Few Older Americans Trust Social Media Advertising

Despite the ongoing shift of advertising dollars to social media platforms, legacy platforms, such as radio and TV, still command the highest share of collective trust in advertising.

Older Americans 50+ are nearly four times more likely to say they feel social media ads are “untrustworthy” versus TV ads (19% vs. 5%), according to Nielsen.

Somewhat similar levels of distrust are found in younger Americans as well. While 13% of those ages 18-34 distrust social media ads, only 5% distrust TV spots. For those ages 35-49, 11% state social media ads are “very untrustworthy” compared to 4% who are distrustful over TV. 

While consumers may express skepticism over Instagram ads for bubble tea and meal prep services, their level of distrust is higher among even newer forms of advertising. To that end, similar percentages who find social media ads “very untrustworthy” express similar sentiments about podcast ads (16% for 18-34; 17% for 35-49; 5% for 50+) and streaming music services (17% for 18-34; 20% for 35-49; 8% for 50+).



By comparison, 54% of adults 18-34, 60% of ages 35-49 and 51% of 50+ consider radio spots “very” or “somewhat“ trustworthy, with TV slightly below that at 51% for 18-34, 59% for 35-49 and 51% for 50+.

To marketers, researchers states this should come as no shock, considering that the decades-old media have been constant companions in family rooms and automobiles a lot longer than more nascent technology.

Overall, adults age 18+ spent 5 hours and 28 minutes a week using social media — across all platforms — in Q3 2020, with younger groups, unsurprisingly, spending more time than their older counterparts (7:13 for age 18-34; 5:54 for age 35-49 vs. 4:48 for 50-64; 2:35 for 64+). Asians adults (6:09) spend slightly more time each week on social networks than White (5:27), Black (5:42) and Hispanic (5:51) adults.

The Nielsen Advertising Across Media Consumer Survey is a custom Nielsen study conducted in English only from Feb. 2-17,  via an online survey. It is based on a representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adults 18+ who consume media across TV, radio, or digital devices.

Here is a link to the report.

1 comment about "Few Older Americans Trust Social Media Advertising".
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  1. George Parker from Parker Consultants, April 15, 2021 at 12:55 p.m.

    Never forget... It's the old geezers that have the most money.

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