How Does TV Advertising Build Trust?

When you need advice on something important, who do you seek out? It’s probably someone you know well, with a proven track-record of quality advice in the past. Someone you trust. 

With purchase decisions, however, people don’t only rely on others for advice. We’re also influenced by advertising. And the level of trust given to an ad depends on the channel through which it’s shared. 

Traditional channels are far more trusted than digital. And even among traditional channels, TV exceeds options like radio and out-of-home for perceived trustworthiness. In one study, 80% of consumers reported trusting TV ads to inform purchase decisions. That’s compared to 61% for search engine ads and a mere 25% for online pop-ups. 

But why? What makes TV a credible source of information, especially with advertising?



TV advertising is expensive. 

First, everyone knows advertising on TV can be pricey. Each spring, the press covers the stunning costs of commercials during The Big Game. And campaigns at all times of the year can easily require multi-million-dollar budgets. To get on TV in the first place, brands must be successful enough to afford the airtime. The high entry cost to the channel is seen as a deterrent to lower-quality brands. Plus, associating with regular TV advertisers (often the largest, most-well-known businesses in a category) lends smaller advertisers extra legitimacy. 


It’s a regulated channel. 

A brand can't simply launch TV and say whatever it wants. TV advertisers must abide by networks standards and substantiate claims. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has numerous rules about what can be said on-air and to whom. Knowing someone is fact-checking the advertisers, consumers are more likely to believe what brands say on TV than on less regulated channels. 


Production takes time and resources.  

To produce high-quality creative that makes the most of audio, visuals, and TV’s ability to facilitate emotional storytelling requires a broad team of creatives, strategists, and project managers. And all the effort, planning and resources that goes into TV behind-the-scenes adds to a brand’s credibility. Because why would a brand invest so much in something that’s not worthwhile? 


TV has incomparable reach and visibility. 

TV, especially linear TV, has reach beyond what any other channel can provide. Which gives it a built-in level of social legitimacy. Knowing your friends and neighbors have all seen the same commercials reinforces the idea that the commercial represents a legitimate brand.  


Why does trust matter? 

Trusted brands grow more over time. Brand trust correlates with brand preference across all categories. Just like you’d seek out a person you trust for advice, we seek out brands we trust when making buying decisions. Plus, marketers rely on communicating across channels that will support their message rather than hinder it. 


Learn more about building brand trust. 

Read SVP Brand Strategy Catrina McAuliffe’s thoughts on how brands can use TV to build relationships with consumers.