The recently released study by MAGNA Media Trials, in collaboration with brand suitability leader Zefr, takes an in-depth look at consumer sentiments and perceptions of misinformation, and identifies how people are dealing with it in their daily lives. The study also highlights the potential impact on brands thought to be associated with misinformation.
MAGNA found that consumers continue to be exposed to a high-volume of misinformation, and a majority view this as increasing over time (82%). Approximately 7 out of 10 people agree that misinformation is “an issue,” and that it is also getting “out of control.”
The study found that misinformation transcends the political divide, as respondents representing a variety of political affiliations agreed on many key issues. Across media types, people reported they encounter misinformation the most on social media (94 over index), followed by television (57 over index).
As people are increasingly exposed to misinformation, they have also become equally savvy in identifying it. Most study participants (83%) claimed to incorporate at least four signals to identify misinformation on their own, demonstrating the significant legwork people undertake to effectively vet content. While many people are actively vetting the content sources they view, they aren’t as engaged with combating misinformation once they’ve encountered it. A vast majority of participants (78%) reported they simply ignore misinformation when they see it.
For brands investing millions in advertising to establish their reputations, association with misinformation poses a significant risk. Among participants surveyed, 63% agreed that misinformation would have a negative impact on how they viewed the brand. As a result, brands are likely to see a loss across key performance indicators.
Given the current political climate, consumers expect brands to take a more proactive stance on combating misinformation. A majority of respondents expressed the desire to see brands “take responsibility when associated with misinformation” (87%), as well as “make every effort to avoid being next to misinformation” (86%). These findings suggest consumers are more discerning and critical when it comes to the type of content brands associate themselves with—a clear signal to advertisers on the need to adopt proactive strategies to avoid misinformation.
Read the report below for more takeaways.