Do Customers Trust Brand Sites More Than Social Media?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 11, 2017


It is extremely important to develop a consistent brand voice in order to build a successful consumer relationship. In the digital age where almost every business has a web presence and at a time when social media plays a significant role to play, a question that often comes to mind is, which is more powerful: the brand sites or social media platforms?

A recent research conducted by trade association Digital Content Next (DCN), confirmed consumers lack trust in social platform content and that it’s spilling over into their perceptions of brand sites and apps. Social automation and algorithms appear to have a negative impact with 62 percent of consumers agreeing that “there’s so much random content on social media, there’s no way to tell if an article is credible or not.” A younger audience of “Social Skeptics” has emerged. Seven in 10 of these consumers choose quality brand sites for content and prefer brand sites/apps for information. In fact, 41 percent of Social Skeptics have a content subscription, which also signals a preference for premium content. [Read the full research here]

Brand sites build trust by delivering on key attributes, such as credibility and accuracy, which correlate highly to both trust and importance. However, there are also hidden drivers which are less obvious—but that correlate highly to trust. These include popularity, virality, and personalization, all of which are important strategies to employ and very much a part of the algorithms of platforms. 

Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next said, “While we don’t recommend that publishers walk away from the relationships they have with the platforms, we do recommend they urge the platforms to better utilize and protect trusted news and entertainment brands.”

When it comes to trust, consumers have higher expectations for brand sites and apps and expect them to be trustworthy, credible, accurate and up-to-date. Thus, brands should closely monitor trust and work to maintain it as a key differentiator in the volatile digital media marketplace.

However, some others believe, when a brand did not reply to customer’s query, or took its time to get back to us on something urgent. A recent survey, by US-based social media analytics start-up Social Sprout, says that such incidents on the social media could cost brands dearly. According to the survey, the number of social messages needing a response from a brand has increased by 18 per cent over the past year; however, the despite the high volume of messages that require a response, brands reply to just one tenth of their customers. And even if they respond, they let people hang for an average of 10 hours, even though most people consider ‘under 4 hours’ as reasonable. 

“Unfortunately, most businesses continue to use social as a promotional mechanism instead of a two-way communication channel. Case in point: Brands send 23 promotional messages for every one consumer response,” the survey reveals. The company has also mapped out how this lag is affecting brands and found out the cost of being shunned. The company says this misguided social effort results in considerable damage as 30 per cent of people surveyed said they will go to the competitor if a brand doesn’t respond, and 36 per cent have used social media to shame a company for poor customer service. 

In such a scenario, DCN’s research found out that consumer trust in brand sites also positively impacts advertisers on the site. Higher trust in brand sites results in a trust halo effect for advertisers. Brand sites provide a significant boost in advertiser trust and positive perception compared to social media and YouTube. Consumer expectations around trust are higher for brand sites and apps and they expect them to be trustworthy, credible, accurate, and up-to-date. Therefore, publishers should closely monitor trust and work to maintain it as a key differentiator in the volatile digital media marketplace.