6 Ways Of Building Consumer Trust In Online Advertising

There’s a good chance the next person that interacts with your business doesn’t trust you. And that makes building an audience increasingly difficult.

Sorry if that’s bad news, but the data is pretty clear.

While consumer trust is rebounding a little after historic lows, it remains low. Very low.

Some Consumer Trust Statistics

In the United States, the monthly Consumer Confidence stats from the Conference Board showed their lowest levels since September 2017.

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer spells it out for us too: only 60% of men trust businesses. For women, it’s 53%.

But that’s averaged across all sectors. Depending on your industry, the picture is bleaker. Trust in financial services, for example, are at record lows.

If you’re reading this, then chances are you work in PPC marketing –  and consumer trust in online advertising is abysmal. It’s crisis-mode low.

According to research by Credos, public favourability regarding advertising was at an all-time low of 25% in December 2018.  That’s down from 48% in 1992, and even higher levels in the 80s, 70s and 60s.

Three out of every four people have no love for your advertising. They don’t want it.

In a separate study conducted by the Internet Society, 75% reported that they were concerned about their data being used by organisations without their permission.

Pretty rough reading, right?

But the best way to deal with a problem is to tackle it head-on. Here’s the deal: your customers are increasingly pessimistic about the future. They’re smarter. They’re more engaged, but more unhappy.

They’re looking for reasons they shouldn’t buy from you.

But remember how I said consumer trust is rebounding a little? That’s because some companies have sharpened up their game.

At Adzooma, we put a strategy in place that’s working. And it can work for you too.

A Quick Definition of Consumer Trust

Consumer trust and trust-based marketing is defined as building consumer relationships through “trustworthy dialogue and unbiased information”.

It’s also related to satisfaction and customer loyalty as a result. Loyal consumers are often long-term customers who buy more.

By instilling belief in your company from an advertising perspective, this can funnel into the customer experience and improve word of mouth, reviews, and brand trust in the context of consumer loyalty.

The Four Horsemen Of The “Adocalypse”

When it comes to PPC advertising, there are four negative factors that influence poor consumer perceptions of brands online.

Let’s set them out:

  • Drowning in ads: people are bombarded by advertising; they are sick of how many ads they see on search engines.
  • Repetition of ads: people hate seeing the same advert; they are easily bored.
  • Interfering ads: people don’t want to be interrupted by ads; they want to experience content without distraction.
  • Irrelevant ads: people don’t want to see ads that don’t speak to them; they want relevant content.

Want proof? We’ve got proof. When asked why people block ads with ad blockers, 64% said it was because of annoying/intrusive ads. 54% said it was because ads disrupted what they were doing.

Consider how you market your business to new and returning customers. Are you doing any of the above?

If you are, it can hurt you in a lot of ways. Repetitive, irrelevant ads that interfere with people’s day won’t get you new customers, but they might irritate people enough to remember you – and for the wrong reasons.

This is one key benefit of PPC advertising platforms. They let you advertise smart. They can analyse your campaigns and identify when ad fatigue is going to occur.

With the right platform, your ad campaigns will be served to your potential customers at the right time. But you can’t just pay a subscription fee to a platform and solve the consumer trust problem.

Even if your ads are getting clicked, there’s still plenty of work for you to convert a modern, discerning visitor to your site into a customer.

Why Consumer Trust Matters In PPC

How does the consumer trust crisis impact you? Here are just some examples:

  • Visitors to your site will place items in their online shopping cart, leave and then never return.
  • They won’t share personal information with you through social or on landing pages (even if you’re giving something away for free).
  • They might go to a rival brand where trust has been established and buy there instead – even if prices are higher or the purchase is less convenient.

Here are 6 things you have to get right to combat this.

Be More Secure With HTTPS And Click Fraud Protection

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) refers to the padlock icon in the far left of your browser address bar.

Previously used only for passwords and other sensitive data, websites wanting to rank higher in organic results has left behind HTTP for its newer, more secure cousin.

From a PPC perspective, click fraud is something serious to consider. About 20% of clicks on adverts were fraudulent in 2017 and fraudulent clicks lose businesses billions. This kind of activity can come from unscrupulous competitors and dedicated “fraud rings” aiming to waste your budget and gain an edge.

But there are ways to bolster your security on and off-site.

  • Buy an SSL certificate for your site immediately. Many host providers offer these for free but if not, the cost of a certificate is smaller than the cost of your ad budget going down the drain.
  • Sign up to a click fraud prevention service like PPC Protect. All of their domains use HTTPS and you own all the information they collect, with data backed up every few seconds.

Show Your Face

Landing pages convert better when they have people on them.

We’re a social species, and we want to know who we are buying from. We want to know who we’re working with.

While this is particularly important for people selling a service – as there’s going to be an ongoing relationship between you and your customer – the same rule applies whatever you’re selling.

The Adzooma’s About Us page leads with a picture of our team and multiple pictures of the lovely human beings behind our platform.

Testimonials & Reviews

Social proof is gigantic – and it should feature prominently on your site. 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends.

At Adzooma, the companies we’ve worked with are at the very top. Our testimonials are just one scroll down: relevant reviews from our customers that push the benefits we offer to like-minded visitors.

adzooma testimonials

Any visitor to your site is looking to solve a problem. They’re looking to see if you’re the right people to solve it for them and evidence of other happy customers is a big win.

Case Studies

Where possible, you must use case studies. They showcase the benefits of your business and bring it to life.

Adzooma’s case study was filmed by Google, who are the undisputed kings of PPC advertising.

The video is crucial to us. Case studies provide proof that the service we offer is valuable to people who are looking to make a purchasing decision.

It goes like this: if the PPC ad kings are working with us – imagine what we can do for you too.

Now, of course, visitors to your site are primarily focused on what you can do for them right now. That’s precisely why the video doesn’t lead on our landing pages, or feature anywhere in our advertising.

But it’s a powerful conversion tool for people who are interested but not yet ready to buy. It’s a powerful social proofing tool.

If you’re pouring over your analytics and seeing good traffic but not a lot of conversions, think about trust – then think about case studies.

Don’t Hide Contact Information

This is a big one too. New customers will want to know that, if something should go wrong, they can get in touch with you quickly and without issue.

If communication looks difficult, they’re not going to engage with your brand. Display contact info prominently, whether you’re a one page Facebook operation or a complex brochure web page. Get this wrong and it will cost you.

A good way to improve this in your PPC ads is adding a call extension. Adding telephone numbers to your ads can increase click-through rates and give customers the opportunity to contact you straight away.

Linked to this, there are “ask us a question” / chat widgets. Landing pages and websites with this generally convert better. People always want to know there’s somebody to speak to.

Clean, Modern (And FAST) Design

Too few companies understand how much the customer experience of your brand matters.

Can you honestly say you put trust and page load speeds together? If you do, congratulations: you’re one of the enlightened minority.

If your site is taking ages to load, it’s going to massacre trust in your business. In fact, it’s the number one frustration among visitors.

But full redesigns aren’t always the right idea either. I remember working for an online comic book shop who thought the answer to all their problems was a flashy new website.

The reasoning was this: get rid of their tired old 90s site that was painful to navigate, then profit big.

It was a disaster. See, new and returning visitors to their site cared that it was ugly and painful to use. But they cared much more about how slowly the new site loaded – and voted with their feet.

User experience is important for trust. You need to find the right balance between look, feel and usability.

People Don’t Hate You, But…

The consumer trust crisis is a perfectly legitimate response from consumers. There are too many ads. They’re too intrusive. They’re too creepy.

The bad press around big ad companies and what they have been doing with our data is justified, and companies need to do better.

And you can do better.

Your customers are smarter, more engaged and more unhappy than ever before. So go out there and make them happy.

Create a stellar customer experience and use every single opportunity you have to build trust.

At Adzooma, we did this with a Google case study video (and a whole host of other important techniques), but there are multiple ways you can do this too.

Remember this: whatever you’re selling, you’re also selling trust. That’s why your PPC ads help to sell consumer trust in advertising overall.