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Consumers ‘trust branded content almost as much as editorial’

There’s some good news for native advertisers this week, with research indicating that just 2% more consumers trust content from publications (35%) than from brands (33%).


However, the data from native advertising company Vibrant Media also found that there are more consumers who distrust content from publications (18%) than there are who distrust content from brands (15.5%).

When Vibrant Media’s researchers focused their assessment on media titles and brands with which consumers were familiar, they exposed a greater disparity in levels of distrust between brands and media titles: the number of consumers that distrust content from media titles they know (12 percent) is double the number who distrust content from brands that they know (6 percent).

Cynicism about content increases with age. Consumers aged 13-34 years old proved to be more trusting of all content producers compared to those aged 35-64. The study also found that 50 percent of respondents feel that it is important they be informed that an advertiser has paid for content.

The research results offer reassurance to publishers considering introducing branded content along with their editorial. Craig Gooding, Executive Chairman & Founder of Vibrant Media, said, “The very fact that consumers’ level of trust in branded content is even on par with editorial is very surprising. Moreover, the higher levels of distrust in publishers’ content than branded content shows far less cynicism about branded content than we expected. The findings have reassured us that publishers who offer branded content, or are considering doing so, are not compromising their relationship with consumers – as long as they do so responsibly.”

The research was conducted to coincide Vibrant media’s launch of four new cross-platform native ad units to help consumers discover brands’ content from within editorial.


Vibrant Media surveyed 1,000 people between the ages of 13 and 64 across the United States who owned at least one of a computer, a mobile phone or a tablet, each of which must connect to the Internet. The survey was conducted online by Toluna, a leading online panel and survey technology provider.

Watch this recent roundtable event hosted by Vibrant Media discussing native ads below:

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