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Online Search Becomes Most Trusted Source

The Importance of Trust

I think we can all agree that every business is looking to gain their customers’ trust. You need to be trustworthy and show integrity, so your customers feel comfortable working with your company. If customers are comfortable and confident with your company, they will hopefully be customers for a long time. Do your customers trust you online?

For the past 15 years, Edelman Berland, a global public relations and research firm, has conducted annual studies on trust and credibility. This year’s findings were reported by eMarketer, and had some interesting results. 

Online search engines (64 percent) have surpassed traditional media (62 percent) as the most-trusted source for information. While global survey responses only resulted in a 2 percent difference between media sources, respondents' trust in online search engines increased year-over-year, while it decreased in traditional media from 65 percent in 2014.

Graph showing media sources from 2012-2015

Other avenues internet users trust include hybrid media (53 percent), social media (48 percent), and owned media (47 percent). Hybrid media remained even year-over-year, while social and owned media increased by 3 percent over 2013.

What are these other medias? Social media is fairly straightforward. Hybrid media blends traditional and digital formats together. Owned media is brand-controlled media such as blogs, websites, email newsletters, white papers, etc. Owned media typically refers to online sources.

Edelman sums up findings from their survey in a short video and provides great examples of why people do not trust companies. They also give advice on how to gain consumer trust. Take a couple minutes and watch it.

The study also asked which source users turn to first for business information. On a typical day, internet users turn to online search 31 percent of the time. They turn to TV and newspapers 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Compared to 2013, online search increased by 2 percent, TV remained steady, and newspapers decreased by 4 percent.

Graph showing the source that internet users worldwide turn to first for business information

U.S. search ad spending is expected to total $25 billion increase in 2015 as well. Surprise! That is a 12.2 percent increase over 2014.

What Does This Mean for My Business?

First, it means if you aren’t utilizing online search ads, you need to be. Online search ads target people that are searching for your products and services. Online search advertising is extremely measurable and cost-effective, especially when adding in your ability to track ROI.

Secondly, online search can be extremely beneficial if done correctly. As previously mentioned, over $25 billion will be spent on online search. That’s a lot of money, and as the late Notorious B.I.G. said, “Mo money, mo problems.”

Mo’ Search, Mo’ Problems

Search engines run an auction each time someone searches for something. This auction determines if and where your ad will show up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

As more people use online search and spend more money on it, online auctions become more and more competitive. As these auctions and the processes become more competitive, you need to know what you are doing to appear in search and save money.

Gone are the times when your intern or your friend’s marketing major kid can run your online search campaigns. You need to commit time and resources to make your online search campaigns a success. If you make this investment, the upside can be huge. Trust us.