Digital: The more we use it, the more we distrust it

Published on the 07/02/2019 | Written by Heather Wright

Businesses dont trust social media

Surprise, surprise, Kiwi consumers don’t trust social media for business…

New Zealand businesses looking to social media to help their business might want to tread carefully, with a new survey from Colmar Brunton and Internet NZ showing a clear disconnect between how businesses rate the benefits of social media and how consumers perceive businesses on social media.

The 2018/2019 Internet Research, which polled nearly 1900 Kiwi consumers and businesses about their internet usage and concerns, highlights consumers’ wariness over social media as it increasingly becomes overtaken with advertising, fake news and social media ‘influencers’ pushing products they’ve been paid to advertise (and no doubt in increasing numbers if Wellington talent agency StarNow’s addition social influencers as its own category is anything to go on).

“Consumer perceptions of businesses on social media are less favourable than business perceptions of themselves.”

The survey asked the 858 consumers polled who weren’t also operating a business, whether words such as trustworthy, secure and credible were more relevant to businesses promoting themselves using a website, or a social media page. Overwhelmingly respondents looked more favourably on those using websites: 76 percent said they associated ‘secure’ as being more relevant to businesses using websites, versus just five percent for social media; with 73 percent saying the same for credible, versus eight percent for social; and a 71 percent/eight percent split for trustworthy.

The only area where social closed some ground was with ‘convenient’ where 26 percent of respondents said that was more relevant for businesses promoting themselves using social media than those using a website (61 percent).

“Social media pages are predominantly convenient for consumers, but this is still at half the incidence as for websites,” the report says. (It should also be noted that Internet NZ appointed the Domain Name Commission to develop the registrar for New Zealand domain names used for websites.)

The results are in contrast to business views on social media, with 30 percent of the businesses surveyed who use social media saying it was extremely beneficial to their business.

“Consumer perceptions of businesses who are on social media are less favourable than business perceptions of themselves.

“Consumers rate business websites significantly higher than social media pages on measures that are important to their purchase decision.”

Eight percent of the businesses using social media said they used just social media, with no website presence.

When it comes to what the 43 percent of businesses using social media are using it for, ‘keeping customers up to date’ continues to top the list, at 54 percent, (down from 67 percent last year), but there’s a clear shift towards a more even split with interactive reasons such as generating leads (40 percent), directing customers to a website (37 percent) and receiving feedback (35 percent).

Just 14 percent are using social media to transact sales (down from 16 percent last year).

A new Hootsuite report on New Zealand social media usage, shows the total advertising audience on Facebook was 3.2 million monthly active users, 1.7 million on Instagram, and 514,000 on Twitter. While Facebook and Instagram have recorded no quarter over quarter change in their total Kiwi advertising audiences, Twitter has jumped 5.1%, Hootsuite’s report says.

The ‘typical’ user clicked 12 Facebook ads in the past 30 days.

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