Fake News

by Pete Dillon, Marketing Communications Specialist

From the moment he presented himself as a candidate, US President Donald Trump has shouted about ‘Fake News’.  Does it exist and what drives it?

2019 is the first year where digital marketing spend will outpace other traditional channels in broadcast and print. We know the value of digital marketing, but it is far more likely fake news can be spread very easily in the realm of social and digital media than ever before. Businesses focusing on digital communications can now compete with those who spend and spend big in the old world.

Where do you spend, how much and with so many options, where are the best places to invest your marketing and communications budget? Public Relations is as vital and valuable as ever, even though fake news is eroding our trust in the media. We have recently witnessed some of Australia’s biggest spending brands disassociate themselves with Alan Jones’ radio program and Macquarie Media because of his comments about NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Driven by a number of groups on Twitter and Facebook, the exodus of these brands has caused the industry to sit up and take notice.  Where once shock jocks could get away with saying what they pleased, they are now being called to account and challenged on fake news by people power.

A report from the University of Canberra’s News and Media Research Centre outlines some alarming statistics about our trust in the news sector. 62% of Australian news consumers say they are worried about what is real or fake on the internet, which is much higher than the global average (55%). Furthermore, consumers say news articles are the most impactful in shaping their buying decisions.

The proportion of Australians avoiding news has increased from 57% in 2017 to 62% in 2019, and 28% say they are worn out by the volume of news. 88% of those who are worn out by news, also avoid it. Many of us have turned to fact checking so we can filter out what is fake and what is real.

The proliferation of digital news organisations has meant fake news travels faster and has better reach than earned media.  This means digital news is driving awareness and purchasing behaviour of consumers while, at the same time, creating further distrust in the digital channels.  A recent study from US based marketing agency BMV suggests half of consumers say fake news is mostly likely to appear first and spread from social media sites.

Is it all swings and roundabouts?  Is social media spreading fake news or is it calling to account those whose actions don’t pass the public perception of ethical behaviour.  It does both, which is why the value of earned media remains a key driver.

Earned media remains the most trusted place for news and cultivating earned opportunities and business should continue to use agencies like Focused Marketing to support them in gaining valuable column inches and on- air time. While considerable resources are spent engaging influencers and digitally savvy consumers, nothing beats seeing your message in print or on radio and TV news.

We can help you understand the news worthiness of your content and curate earned media opportunities. While fake news will never be a thing of the past, it shouldn’t impact your future and the trust you seek from your customers.

fmadmin, 2019 Focused Marketing