a push from the traditional sites, to Snapchat and Instagram and a myriad of chat apps in between. In particular amongst youth audiences but more broadly people have been drifting away from Facebook. In light of recent news you can bet more accounts will close and privacy settings will certainly be adjusted.

When it comes to trusted content, this is where the shift is starting to happen and you can bet this is only the start when it comes to social trust in 2018.

  • In Ofcom’s Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes report 2017 it found that 96% of 12-15s in the UK want to consume news but  only 2% actually believe the news on social media is reported truthfully. Instead, traditional channels and family members are far more trusted.
  • Endelman Trust barometer 2018 highlighted a 61% increase in trust in traditional media, with younger audiences more cynical than the wider population over the validity and agenda of news on social media (cue more Facebook scandal, influencer payment reveals and fake news).
  • The UK Government’s ‘Growing Up With the Internet’ set out some the challenges we have in the laws and regulations playing catch up with the advances of social media
  • With the changes in algorithms on Facebook effecting content creators, we’ll be seeing more of this….
    • Buzzfeed are taking audiences’ out of Facebook into an app with push notifications and far more engagement with content
    • The Ferret, Scotland. Invites journalists to write about specific content with a local angle, it’s generating income and perhaps is a flicker of hope for local quality journalism that’s profitable



Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

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