Online Trust – LinkedIn Vs Facebook vs Twitter vs Instagram


Trust is a rare and valuable commodity that requires years to build but only a moment to destroy. And it’s especially fragile online, where scams, spam, fake news, trolls, click bait, malware, and offensive memes are degrading the digital quality of life. The challenge this presents, both for brands trying to engage with their customers and the social platforms linking them together, is severe.

Anxiety about trust online has soared in recent months, manifesting itself in a laser focus among marketers on “brand-safe environments.” Brands don’t want to be associated with platforms that deal in bogus news stories or graphic videos. Facebook and Google have drawn ire for their role in enabling the spread of lies, and are now moving to implement serious measures to improve the curation of content on their platforms. And consumers are increasingly worried about their safety online — not just in terms of potentially upsetting content, but as it pertains to their personal data as well. Data breaches can affect a social platform’s credibility with its users across the board, a fact brands must keep in mind as they seek the best way to reach consumers.

Compounding these issues is brands’ loss of control over where their messages appear and a lack of visibility into their performance. In March, more than 250 brands suspended their ad budgets with YouTube after campaigns were found to be running alongside extremist content. And Facebook has admitted to numerous ad-measurement errors in the past year, compounding its reputation for lacking transparency. This has raised the stakes for brands, who are more determined than ever to make sure they are leveraging credible, effective platforms to promote themselves and their products and services.

Even in these uncertain times, the internet still presents an invaluable opportunity to brands. The scale of audiences, the precision of targeting, the flexibility of ad formats, and relatively lower costs available online make digital advertising compelling. And though brands should beware of the pitfalls of online advertising, they needn’t recoil from this uncertain climate. Instead, they can strive to navigate through the web of digital trust and leverage the strength of the internet.

Taking stock of the trustworthiness of a digital advertising environment is more important than ever. Latching onto a trusted platform can yield important benefits in terms of positive brand associations and campaign effectiveness. Dedicating ad dollars to trusted environments helps brands because:

Trust is a key strategic asset of a company and a vital part of brand personality. Campaigns that are viewed as more credible are more likely to receive positive engagement from audiences, and brands that are deemed to be trustworthy will have loyal, repeat customers who are happier to publicly champion that brand.
Companies can enhance brand equity by advertising in a trusted environment. Online, these environments are the digital platforms on which consumers spend most of their time. For the scope of this report, we have included Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn — the eminent social and content platforms of the day.
Trusted platforms are more likely to provide a quality audience for advertisers. Users are more likely to be authentic and to feel more comfortable engaging with platforms that they trust. This has benefits in two correlated ways: It amplifies the ability to accurately target audiences based on their audiences, and if a platform already has an engaged user base, then campaigns are more likely to resonate there. This report analyzes how people perceive platforms on measures of trust and engagement with an eye to help brands make more informed decisions about how to invest their ad dollars, and does this by asking the people who matter most in this debate — internet users themselves.
The Five Pillars Of Digital Trust

Digital trust is the confidence people have in a platform to protect and promote their interests. When users feel the platforms are prioritizing their interests, they’re likely to engage more authentically and to perceive that environment as trustworthy. Trust, in our view, is a function of five factors, which our survey questions assessed for each platform.

We surveyed over 1,700 consumers to gauge how perceptions of digital trustworthiness differ between six of the largest social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Our model weighs each of the five pillars of digital trust equally and assigns points to the platforms that garnered the most votes. The five pillars in BI Intelligence’s model of digital trust are:

Security. Users share a ton on information on social networks, and platforms have an obligation to make sure their users’ data is well-protected. If users feel their privacy and data is safe, they’re likely to share more information about themselves and act more genuinely on a platform.

Q: Which platform do you have most confidence in to protect your privacy and data?

Legitimacy. Authenticity reinforces a user’s conviction in a platform as a place to discover and share high-quality content. In the era of fake news, brands should be wary of platforms in which their messaging can be diluted or their brand safety jeopardized.

Q: Which is least likely to show you deceptive content like fake news, scams or click bait?

Community. Another important element of trust is that users feel meaningful connections with fellow users on the platform and that they feel secure joining and engaging with an online community. A positive sense of community can encourage more sharing and spark conversation between users and brands.

Q: Which of these platforms do you feel safest participating in or posting on?

User experience. A positive ad experience speaks to a platform’s ability to keep users receptive to brand messages without unsustainably degrading their experience. Poor advertising, whether in terms of over-exposure, irrelevancy, or irksome content, can negatively affect brand perception.

Q: Which platform has the most annoying ads?

Shareability. Sharing content on a platform means that a user is discovering high-quality content and wants to actively engage with other users. Environments that are well-suited for sharing are more likely to also earn greater trust, and brands can leverage shareability to help their messages spread organically.

Q: On which platform are you most likely to share content you come across?
The Digital Trust Rankings

Each of the social media platforms possesses unique characteristics that are valued differently by users and advertisers. Each platform offers a unique environment, and brands can leverage the strengths of each one to maximize the success of ad campaigns, convey brand messaging, or reach users in distinctive manners.

It’s important to highlight that users of each platform exhibit different behavior profiles, with certain platforms being better suited for certain types of interactions. For example, consumers are least likely to share publisher content on Snapchat. That makes sense because it’s a platform designed for user-generated content, not sharing article links and other posts.

In order to best visualize digital trust, we plotted it against average minutes per visitor per month, which is a proxy for engagement. The size of the bubbles correlates to the global monthly active user base of each platform. These two variables put trust in context with a platform’s reach and engagement, two important factors for branding and advertising.

  • LinkedIn is an outlier when it comes to digital trust. LinkedIn ranked highest for digital trust in the survey, but in terms of engagement, it ranks at the bottom. This could be a reason why consumers perceive LinkedIn to be trustworthy — they are selective and mindful about engagement when interacting within their professional network.
  • Facebook ranks high in digital trust and user engagement. While this may be unsurprising given that the social giant reaches nearly over half of all internet users worldwide, it also highlights that Facebook is still not number one when it comes to digital trust.
  • YouTube ranks second in terms of user engagement, but dead last when it comes to digital trust. YouTube’s abusive comments section is unpatrolled by Google, which leads some users not to participate on the platform, a negative for digital trust. This may be worth considering when contemplating Video Ads and deciding between YouTube and Facebook.
  • Snapchat and Instagram are nearly identical when it comes to trust and engagement, which could be a reflection of the increasingly similar features on each platform. Instagram’s monthly active user base, however, is significantly larger than that of Snapchat. As a result, some brands may favor Snapchat’s broader reach over Snapchat’s popularity among younger users.
  • Twitter ranks as the third most trusted platform, behind LinkedIn and Facebook. While Twitter users tend to be less engaged overall than other platforms, the social network has a dedicated subset of power users.

When we isolate the quadrant for millennials, the platform bubbles shift in a few surprising ways.

  • Snapchat edges ahead of Instagram on both trust and engagement, but the two platforms are still very close. Millennial consumers show a clearer preference for Snapchat over Instagram than our total survey respondents. Millennials make up 63% of Snapchat’s daily active user base, while teens make up 22%.
  • Millennials spend more time on YouTube but are even less trusting of the platform. This is surprising because a large portion of millennials came of age along with YouTube. This could also mean that millennials pay closer attention to YouTube’s comments section, which is widely criticized as a hotbed for negativity and bullying commentary.

LinkedIn Is The Dark Horse In Social Advertising

LinkedIn is undisputedly the most trusted platform, according to BI Intelligence Digital Trust survey respondents. This may not be surprising because LinkedIn serves a slightly different purpose than other platforms in this study. Whereas Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are destinations for leisurely fraternizing and media consumption, LinkedIn’s purpose is more singular — it’s a business- and employment-oriented social platform for building a professional brand, network, and career.

And unlike the other platforms in this survey, LinkedIn’s business model isn’t reliant on ads. It also generates revenue from subscriptions and, more substantially, from recruiting services. When it last reported earnings as a public company in Q3 2016, 65% of its revenue was generated from “talent solutions” and 17% from premium subscriptions, while just 18% of revenue came from “marketing solutions” — or advertising, in other words. However, if you’re looking to break into LinkedIn Advertising, it’s worth being aware of the advertising best practices on the platform as it is unique from the other social platforms.

Because it has a diversified revenue stream, LinkedIn can afford to not make advertising a focal point of its site. Users are consequently less likely to be bombarded with ads, especially compared with other social platforms that are wholly reliant on ads for revenue. And since LinkedIn is meant to augment its users’ careers, it more naturally fosters high-quality content, as people work to project a professional image. This dynamic causes people to treat content and interactions on LinkedIn as more authentic, because they come from people they’re connected to or follow within their industry — engendering a higher degree of digital trust.

LinkedIn is judged to have least the least annoying ads out of the platforms included in our survey. Only 1% of people chose LinkedIn as the worst offender when it came bad ads, which is a positive sign for brands. Obviously, lingering memories of a bad ad hamper a company’s image in the mind of consumers. This is a danger that brands are less susceptible to on LinkedIn because the platform delivers ads that don’t rub people in the wrong way. Again, the positive perception of LinkedIn’s advertising environment is certainly linked to the fact that the company doesn’t bank entirely on ad revenue, so it doesn’t need to weigh down its platform with ads. Notwithstanding, this data does point to LinkedIn’s efficacy with sponsored content, which has become something of a specialty ad format for the company, accounting for close to two-thirds of its Marketing Solutions revenue in Q3 2016. Sponsored content is widely regarded to be less intrusive, and therefore less annoying, than other ad formats like pop-ups, interstitials, and autoplay video ads.

Meanwhile, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that LinkedIn has the lowest incidence of deceptive content, like fake news, scams, and click bait. Content on LinkedIn is published by career-minded individuals and organizations seeking to promote their professional interests. It’s therefore not surprising that LinkedIn’s content is seen to be of higher quality than that on other platforms, but it nevertheless bodes well for advertisers and publishers on the platform. Not only are their campaigns more likely to be viewed as forthright and honest, making them more persuasive, but they will also run in a trusted environment alongside other reputable content, further benefiting brand perception. At the same time, this also creates the right conditions for thought leadership, along with branded and sponsored content, to flourish.

Consumers also feel the safest posting content on LinkedIn by a wide margin. Again, this comes back to LinkedIn users’ desire to convey a polished, professional persona on the platform. They’re mindful of how they post and interact there. Absent are the pressures to keep up appearances on Facebook and Instagram, and the negative comments from abusive trolls on Twitter and YouTube, the latter of which ranks last for consumer safety.

Furthermore, the platform blows its rivals out of the water when it comes to consumer privacy and data protection. Over half (55%) of survey respondents indicated they were most confident in LinkedIn to protect their privacy and data. Facebook is the next most trusted platform, but it’s a distant second at only 15%. LinkedIn’s supremacy here is significant because it suggests that users are most willing to share their personal information on the platform. And indeed, the quality of LinkedIn’s user data is one of its main competitive advantages. The platform has insights into people’s professional networks, career interests, household incomes, and more. This all immensely valuable information — especially to marketers — and is likely a large part of why Microsoft paid $26.2 billion to buy LinkedIn in 2016. Also impressive is the resilience of people’s trust in LinkedIn’s ability to protect their privacy and information even after the platform had suffered from a data breach. In May 2016, LinkedIn revealed that over 100 million accounts (from its more than 400 million users at the time) had been compromised, but, one year later, the platform still has users’ trust.

And LinkedIn’s highly valuable user base should be a further enticement for brands to invest in the platform. Users of LinkedIn tend to be more highly educated and earn higher incomes than other social platforms. Over half of online adults with a college degree are LinkedIn members, as are 45% of online adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, according to the Pew Research Center. This, along with with the trust people place on the platform means brands should leverage LinkedIn to help build awareness and engage with their market. This not only means creating ad campaigns catered for LinkedIn but also communicating organically by sharing content that users want to engage with.

While campaigns on larger platforms like Facebook and YouTube may reach more consumers, and although ad units may be more expensive on a cost-per-click basis, LinkedIn’s high degree of trust among consumers is not to be overlooked. The professional nature of LinkedIn makes it an effective channel for business-to-business (B2B) marketing, while other platforms are vying for business-to-consumer ad dollars.

The Most Popular Platforms Have The Most Annoying Ads

Facebook and YouTube are unquestionably two of the world’s most popular digital platforms, and they’re certainly much bigger than LinkedIn. Whereas LinkedIn just passed 500 million active accounts in April 2017 — and is estimated to have about half as many monthly active users — Facebook is nearing in on 2 billion monthly active users, and YouTube has had over a billion monthly users since 2013. And with such large audiences up for grabs, it’s no wonder that advertisers are pouring funds into both businesses: Facebook generated close to $27 billion in advertising revenue in 2016, and though Google doesn’t break out YouTube sales, it credits the video platform as a crucial driver of its advertising revenue, which topped $79 billion last year.

Unfortunately for brands, the most popular platforms, while offering the widest reach, are also seen by consumers as having the most annoying ads. In a virtual tie, ads on Facebook and YouTube were deemed the most irksome by 45% and 43% of the survey’s 1,740 respondents, respectively. Twitter garnered just 6% of the vote, followed by Instagram and Snapchat at 3%, and LinkedIn at 1%. The sharp discrepancy in how consumers perceive ads across these platforms is not surprising. Of the platforms included in the survey, Facebook and YouTube are the top two destinations of digital time spent in the US, according to comScore. People may be more sensitive to ads on Facebook and YouTube simply because they spend more time, and therefore see more ads, on these sites. And because Facebook and YouTube are relatively mature social platforms, they’re further along in growing their ad load — or the frequency with which they serve ads.

Interestingly, millennials and baby boomers are divided on which platform serves the worst ads. Older survey respondents like YouTube ads more than Facebook ads, and vice versa for younger respondents. The familiarity that older age groups have with traditional TV may explain their tolerance for YouTube ads, which consist of pre- and mid-roll ads that resemble ad interruptions in linear programming. Younger people, on the other hand, are less tolerant of TV-like advertising, because they’re not as familiar with TV. And the reason why they might have less of a distaste for Facebook ads may be because the platform doesn’t serve pre-roll ads, and doesn’t delay the instant gratification of watching a video. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said multiple times that he’s reluctant to introduce pre-roll ads because he views them as too detrimental to the user experience.

These results point to a pressing need to improve advertising on both Facebook and YouTube. For its part, Facebook has said it’s curbing growth in its ad load — or the ratio of ads to organic posts. And YouTube scrapped its unskippable 30-second ad format in February. However, the onus to improve the ad experience shouldn’t be entirely on platforms. Advertisers also need to create quality ads that provide pleasurable viewing experiences. The reality is that the campaigns they’re running on the most popular platforms — in which they’re investing the most money, to reach the widest audiences — aren’t resonating with audiences in the right way.

YouTube Consistently Scores Higher For Older Age Groups

The previous section addressed how positive perception of YouTube ads increased with age, but the reality is that YouTube’s outperforms for older age groups in other areas beyond advertising. This is slightly surprising given YouTube’s tendency to tout itself as premiere destination to reach millennials and members of Gen Z. Our survey paints a slightly different picture: Older survey respondents consistently regarded YouTube more favorably than their younger peers did.

For all the attention that millennials receive, baby boomers are still an attractive target market. They’re easily the wealthiest demographic cohort in the US, representing about 50% of the country’s net household wealth, and will continue to be so until at least 2030, per Deloitte. Numbering close to 75 million people, they’re also the second-largest generation in the US, just slightly behind millennials, according to US Census Bureau estimates. For brands, the way this wealthy and populous demographic perceives YouTube can provide insight into how the platform can be better leveraged — and who they should be targeting.

Boomers are more inclined to believe that YouTube won’t serve them deceptive videos, while millennials are less sure about avoiding such content on the site. This means brands can reach older age groups on YouTube with more confidence that their campaigns will be viewed as trustworthy and honest, so they needn’t worry as much about brand safety — or the risk they’ll be associated with content that detracts from their image. And considering baby boomers find YouTube ads less annoying than millennials do, these campaigns should be especially well received.


Older age groups are also more willing to share content on YouTube than younger folks. This indicates that, on YouTube, brands are more likely to reach an older audience that’s engaged and open to sharing content, creating an opening for uploaded videos to spread organically. There are countless examples of such successful commercials on YouTube — including Volvo’s “Epic Split” featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, viewed more than 86 million times; Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” with nearly 68 million views; and the legendary Dollar Shave Club commercial that introduced the brand to millions worldwide and eventually led to the company’s $1 billion acquisition by Unilever.

And although YouTube ranked last for consumer safety in our survey, boomers haven’t abandoned the video site. In fact, the affinity older age groups have for YouTube makes them far more likely than younger generations to actively participate and engage with content on the platform. By targeting this mature demographic on YouTube, companies may elicit more responses to their videos and campaigns, generating conversations around their brands. This insight seems especially pertinent to brands that are targeting an aging population with a high income. Health care and wealth management come immediately to mind.

Facebook Is Millennials’ Favorite Place For Sharing

Unlike YouTube, Facebook scores more highly with millennials. While it may have lost some of its cool factor at the expense of newer networks like Instagram and Snapchat, it’s still the No. 1 destination for sharing content among users between the ages of 18 and 34. Over half of millennials say Facebook is where they’re most likely to share content, according to our survey, which is head and shoulders above any other social platform. The statistic is especially powerful because the fraction of users who fall into the demographic is relatively consistent across social platforms — except for Snapchat, which skews markedly younger — indicating that millennials really do prefer to share on Facebook.

Millennials are also more likely to share on Facebook than Gen Xers and baby boomers — knocking down a common argument that Facebook is for “old people.” Younger users are typically the driving force behind a social platform’s popularity in the early stages, and incumbents can easily lose their attention when a new one pops up. As a result, mature platforms must fight to keep hold of this demographic, which is highly coveted by marketers. Facebook winning this battle speaks to its ability to keep millennials engaged even as they are wooed by younger platforms like Snapchat.

While Snapchat is extremely popular with teenagers and millennials, it’s for ephemeral messaging between close friends, not for sharing other content found online. As mentioned earlier, a whopping 63% of Snapchat’s daily active users fall into the millennial demographic, and another 22% are 13 to 17 years old — but they’re not sending posts or links to articles. Snapchat users create their own content, or “Stories,” meaning the platform is populated with content that’s largely user-generated. Brands should utilize Snapchat for the authentic interactions of its users, but Facebook is better suited for casual sharing at scale.

For brands and advertisers, getting people to share content can help spread their marketing message more organically than ad targeting. This underlines the importance of native advertising, and the potential in targeting millennials on Facebook with relevant content they are willing to share. Devoting more native ad spend to Facebook can also help make ads on the platform less annoying while encouraging greater engagement.

Moreover, Facebook’s sheer size means brand messaging has the potential to go viral. While this could prompt some brands to do some serious damage control if the message is ill-conceived, positive content that is shared and trending on Facebook can benefit them tremendously. Facebook’s massive scale is second to none, and if brands can successfully make a message go viral, they may enjoy lower advertising costs, mainstream media exposure, and faster lead generation.

People Don’t Trust YouTube, But They Can’t Look Away

YouTube remains go-to platform for brands to share video. But to be effective, such content has to be top-notch and delivered in a brand-safe environment. Therein lies a problem: YouTube has been under public scrutiny after large global brands halted campaigns on the platform because ads were showing up next to offensive content. The boycott prompted YouTube to roll out improved tools for advertisers to help them better control where their ads land and maximize brand protection. But YouTube’s lack of policing hasn’t just alienated brands, it has put a dent in consumer trust as well.

YouTube ranked dead last for consumer safety in the survey. Only 4% of survey respondents feel that YouTube is the safest platform to participate in or post on, making it by far the least chosen option. Even Twitter, with its sluggish user growth, abusive trolling accounts, and generally lukewarm outlook from analysts, is viewed as safer.

While brands can’t control the nature of trolls or the prevalence of offensive content, they can decide to dedicate ad dollars to environments where users feel safe engaging and sharing content. This is especially true if a brand wants its target audience to actively participate by commenting on a post, which can increase brand affinity and loyalty, encourage positive interactions with customers, and even spark a viral conversation.

Even though YouTube has some of the most annoying ads in the industry, and people are unlikely to post comments, it’s still a top destination for consumers to watch videos. Just don’t ask users to do much more than leisurely viewing, since that’s what YouTube is for. The platform isn’t well suited for sharing, which makes sense — it’s a video platform, not a social network. Users are more likely to copy and paste a link from YouTube and share it on Facebook. In fact, social platforms play a tremendous role in helping YouTube’s massively popular videos go viral

This means that on YouTube, you’re buying reach, not clicks. Brands looking to drive conversions to sales through clicks, such as e-commerce companies, are likely to do better where users are more inclined to post and share content, like on Facebook. YouTube, with its wide yet passive audience, is best positioned for brand advertisers that want to maximize eyeballs.

Snapchat Users Trust It With Their Data And Privacy 

Another noteworthy insight from our survey is the level of trust that Snapchat users have in the platform to safeguard their personal information. However, there are also indications that Snapchat may suffer from a perception problem among those who don’t use the app — these people have much less confidence that the platform can protect its users’ personal information, though they still view Snapchat more favorably in this regard than Instagram, which is arguably its most direct competitor in social media.

When looking at overall survey respondents, Snapchat was ranked third, tied with Twitter, in terms of consumers’ confidence in the platform to protect their personal data, with 9% of selecting it as the top platform for this pillar of trust. This data is illustrated in the chart provided in our initial section on LinkedIn. However, a different and much more interesting insight emerges when we only look at responses from people who actually use the platform. Snapchat jumps up to second place, with 20% of its users in our panel selecting it as the best place to protect their privacy.

In other words, Snapchat users are especially confident in that platform’s ability to safeguard their personal information. In fact, they’re more confident that Snapchat will protect their data than Facebook users are in Facebook’s ability to do the same — one out of five people who use Snapchat picked the app as the top social platform for protecting user data and privacy; for Facebook, this ratio was closer to one in six. LinkedIn is the only social network that did better than Snapchat in the survey.

The survey results have positive and negative implications for Snapchat. The good is that the trust that Snapchatters have in the company to protect user data is a reflection of how loyal these users are to the platform. Privacy concerns, even if they’re just issues of perception, can be highly consequential. People may limit their activity or stop using an app if they fear their information will be mishandled, putting the platform at risk of losing ad dollars. Maintaining the trust of an audience is important for platforms to sustain growth, retention, and engagement, and Snapchat appears to be doing well on this front.

Furthermore, a sense of protected privacy can encourage users to interact more authentically with a platform. When users feel at ease and are confident their privacy is secure, they’re more likely to post, share, or send content that is genuine. Snapchat’s environment encourages users to be more self-expressive and less self-conscious. Comparatively, Facebook users may feel the need to carefully curate posts that could be viewed by casual acquaintances, or friends of friends. It’s even more helpful that Snapchat has some of the least annoying ads in the business, whereas Facebook’s ads are the most bothersome.

The downside is that Snapchat could struggle to grow users if people who don’t use the app think it’s ill-prepared to protect user data. Snapchat’s user growth has been a chief concern to brands and investors who worry about the potential of the platform’s advertising reach. Since after Instagram launched its own Stories format in August 2016, Snapchat’s quarter-on-quarter growth rate was 17%, and then slowed to 7%, and 3.2% in subsequent quarters. In Q1 2017, its first quarter as a public company, Snapchat averaged 166 million daily active users, up 5% from the 158 million users it averaged the quarter before that.

Twitter’s Power Users Are A Golden Opportunity

Brands should target a platform’s most active users, and just as Snapchat is wildly popular with both teens and millennials, Twitter also has its own subset of avid users. Celebrities, journalists, influencers, and other trendsetters are some of the most engaging personalities on Twitter, and the amount of content they share and post on the platform makes them power users. Some brands on Twitter also run high-profile accounts that reach millions of followers, and tweets can have a high impact on brand perception. This means that developing content users want to share and retweet can go a long way in establishing strong connections with Twitter’s most engaged users and other potential customers. Power users are more likely to get consumers to share content and are more trusted than intermittent sharers.

Twitter’s power users are helping to push the platform’s daily users higher, even as monthly active user (MAU) growth underwhelms. Twitter first started reporting daily active user (DAU) growth in Q3 2016, and the metric has been steadily accelerating since last year. In Q1 2017, DAU grew 14% year-over-year (YoY) versus 3% in Q1 2016. This will be an important metric to track — it is driven by the company’s most active users, making it the closest proxy for measuring user engagement.

While consumers are still most likely to share content they come across on Facebook, Twitter users should not be discounted as a disengaged audience. When asked which platform they’re most like to share content on, 17% of BI Intelligence’s Digital Trust survey respondents chose Twitter. However, when isolating for just users of Twitter, one-in-four prefer sharing content there, an eight-percentage-point increase. When doing the same exercise with users of other platforms, there’s also an increase, but not as large as seen for Twitter users. This suggests that Twitter’s users are a bit more loyal than users of other platforms when it comes to sharing content.

To better leverage Twitter’s engaged base, brands need to develop more appealing content — like live video — that its users will be excited to share. Twitter is adding a ton more video content over the next few months, which could mean the platform is transforming from a place to share content and tweets into a media consumption engine. As a result, brands should reevaluate how they’re targeting and interacting with Twitter’s power users. For brands and advertisers, getting people to share content can help spread their marketing message more organically than ad targeting.


  • Consumers and brands alike are increasingly focused on the trustworthiness and safety of digital platforms.
  •  To measure digital trust, BI Intelligence surveyed more than 1,700 consumers about their perceptions of six major digital properties.
  • The survey measured sentiment in five areas — security, legitimacy, community, user experience, and shareability.
  • LinkedIn was the most-trusted digital platform in our survey, followed by Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • Digital Trust plays an essential role in user experience and therefore should also be playing an important role in choosing what platforms to use in your strategy. However, it’s also important to consider other factors like whether a seeker or engagement channel is best suited for your needs.

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