InQEWith qualitative online research, United Internet Media has found out which criteria influence users' trust in digital media and revealed the result that who provides quality and reliability earns consumers’ trust. In addition, the study In Quality We Trust examined which requirements users place on personalized content and how media environments can guarantee quality.

Together with DCore, United Internet Media used an innovative methodology: so-called insight communities allow deeper insights into the worlds of life and attitudes of consumers by using qualitative building blocks such as forum, chat and open questions in a mix with quantitative elements.

Understanding of trust in the Internet

Debates around the quality of media have left their mark: 94% of the users surveyed rated the factor "trust in the internet" as "very important" or "important". Among the top 5 factors that inspire confidence in digital platforms are: "well-known and established provider" (90%), "good functionality and user-friendliness" (87%) and "reasonable advertising" (85%). In addition, criteria such as "verification of content by other sources of information" (85%) and "transparency" (84%), which means privacy policy, imprint and contact information, essential for trusting Internet offers.

"Platforms that provide well-researched content, flawless usability and high transparency are considered particularly trustworthy," says Rasmus Giese, CEO of United Internet Media.

Evaluation and acceptance of personalized content

Personalized editorial contributions as inspiration and guidance are generally welcome: especially, entertaining and local topics, news or weather reports are wanted by the respondents.

Privacy issues are critical in the context of personalized content: users generally want to know which data is collected for their personalized content and demand to remain master of their data and content. These concerns can be resolved by providing transparency, such as by marking personalized content or setting up features that temporarily disable both topic selection and personalization.

Brand safety and advertising perception

The study shows that from the user's point of view, brand safety results from the interaction of environment, creation, as well as suitable advertising formats and messages. These factors determine the perception of an ad by the user and ideally intertwine: if the environment is appealing and structured, it has a high-quality and positive effect on the perception of the advertising.

Emerging emotions when reading an article or seeing a video clip can also be transferred to the perception of the ads. However, the reverse is also true: too many ads and inappropriate formats, such as hard-to-close or inappropriate ads, can negatively impact perceptions of the environment.

"The results of the study give clear recommendations for action: the trust of the users is gained by publishers and advertisers through transparency, credibility of the advertising medium and quality of content - editorial as well as advertising. The mix makes the difference, United Internet Media’s CEO says: “Sympathy and seriousness of the editorial environment in the interplay with the ad placed there creates a positive brand perception.

By Daniela La Marca