From Google and YouTube to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, no platform has been immune to trust challenges. Many others have faced questions on their advertising potential.
Survata wanted to know where and how consumers put their trust and faith in the major ad platforms across ages and genders. Breaking out 1,000 consumers among age groups, the market and ad research firm asked participants to rate the advertising platforms Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. The survey focused on trust, experience, relevance, commerce and discovery.
The findings were not all "bad omens" for Facebook and Google, however. The platforms picking up the slack among the youngest demographic were Facebook's Instagram and Google's YouTube.
Instagram, with 22% of the vote, ranked No. 1 among 18- to 24-year-olds for the platform with the best natural ad experience, followed by Google with 21%, Facebook, 17%; Snapchat, 14%; YouTube, 11%; Pinterest, 8%; and Twitter, 7%.
Google and Facebook tied for No. 1 with 30% for all age groups in this section. Pinterest and Instagram tied for No. 2 with 11%, followed by YouTube with 9%; Snapchat, 5%; and Twitter, 4%.
When it comes to ads that promote buying, Google took the number one spot in all age groups with 38%. Overall, Facebook followed close behind with 35%; Pinterest, 9%; Instagram, 8%; YouTube, 7%; Twitter, 2%; and Snapchat, 1%.
While Google led in the ads that promote buying, Facebook led for the most relevant ads with 38%, followed by Google at 29%; YouTube, 11%; Instagram, 9%; Pinterest, 8%; Snapchat, 3%; and Twitter, 2%.
Ironically, Google remains the most trusted ad platform, even after battling with brands over serving their ads next to questionable and misinformation. Overall, Google led with 38%; followed by Facebook at 30%; YouTube, 10%; Pinterest, 9%; Instagram, 8%; Twitter, 3%; and Snapchat, 2%.
"It's definitely true that [Google and Facebook] have had their fair share of negative news associated with their advertising, but part of the reason why they still ranked highly in the overall findings could be attributed to sheer volume and longevity of exposure," said Guillermo Murga, Survata marketing lead. "While everyone surveyed was familiar with advertising on each of the platforms, it's very likely that most have had the most experiences with Google and Facebook especially. Most of the digital advertising they see is probably coming from those platforms, and the amount of good experiences probably accompanies some of the negative news."
Murga said the consumers participating in the study have probably searched on Google and have been on Facebook for a longer period of time before trying the others.
The study finds this doesn't hold true for those younger consumers, who have come up in an age of multiple social and search-engine platform digital advertising, he said. The 18- to 24-year-old group, who are more likely to have started their digital lives on many of these platforms in a shorter amount of time, showed a propensity to break away from the rest, and thus are more likely to migrate to other platforms if trust remains an issue.
"That makes it incredibly important for brand marketers to understand the nuances within each age group and gender," Murga said.
Facebook with 38% also led overall among the platforms whose ads are most likely to expose consumers to new products and businesses, followed by Google with 29%; Instagram, 10%; YouTube, 9%; Pinterest, 8%; Snapchat, 3%' and Twitter, 2%.
"When you think of discovery, you think of Google," Murga said. "But, it appears that Facebook has done a very good job of leveraging its very specific demographic and geographical data to help brands target consumers."
Murga said marketers should pay attention to this specific finding, especially for local or regional businesses.
"In the age of online shopping dominated by bigger players, the ability for smaller or regional and local businesses to find new customers with their limited ad dollars via Facebook is just as important as Google," he said.