93 per cent of consumers are exposed to misinformation and expect brands to take action, study
MAGNA Media Trials, in collaboration with brand suitability player Zefr, has released a new study that examines the impact of misinformation on consumers and brands.
Voices on Misinformation takes an in-depth look at consumer sentiment and perceptions of misinformation and identifies how people are dealing with it in their daily lives. Further, the study highlights the potential impact on brands thought to be associated with misinformation.
Voices on Misinformation found that consumers continue to be exposed to a high-volume of misinformation, and a majority view this as increasing over time (82%). Approximately 7 out of 10 people agree that misinformation is “an issue” and that it is also getting “out of control.”
The study found that misinformation transcends the political divide, as respondents representing a variety of political affiliations agreed on many key issues. Across media types, people reported they encounter misinformation the most on social media (94 over index), followed by television (57 over index).
As people are increasingly exposed to misinformation, they have also become equally savvy in identifying it. Most study participants (83%) claimed to incorporate at least four signals to identify misinformation on their own, demonstrating the significant legwork people undertake to effectively vet content. That said, while many people are actively vetting the content sources they view, they aren’t as engaged with combating misinformation once they’ve encountered it. A vast majority of participants (78%) reported they simply ignore misinformation when they see it.
For brands investing millions in advertising to establish their reputations, association with misinformation poses a significant risk. Among participants surveyed, 63% saw agreed that misinformation would have a negative impact on how they viewed the brand. As a result, brands are likely to see a loss across key performance indicators.
Given the current political climate, consumers expect brands to take a more proactive stance on combating misinformation. A majority of respondents expressed the desire to see brands “take responsibility when associated with misinformation” (87%), as well as “make every effort to avoid being next to misinformation” (86%). These findings suggest consumers are more discerning and critical when it comes to the type of content brands associate themselves with—a clear signal to advertisers on the need to adopt proactive strategies to avoid misinformation.
Christopher Murphy, SVP of Global Business Development, Zefr: “Zefr’s mission to defund misinformation continues with our latest partnership with MAGNA and our joint research on its impact to consumers via platforms and their advertisers. It’s clear the time is now for brands to demand third-party verification for misinformation and help protect their long-term brand values as well as their short-term business results. Zefr looks forward to our continued partnership with platforms, brands, and agencies on this key issue.”
Elijah Harris, EVP Global Digital Partnerships & Media Responsibility at MAGNA: “In a fractured news environment, 93% of respondents told us they view misinformation as being ubiquitous, and while they’ve developed skills to identify it, our study revealed that consumers are not reporting it, which puts even more responsibility on brands to be aware of ad environments. A resounding 87% of respondents told us they expect brands to take responsibility for misinformation, and combatting it is becoming a critical industry issue of our time.”
The full study can be found here