With the wealth of information available online, trust is a crucial tool that consumers use to sort and prioritize the information they find online, according to “The Trust Factor,” proprietary research conducted by About.com in collaboration with Latitude.
Trust Drives Consumer Decisions
The Trust Factor found that the existence of trust drives consumer decisions, with 84% of respondents reporting they will not engage with a brand until trust has been established. 10 essential elements were identified for developing trust with consumers. Key elements were:
- Expertise – communicates authority and real value, and distinguishes itself from other brands/content fighting for consumer’s attention.
- Fairness – provides information and tools to help the consumer evaluate pros and cons, risks, etc.
- Relevance – targeted to the consumer’s needs and situation, and directly on topic .
- Choice – respects and acknowledges the consumer’s process by offering more options and paths to solutions, and allows consumer to express preferences.
- Relatability – understands the consumer and looks at things from his point of view. Leads like a knowledgeable friend.
- Awareness – name recognition alone doesn’t guarantee trust. Consumers rely on awareness driven by personal experiences or recommendations from a friend.
“With the high volume of information at consumers’ fingertips, not only is trust a valuable filter, it is a prerequisite for consumers to even enter the purchase funnel,” said Laura Salant, director, research, About.com. “By understanding how consumers view trust and what they value most, marketers can tailor their outreach to deliver meaningful information and tools to create authentic, long-lasting relationships.”Different platforms were identified as better delivering certain trust elements, and can therefore be complementary tools for brands:
- Respondents reported that all 10 trust elements are even more important on mobile than online. Format was identified by 71% of respondents as being more important for mobile, with accuracy and expertise also ranking highly.
- In social media, consumers are ambivalent about the value of certain commonly-used social actions such as “likes.” Reviews were identified as inspiring trust twice as much as general “likes,” though seeing a “like” or recommendation from a friend increased the trust value of that action.
- Video works best to enhance trust when it is combined with other types of content. 56% of respondents agreed that video builds trust when it adds illustration or explanation attached to other types of content.
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