It’s official. If you’re a blogger, you’re the third most trusted source of information to consumers, behind only friends and family. But brands are only slightly less trusted than politicians, revealed a recent survey.

The findings were found by an independent survey of over 2,000 UK consumers by affiliate network affilinet. In fourth place behind bloggers were social media contacts, but celebrities, journalists and religious leaders are all trusted over brands.

While the news that the opinions of friends and family are trusted most by consumers was to be expected, seeing brands fall so low in the list highlights the surprisingly low levels of trust that consumers have with brands.

Affilinet Trust Index

The final rankings of the UK’s most trusted information sources are:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Bloggers
  4. Social Media Contacts
  5. Colleagues
  6. Journalists
  7. Religious Leaders
  8. Celebrities
  9. Brands
  10. Politicians

Why Are Bloggers So Highly Trusted?

The most important factors instilling consumer trust in bloggers were fair and balanced reviews (55%) and content authenticity (53%). The survey also revealed that when visiting a blogger’s site, tips, hints and how-to guides are what consumers are particularly looking for (52%), as well as content on a particular area or niche. The findings highlight the ever-increasing crucial need for affiliates to provide quality content relevant to their site visitors.

“The fact that consumers look to bloggers to provide them with information about areas of specific interest, goes right to the heart of the evolution of digital marketing”, commented affilinet managing director Helen Southgate.

“The question for bloggers is now how they go about building on this trust, maintain editorial integrity, and at the same time, monetise their site.”

Perhaps even more surprising than brands being placed so low in the consumer trust index is the revelation that 16% of consumers surveyed indicated that they would be willing to pay for blogger content.

“I’m amazed the figure is that high”, said Southgate. “But when you consider that consumers are often turning to bloggers to get information about a niche area of interest, then perhaps because that content is particularly valuable to a loyal following, we might see paywalls springing up in a few unexpected places in the coming years.”

Bloggers Crucial Role in the Path to Purchase

Research conducted last year found that 84% of people have made purchases after reading about products on a blog, with one in four buying something on a monthly basis after reading about it on a blog.

Almost half (46%) of the 1,000 respondents surveyed said they read blogs for initial product investigation. A further 43% were looking for inspiration, 33% to narrow down their options and 30% to confirm their choice.

There’s no doubt that the evidence from both surveys show how influential bloggers are on consumer buying decisions. But while all this is good news for affiliates with high-quality blogs, the findings show that brands still have a lot of work to do to when it comes to gaining consumer trust and loyalty.

Have you read our article on the affiliate disclosure policy? The disclosure is a great way to build trust with your site visitors.