Consumers Get News Via Social Media, But Trust It Less
What matters most in a PR or marketing program is audience impact. We go to great lengths to benchmark audience perception and measure how our client programs influence that. Recently, we approached our research partner, Regina Corso Consulting, with a new ask: can we periodically survey consumer audiences to derive our own insights, not just on behalf of our clients?
Skip to the end: starting this quarter we’ll be fielding brief quarterly surveys of consumers to understand their perceptions of media and marketing. And we’ve just fielded our first, drawing data from more than 2,000 U.S. adults 18 or older. Let’s dig into this quarter’s notable findings.
How do people get most of their news?
No surprise, 44% of those surveyed turn to online sites for news. But wait, just 44%? You’d think it would be even higher. In second was social media (40%), which is a bit curious, making one wonder how consumers scroll through their feeds and what they consider news.
While once “traditional” sources for news – television (32% for broadcast/34% for cable), radio (16%) and print (12%) – are indeed notably lower, they clearly still play important roles. The low number for print does stand out, however, and we will explore that deeper in future surveys.
What news do they trust most?
Television may trail online as a primary source, but it is still more trusted. Yes, it’s close, 31% for television and 29% for online, but there’s something there. What’s shocking is that print is once again so low (17%) – it’s less frequented and less trusted. Less shocking is the low trust for social media (13%). But these data are also troubling given that social is the second-most frequently source for news.
What’s the takeaway?
News consumption is all over the place, and the diminished role of print is surprising. It’s worth more research, however, to see how the different sources conflict with and complement one another. The trust gap between television and online sites and the other three sources is significant, however, and this should certainly influence any PR or marketing strategy aimed at a consumer audience.
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