Bloggers are the third most trustworthy source of information, behind friends and family. Brands come ninth, just ahead of politicians.
The findings came from a survey of over 2,000 consumers by Affilinet. It found that one of the most important factors that engendered trust in bloggers was their balanced and fair reviews while 53 per cent cited the authenticity of content.
After friends, family and bloggers, fourth place went to social media contacts, followed by colleagues, journalists, and religious leaders. Celebrities came eighth, before brands and politicians.
However, one in 10 respondents said that they did not trust any of these.
“It’s a very British thing, not to trust anyone; we’re a sceptical and wary bunch,” said UK managing director of Affilinet Helen Southgate.
“I’m not surprised to see politicians at the bottom of the pile but perhaps a little surprised to see brands so low. What is encouraging though is the role that bloggers and social media play within consumer trust. But we must as marketers respect that and not take it for granted or abuse the position of trust earned by these affiliates.”
Southgate added that the findings could prove to be a “wake-up call” for celebrity endorsements.
“It seems consumers are growing cynical of this tactic because celebrities are also at the wrong end of the trust index. Advertisers need to work smarter and look at who’s really influencing their target markets,” she said.
With print revenues in decline, media owners have increasingly experimented with paywalls to monetise digital content. The study found that 16 per cent of consumers would also be inclined to pay for blogger content.
“I’m amazed the figure is that high,” said Southgate. “But when you consider that consumers are often turning to bloggers to get information about a niche area of interest, then perhaps because that content is particularly valuable to a loyal following, we might see paywalls springing up in a few unexpected places in the coming years.”
The survey was conducted in February/March 2015 by Atomik Research.