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Trust in magazine advertising has increased year-on-year – but mind the generation gap

  • Date:

    08 May 2024

Trust in magazine advertising has increased year-on-year – but mind the generation gap

By Stephen Woodford, CEO, Advertising Association

Trust is one of the top three priorities for the Advertising Association’s (AA) membership and is at the core of our work, so thank you to the PPA for inviting me to speak at your brilliant festival last month (23 April).

Sharing our insights into what drives public trust and why it is important is critical in raising awareness and fostering best practice. We have a range of sources to draw on via Credos, the advertising industry’s thinktank, including the quarterly Trust Tracker and biennial Drivers of Trust research, both unique to the UK and mean that we have a clear view of what impacts trust and what we need to do to improve it. We also work closely with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to track the impact of their public awareness campaign on levels of trust annually.

All this insight, plus new findings, will be published by Credos and the AA on 4 June in a new ‘Value of Trust’ report. The report aims to raise awareness of the value of trust to our industry across the three Rs:

Results – trust in brands and trust in advertising media increases effectiveness, market share and brand value.

Regulation – politicians and policymakers are more likely to impose regulation on an industry deemed untrustworthy.

Recruitment – trust in our business, its values, and ways of working, is key to attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent to work in advertising.

Ahead of the launch of our new report, I shared some advance findings at the PPA Festival, including the fact that trust is very polarised by age. Younger people are more trusting of advertising, despite them spending less time with traditional media that is often considered more trustworthy. While 50% of 18- to 34-year-olds say they trust advertising, just 39% of those aged 35-54 and 22% of those aged 55-plus agree.

Overall, there has been a gradual long-term decline in trust in advertising since the 1990s. However, we are seeing the beginning of a recovery in trust, with improvements across all media between 2022 and 2023. It is also good news for trust in magazine advertising, which has increased from 28% to 33%.

Our Trust programme is working – but we need your support. One of the key drivers of trust is raising awareness of our regulator, the Advertising Standards Association (ASA). We have now run two national awareness campaigns and the latest findings show that those who saw or heard the ASA’s ads were more than twice as likely to trust adverts than those who didn’t.

This is a significant commitment for the ASA, AA, our agency partners The Leith Agency and EssenceMediacom, the brands and all the supporting media partners who have donated space.

We hope this performance will help us secure support from across our membership, including our publisher partners for the 2024 campaign, which we are aiming to run from July to September.

Please contact Polly Devaney at the Advertising Association if you are able to support or have any questions about our Trust workstream.