Outbrain highlights shift in trust between social media and consumers


Outbrain released new Cyber Weekend data highlighting the shift in trust between social media and consumers compared with the impact of quality news environments.

Although COVID-19 and the global recession have accelerated the shift of consumer buying to digital channels, data shows consumers’ lack of trust toward the largest digital powerhouses in the world, including Facebook. 46% of consumers trust premium news sites as a preferred source of information over social media platforms, as found by Outbrain. And 47% of consumers will make a future purchase from an ad found on a premium news site, compared to 38% on social media.

Following on from a webinar with eMarketer, the released data focuses on the new rules of marketing engagement in 2020. While companies are now forced to rethink their entire business models, marketers are reevaluating their communication strategies. Brand marketers that see the opportunities and adopt new tactics to reach consumers will protect their brand equity and gain market share.

“In times of uncertainty, consumers seek reliable news sources — meaning trust in the source is more important than ever. For that reason, quality news publisher sites like BBC and CNN will continue to be the preferred source of information,” said Erin McCallion, Vice President, Global Marketing at Outbrain. “As COVID-19 continues to shift consumer shopping habits, there’s a higher expectation from brands and marketers to make more meaningful connections with their audience. Consumers dislike interruptive marketing tactics and prefer advertising experiences that allow choice for engagement. The question we must ask ourselves is, how can we build and sustain trust digitally given the current inability to create in-person relationships? And it all starts with where, and how, you market online.”

According to new research from eMarketer, US eCommerce sales will surge 18% to $709.78 billion this year, as sales channel-shifting accelerates and consumers avoid in-store trips.

“2020 has been a year like no other in retail, with consumer behavior changing in unforeseen ways and retailers needing to adapt to this new reality,” said McCallion. “With Amazon’s Prime Day pushed to October, consumers are going to be thinking about holiday purchases earlier than in past years. 50% of all holiday revenue is generated by the end of Cyber Weekend, and 30% of COVID-era consumers are planning to use this weekend as their main shopping period (as found by Outbrain). For marketers, there is a crucial opportunity to promote effectively, by targeting consumers and building demand.”

With the highest increase in purchases coming from online channels, plus the 50% dropoff of in-store shopping, e-commerce will play a pivotal role in this year’s seasonal sales. “For marketers, this means there’s room to advertise to both luxury and practical spenders. But it also provides the opportunity to gain consumer trust from delivering strong online retail experiences, the ones that consumers have lost offline due to social distancing. Consumer trust is everything — bringing on an entirely new set of marketing rules of engagement — from redefining brand safety to adapting to the new buyer journey,” said McCallion.

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