Corporate Eye

Social Media Advertising Trusted Less than Engagement

computer-keyboard-handsResults from a new poll by Harris Interactive for the Online Publishers Association (OPA) shouldn’t be too surprising for marketers and brand managers who have been involved with social media marketing in recent years.

According to the study, consumers trust ads on social media sites less than ads on other websites.  In fact, only 8% of respondents felt that companies that placed ads on social media sites are reputable.  That’s significantly lower than the 21% of respondents who felt that advertisers on traditional content sites are reputable.  Respondents also felt that advertisers on social media sites are less respected and the ads displayed on social media sites are not relevant.

When asked how satisfied they are with various social media sites, the results were somewhat surprising with Wikipedia, a site known for inaccuracies from user-submitted content, ranked quite high.  Of course, perhaps respondents have expectations for Wikipedia, accept the possible inaccuracy of information found there, and rated the site with that in mind.  Check out the results below:

  • 77% of respondents were satisfied with Wikipedia
  • 73% of respondents were satisfied with YouTube
  • 64% of respondents were satisfied with Facebook
  • 63% of respondents were satisfied with MySpace

The reality is that brands need to engage with consumers on social media sites in a manner that meets users’ expectations for the site and for the brand.  Social sites aren’t going away and even if users aren’t completely satisfied with existing social media sites and tools, they’re going to keep using them until something better comes along.  Until then, engaging with consumers, earning their trust, and building relationships with them on social sites continues to be more effective than advertising on the same sites and continues to present an opportunity that brands shouldn’t ignore.

You can follow the link to read more about building brand trust.

Image: stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.