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Half of Consumers in America Don’t Trust Advertising

Today’s consumers just don’t trust advertisements any more. At least not as much as they do fellow consumers’ personal recommendations.

According to a newly released research study by research and consulting firm YouGov, as much as 50 percent of US consumers do not trust what they see, read, and hear in advertisements. 44 percent even go so far as to assert that ads are dishonest.

The study also points out that ads from certain business categories are more likely to not be trusted by consumers. For example: ads about diet products, financial services and insurance, pharmaceuticals, cars, and cosmetics and beauty products have been deemed the least trustworthy by YouGov’s survey respondents.

(Check out: “Encouraging Online Reviews: 5 Tips to Make It Easy”)

On the other hand, ads for clothing stores, electronics and household appliances, and casual dining restaurants are among the most trusted.

In a world where trust translates into action, business owners and marketers are finding it more challenging to instill consumer trust through traditional advertising and marketing efforts. Personal recommendations and online media like social networks and user-generated reviews are more likely to influence the decisions of consumers. In fact, in a separate study, also by YouGov, nearly 8 out of 10 US consumers said that they checked online reviews before purchasing a product or service; 26 percent – or approximately one out of four – made sure they checked reviews every time they were about to make a buying decision.

Half of Consumers in America Don’t Trust Advertising

A similar study done last year by Forrester Research indicated that US consumers trust online reviews more than they do advertisements and direct marketing messages. Only 43 percent trust promotional messages and results that appear on search engine results pages, while 70 percent trust brand recommendations and reviews from friends and family.

Are you a business owner or marketer looking to engage more effectively with consumers? Sign up for a free trial of ReviewTrackers, a review monitoring and online reputation management software platform that generates new reviews, engages your customers and lets you listen and respond to their comments to discover key business insights. For more information, check out our Tour Page or contact our friendly team today.

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.


  1. Nicole Burns

    The continual evolution and expansion of the internet and social media sites have made it necessary for businesses to change the way they look at advertising.
    I believe companies are forced to be more transparent and are being held accountable for their quality of products and services.
    Traditional advertising is far less effective than word of mouth experience.
    I identify with the majority of consumers represented in this article. Businesses will do well in taking these statistics to heart.

  2. Amanda

    Most people are smart enough to know that advertisements have an agenda and they are going to present the best version of a business. I think that people tend to look at online reviews to get a more honest opinion of a business. Most people leaving reviews just want people to know what they experienced and they don’t have an agenda when they write the review.