Wednesday, June 19, 2024

DIGITAL INFLUENCER | From TV to digital ads: The rise and erosion of trust

During the recent Market Insights 2024 event, hosted by Synergy Market Research + Strategic Consultancy, CEO Germaine Reyes shared a compelling insight regarding consumer trust in various advertising media.

Comparison of Trust Across Channels

According to Synergy’s Market Insights 2024 report, a significant portion of consumers express higher trust in TV advertisements. This trust is bolstered by the regulatory standards, high production values, and historical reliability associated with TV ads. Consumers are more likely to believe and engage with brands advertised on TV.

Similarly, advertisements on pay TV channels also enjoy significant trust, although slightly less than free TV. This trust is built on the perceived quality and control over content that pay TV offers.

Ads in cinemas and on the radio hold moderate levels of trust. They are effective in specific contexts, such as local advertising and targeting specific audience segments. These channels can provide a more focused reach, making them useful for niche marketing campaigns.

Ads in printed magazines or newspapers, and digital news or magazines, have seen a decline in trust. This decline could be attributed to the proliferation of online content and concerns about the credibility of some digital news sources.

E-commerce platform ads, ads in video streaming services, and social media ads are also significant channels for brand discovery. These platforms are particularly popular among younger demographics, such as Gen X and Millennials.

While these platforms are growing in importance, their trust levels still lag behind traditional TV. However, they are crucial for reaching digitally savvy consumers who spend considerable time online.

Ads in video streaming services are gaining traction as effective brand discovery tools. As more consumers shift from traditional TV to streaming platforms, advertisers are increasingly leveraging these channels to reach a wider audience.

The Enduring Trust in TV Ads

Television has been a cornerstone of advertising for decades. This long-standing presence has built a strong foundation of trust among consumers, who view TV as a credible source of information. The familiarity and consistency of TV advertising contribute to its trustworthiness.

Consumers tend to pay more attention to and engage with TV ads compared to ads on newer digital platforms. This is because television offers a more immersive and less fragmented viewing experience, which enhances the impact of advertisements.

TV remains a top channel for brand discovery. Even as digital media grows, the broad reach and visual impact of TV ads makes them effective for introducing new products and brands to a wide audience.

TV advertisements are subject to strict regulatory standards and oversight. Regulatory bodies ensure that TV ads meet high standards for accuracy and appropriateness, which instills a sense of reliability among viewers. This rigorous vetting process differentiates TV ads from digital ads, where oversight can be inconsistent.

TV ads typically involve higher production values compared to many digital ads. The investment in high-quality production enhances the perceived credibility of TV commercials. Viewers associate the professionalism of TV ads with the reliability of the brands they promote.

Digital Advertising Challenges

Although a significant portion of advertising spend today is on digital because of its affordability and performance measurement features, there are challenges.

Digital platforms, particularly social media, are plagued by the spread of fake news, fake ads, and deepfake technology. The ease with which misleading information can be disseminated online has eroded trust in digital advertisements. Consumers are wary of encountering deceptive content, which undermines the credibility of digital ads.

The prevalence of fake and misleading content on digital platforms contributes to a higher level of skepticism among consumers. This distrust affects how consumers perceive all digital ads, even those from reputable brands. As a result, digital ads often struggle to achieve the same level of trust as TV ads.

The advent of deepfake technology has further complicated the digital advertising landscape. Deepfake ads can manipulate video and audio to create highly convincing but entirely false representations, making it difficult for consumers to discern the truth. This technological challenge exacerbates the trust deficit in digital platforms.

The nature of user-generated content on digital platforms means that anyone can post and promote ads, increasing the risk of encountering fraudulent content. This lack of gatekeeping contributes to the overall skepticism towards digital advertising.

Unlike TV, digital platforms often lack consistent regulatory oversight. The policies governing ad content can vary significantly between platforms, leading to inconsistent enforcement and greater potential for misleading ads. This variability in oversight diminishes the perceived reliability of digital ads.

Strategic Implications for Businesses

Businesses should adopt a multi-channel advertising strategy that leverages the trust associated with TV ads while also utilizing the reach and engagement potential of digital platforms. By balancing these mediums, companies can maximize their advertising impact.

Ensuring high-quality and credible content across all advertising platforms can help build trust. For digital ads, this means rigorously vetting content and avoiding associations with platforms known for fake news and misinformation.

Educating consumers about how to identify credible sources and avoid fake ads can enhance the overall trust in digital advertising. This approach can help mitigate the impact of misinformation and build a more informed consumer base.


The insights from Synergy’s Market Insights 2024 report highlight the enduring trust in traditional TV advertisements amidst the challenges faced by digital platforms.

Understanding these dynamics can help businesses craft more effective and trusted advertising strategies, ensuring they connect authentically with their target audiences.

By leveraging the strengths of both TV and digital media, businesses can navigate the evolving advertising landscape and build lasting trust with consumers.


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