Report: Video Streaming Leads in Brand Trust; Social Media Less So

During the pandemic, consumers are looking to digital/streaming video platforms for nearly every aspect of their lives. At the same time, trust in digital distribution is declining, according to new data from Intent Lab, a research partnership between Performics and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications.

Intent Lab has been tracking consumers’ satisfaction with their digital experiences since Q2 2016, and trust is at the core. Consumer trust in digital experiences reached its lowest point in October 2018. Since then, trust rose, but has now fallen again over the past six months.

Social media, e-commerce, gaming and video/audio streaming platforms are experiencing a surge in usage, but consumers don’t always trust information from these platforms, according to the report. Consumers rate Amazon as the most trusted platform, with Google and Apple following. Consumers most trust information from video platforms (53%), commerce (45%) and gaming (44%), with social media far behind (25%).

“In crisis, trust can make it or break it for brands,” Esteban Ribero, SVP of planning and insights at Performics, said in a statement. “Over time, the Intent Lab has identified factors that make consumers trust or distrust brands, like protection of personal information, familiarity, adequacy of privacy practices, utility, quality of services or products, honesty, customer service and prevalence of misinformation.”

Control and transparency are key to boosting consumer trust in digital experiences, and respondents want the government to take action. The Intent Lab study found that people want more control over their information online:

  • 80% of consumers say they would like more control over their personal data online. But one in five said they would provide brands with personal information in exchange for a 50%+ discount.
  • 71% would like to see the government reform how companies treat their data. Three in four Gen X and Baby Boomers said they’d like to see the government reform how companies treat consumer data (vs. 64% of millennials).


“The pandemic has accelerated consumer adoption and use of digital, whether it’s online commerce, apps, social media or streaming everything from movies to fitness classes. As consumer reliance on these platforms increases, trust is the most critical factor in maintaining and growing this level of adoption,” Ribero said. “Most importantly, our study proves that brands must obtain permission to use consumer data and be transparent in how they use that data.”

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