Internet, I trust you!

16 March 2018

Internet, I trust you!

Why companies should focus on online communication.

A ride on public transport is enough to see how online communication has largely replaced printed paper. Smartphones, kindles and tablets have now taken the place of books and newspapers. The reason? Certainly the strong technological development that has revolutionised our society, but not only.

According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, which monitored public opinion and trust in the various media in 34 European countries, more than half the population trusts online information more than television and print media.

It is a question of changing times, but also of growing trust in the digital environment.

The Edelman Trust Barometer study, which annually measures the trust and credibility of companies, governments, media and non-governmental organisations, reveals that traditional media have lost the lead to search engines as a source of information for news, with trust at 62% versus 64%, respectively, globally.

In Italy, there has been a progressive loss of confidence in the traditional media, or, if not confidence, at least appeal. Only just over 35% of the population buys and reads paper newspapers, and this falls to 31% with weeklies and periodicals. Only television seems to be resisting well the loss of credibility on the one hand and the competition coming from the digital environment on the other: over 92% of Italians watch digital terrestrial TV, but it is interesting to note that even in Italy alternative forms of television consumption such as web TV, smart TV and mobile TV are gaining ground, and are beginning to appear as credible alternatives to the more traditional small screen.

On the contrary, the reliability of the web has expanded. The Internet is now said to have penetrated 75.1% of the population in Italy: search engines are used to collect, compare information from different sources, read opinions on a given subject, check news.

In particular, confidence in companies that communicate online has also grown, from 45% to 53%. This is a positive sign that should make companies reflect and push them towards less traditional and more digital communication.

There are many tools available, from social media such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to corporate websites and blogs.

In this regard, it is interesting for companies to know the typical profile of those who place their trust exclusively in online information, drawn by the Eurobarometer: men, aged between 35 and 54, from the upper-middle class, interested in politics and often civically engaged, ideologically moderate and on average satisfied with their work, often also regular readers of newspapers.

When choosing your target audience, this information can be really useful to leverage consumer trust and strengthen your brand image in an increasingly digital world.