What does it take to build trust among consumers?
This timeless and evasive question should be top-of-mind for any marketer interested in building and maintaining an engaged and lasting customer base. Having long known that brand trust sits firmly at the foundation of every successful business, we attemped to get a better grasp of what encourages trust amongst today’s savvy and exacting consumer is what led to our preliminary research shared earlier this year.
Through this, we identified some of the most influential factors impacting the customer journey today and uncovered important regional insights into purchase behaviors – specifically, the role organic search marketing can play in a brand’s findability and resulting authority. These preliminary results gave us a snapshot into what drives lasting customer engagement but it left us hungry for more detail, so we decided to dig a little deeper.
We followed up by connecting with 4,000 UK and US consumers to explore if and how organic vs paid brand authority has a direct impact on building consumer trust. The findings?
More than half (51%) of respondents in both the UK and the US said they place more trust in a brand that ranks high in natural or organic search results, than those that appear as a sponsored or paid advertisement.
Our preliminary research uncovered that brands featured in the top 5 search results are favored by more than half (53%) of US respondents and nearly half (40%) of UK respondents. This reinforces the hypothesis that when relevant content ranks organically in search results, it has greater potential to resonate as trusted content – in a nutshell, to break through the noise and engage audiences with greater impact.
These results indicate the critical need to ensure that content is featured in top search results – organically. Easier said than done? Not necessarily. Having the right technology and support in place to help evaluate website content, identify obvious issues, provide actionable insights and, ultimately, implement improvements in a speedy manner is the next generation of organic search marketing – and the not-so-secret ingredient of many of the world’s most visible brands.
Having technology in place to help evaluate website content, identify obvious issues, provide actionable insights and, ultimately, implement improvements in a speedy manner is the next generation of organic search marketing – and the not-so-secret ingredient of many of the world’s most visible brands.
Maintaining trust in economically uncertain times
Particularly in times of economic volatility, buyers are thinking more consciously about their purchases, elongating the research phase and extending overall time to purchase. So much so that findings show consumer spending in both the UK and US has decreased over the last few months as news about the economic health of both countries continues to influence and drive consumer action. However, when assessing consumer brand trust, we found that when consumers already have established trust in a brand, 28% of UK and US shoppers say they will stay loyal – through both good and bad times.
In light of this, it’s clear that organic search is a strategic channel in which marketers would be well served to continue – and even level up – investing in, as a means of building and maintaining consumer trust This research demonstrates that organic search helps build brand authority as well as brand trust – the foundation of engagement and loyalty in both the short- and long-term. Keeping in mind that organic search can generate 3x more return than traditional advertising campaigns, investing in organic search as a central pillar of every performance marketing strategy, seems like a no-brainer.
For brands to capture and maintain strong trust amidst continuous market shifts and changing consumer behavior, there must be consistent brand investment and quality interaction with consumers across the core of their brand communication platform—i.e., their website. Our findings show that a fifth of consumers in the UK and the US said they lose trust in a brand if they have a poor website experience.
Specifically, accuracy and relevance of content (33%), easy on-site navigation (32%), and ease of finding products or services (25%) all play major roles in contributing to trust when browsing a brand’s website.
Trust in brands has always mattered, but these findings also prove that organic search visibility drives trust—particularly during economic challenges—and that online experiences greatly contribute to how brands earn and build that trust among customers.
Economic uncertainty is making it less likely for consumers to stray from a brand that continues to quickly and easily fulfill their wants and needs. Developing and presenting website content that empowers consumers with the relevant content they need, when they need it, is critical to garnering attention, earning trust and creating a path to long-term value and sustainable value.
Learn how you can build better brand trust with Botify.
Botify commissioned an independent market research company, Censuswide, to survey an internationally representative sample of 4,001 UK and U.S. respondents, aged 16 and over. The poll was conducted in December 2022. Unless stated otherwise, all figures were drawn from this poll.