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Consumer Trust in Content Marketing is High, But Fragile—Three Fourths of Consumers Trust Informational Content, But Built-In Product Pitches Bring Credibility Way Down, New Kentico Study Finds

Web content and customer experience management provider Kentico Software recently unveiled the results of a new Content Marketing Survey, the latest installment of its ongoing Digital Experience research series.

According to the survey, 74% of the general public trusts content from businesses that aim to educate readers about a particular topic. It is however a fragile trust that businesses must take care in protecting—even signing off an otherwise objective blog post or newsletter with a product pitch will bring the content’s credibility level down by 29%.

Other content marketing offenses that impede customer trust, as reported by survey participants, include presenting information that:

  • Can’t be corroborated with other non-company sources: 46%
  • Doesn’t address other perspectives or viewpoints: 17%
  • Isn’t clear that it’s coming from a particular company: 15%
  • Talks down to the reader: 12%

When it comes to content credibility, longstanding business-to-customer relationships seem to matter little: 85% of those surveyed aren’t any more trusting of educational content simply because they buy from the company that posts the content. The majority of those surveyed (60%) also believe a company’s size has no bearing on the credibility of its content marketing, though 29% do feel educational content from smaller businesses is more trustworthy than that of larger businesses.


Of those surveyed, 49% will generally trust what a company says about a particular topic but will also corroborate with other sources. While such findings demonstrate the importance of posting content that can be corroborated, it also suggests this requirement may be met by including genuine third-party sources within the content: 57% claim educational information from a company is more credible when it contains verification from named sources, such as parents or doctors.

Shareability and Discoverability

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the shareability of content is also key with 69% stating a company’s educational information is more credible when discovered through a friend or family member, and 94% claiming they have shared educational information from a company with someone. Women tend to trust content shared though friends and family members 20% more than men.

When asked how often a company’s educational content comes up while searching for topics related to a particular problem or need, 27% report it happens often, 57% sometimes, 11% hardly ever, and 5% never.

Age and Gender Breakdowns

Women generally appear 11% more trusting of content marketing than men. 60+ year-olds are 17% more trusting than 18-29 year-olds, but the same 60+ age bracket is 14% less trusting of content passed through friends and family members than the 18-29 age group.

"Our latest Digital Experience survey goes to show what professional marketers hopefully already know," said Kentico CEO and founder Petr Palas, in a news release. "While customers will for the most part give a company’s content marketing the benefit of the doubt, businesses must take care in not breaking that trust with information that can’t be corroborated or strays from the truth altogether. In this way, content marketing and transparent marketing must go together at all times."

The Kentico Content Marketing Survey is the sixth installment of an ongoing Kentico Digital Experience Research series that was kicked off last year with the Kentico Customer Experience Survey and continued with the Kentico Mobile Experience Survey, Email Marketing Survey, Website Marketing Survey, and Digital Brand Interactions Survey. 325 US residents 18 years old and over participated in the Kentico Content Marketing Survey, conducted online during the month of May, 2014.

Edited by Richard Carufel

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