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Online Search Becomes Most-Trusted Media Source

Nearly two-thirds of internet users trust search engines the most for info

January 29, 2015

As if traditional media needed more bad news: November 2014 polling by Edelman found that online search engines had surpassed traditional media to become the most-trusted media source globally. The firm’s 2015 report revealed that 64% of internet users worldwide trusted online search engines the most (vs. 63% the prior year) for information. Meanwhile, traditional media saw its response rate fall from 65% to 62% year over year.

Sources that Internet Users Worldwide Trust for News and Information, Nov 2014 (% of respondents)

Hybrid media—which blends traditional and digital formats—sat in third place, holding tight at 53% of respondents. While social media and owned media rounded out the list, both saw decent gains. Nearly half of respondents trusted social media for news and information, compared with 45% the prior year, and the response rate for owned media rose from 44% to 47%.

Source that Internet Users Worldwide Turn to First for Business Information, Nov 2014 (% of respondents)

Search engines remained the most popular source that internet users turned to first for business information, cited by 31%, up from 29% the prior year. Just over one-fifth looked to newspapers first, down 4 percentage points, and TVs sat tight, with 22% of internet users choosing these as their first source of business info.

eMarketer expects US search ad spending to increase 12.2% in 2015, totaling $25.66 billion. Growth will be steady over the next few years, fueled by rising mobile and local search ad outlays. Desktop search spending will decline annually through 2018, while mobile search will increase by $12.84 billion during that time period.

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