Social media beats off TV and newspapers as most relevant source of news and information

Social media beats off traditional media in relevance battle

Social media is more relevant to consumers than TV, word-of-mouth, newspapers and online news, according to new research from IPG’s agency Golin.

The first Global Relevance Review, which surveyed 13,000 people across 13 countries, found that social media is now judged to be the most relevant source of information worldwide, with 59% citing it as important to their personal understanding. Television came in second (57%), “word of mouth from friends and family” ranked third (45%) and newspapers and online news pulled in last with 42% and 41% respectively.

Word of mouth is more important to women (50%) than men (39%), while the male population find newspapers to be more relevant to their lives (44%) than women do (37%).

Relevance does not derive itself from entertainment. The study found that 54% are drawn to information that is useful/practical, while 53% seek out the informative. Just 35% said they found relevance in info that if funny, which beat out other characteristics such as inspiring, shocking and exciting.

The UK, however has an above-average respect for humour, with 45% of Brits finding relevance in the light-hearted.

When it comes to brands, consumers aspire to purchasing from those that are ‘ethical, moral, honest and truthful’. However a woeful 0% of brands studied in the survey met the ideal when trustworthiness was analysed.

Matt Neale, co-chief executive of Golin, explained: "Relevance is what attracts and keeps people paying attention to what brands have to say and moves them to act. This is something that we, as marketers and communicators, can directly impact.

“We’ve been studying, and perfecting the art of analysing relevance for years because we understand that it is the most important measurement of a brand. Our research indicates that despite people being continually let down by the perceived trustworthiness and truthfulness of brands, they continue to buy their products and services."

Golin worked for three years on the Global Relevance Review with USC Annenberg School for Journalism. The report marries big data with small-town, ethnographic, qualitative research: teams went on the ground in Seymour, Indiana and Preston, UK to connect with people often ignored in larger studies.

Katie Deighton

Katie Deighton is The Drum’s senior reporter - creative and video based in London. She produces, films, presents and edits the title’s editorial video output, including series such as On The Scene, Ad Breakers and Why I Left Advertising, and manages its coverage of the creative sector. She also reports on the intersection between politics and marketing, as well as the third sector and fashion.

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