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The Drum

55% of web users now limit surfing to select trusted sites

A new survey of the nation’s internet habits has found that despite a near infinite variety of sources and content many Britons are increasingly adopting a conservative strategy of only visiting a few trusted sites for content.

Media agency Carat found that 55 per cent of the 11,000 British web users surveyed now suffer from ‘marketing and choice’ fatigue, resulting in them focussing solely on a handful of websites familiar to them or recommended by friends to keep up to speed with the news or bag a bargain.

This sees them zero in on just two or three trusted sites, ignoring thousands of others despite the best efforts of advertisers, with 41 per cent admitting they are ‘overwhelmed’ by the choice on offer. A further 29 per cent said it was difficult to find what they were looking for online owing to the wealth of information available.

Faced with these issues 33 per cent of those quizzed now rely on friends recommendations via social media, a trend most pronounced in the 15-34 age group where 49 per cent say they trust personal recommendations above adverts.

Dan Hagen, Chief Strategy Officer at Carat, said:“Whilst there will always be a small population of people who will make the effort to explore the landscape for new and interesting content, services and diversions, the vast majority need the advice of trusted friends and brands to help them navigate an increasingly saturated content ecosystem.

“This opens several interesting opportunities and challenges for brands. Smart content, and crucially, distribution strategies combined with innovative approaches to partnership can help advertisers redefine their content strategies, cutting through this noise to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time, driving real business value.”

The BBC dominates the select list of trusted content sites, according to Carat, with the main BBC hub and BBC online ranked first and third respectively. Sandwiched between is e-commerce platform Amazon with Google and ITV rounding out the top five.