Why Trust Builds Audiences

|Tina Coll

This week we look at the importance of audience trust.

Our survey of nearly 500 respondents found this: trust is the main driver for audience loyalty to a publisher.


An overwhelming 94% of readers view “trustworthiness” as a key factor in their decision to visit a publisher site. And it’s not just a matter of their arriving at a publisher’s doorstep, but having audiences happy enough to stick around. For 87% of readers, their overall satisfaction with their experience of visiting publisher site depends on trust.

Taking into account the social side of content consumption, like dark social, where people are sharing up to 72% of their articles through links they copy and paste in IMs and email, the ripple effect of trust in building a publisher’s audience can’t be denied. 90% of readers say their willingness to recommend a publisher site to others depends on trust. If a reader trusts the content they discover on a publisher’s site, they’re more likely to share it, increasing the number of people who engage with the publisher. If a publisher fails to gain a reader’s trust, they not only lose that one reader but also that reader’s social circle.

Two out of every three readers go so far as to rank “trustworthiness” as the MOST important factor in their choice of online news sources. Other factors they considered were “popularity”, “political-leaning”, “variety of coverage”, and “depth of coverage”. But trust is number one.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., the famous Fireside Poet from the 1800s and publisher in his own right, noted, “Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.” It was as true for publishers then as it is now.


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Tina Coll

Tina Coll

Tina Coll is a Marketing Manager at Outbrain. She has worked internationally across Asia and the U.S. in the technology,... Read more

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