Click to view the Millennials Survey. Summary is below.

The McCarthy Group, a leading strategy and marketing communications consultancy, conducted a survey in February 2014 in order to assess the degree to which millennials considered different sources of information “trustworthy.” Respondents to the survey were between 18 and 34 years old The research was conducted using Google Consumer Surveys tool.


Millennials are digitally connected, moderately interested in information about current events and much more trusting of information sources that are not actively focused on manipulating selling messages. Companies seeking to expose millennials to key brand messages should seek to integrate the message into information sources that millennials trust and should respect that this cohort holds advertising and sales in relatively low regard.

Interest in Current Events

When asked if they were “the kind of person who likes to be informed about current events,” 57% of the respondents said ‘yes’ and 42% said ‘no.’ Interest in current events increased markedly with age: 72% of the respondents aged 25 to 34 replied ‘yes,’ compared to 47% of the respondents aged 18 to 24

Source of Information on Current Events

When asked how they stayed informed about current events, respondents indicated that they relied most on digital sources of information. Websites were cited by 35.3% of the respondents. The importance of websites as an information source differed among older and younger millennials: 44% of respondents aged 25 to34 cited websites, compared to 27% of respondents aged 18 to 24. Twitter, Facebook and other social media were cited by 22% of the respondents. TV was the most frequently cited traditional media outlet at 20%, followed by magazines and newspapers at 9%. Millennials appear not to rely on their social network to stay informed about current events: 9% of respondents cited “my friends.”

Sentiment toward Advertising

When asked, “Are you the kind of person who likes advertising?,” 84% of the respondents replied ‘No.’

Importance of Internet Access

In order to assess the intensity of their affinity to their digital toolkit, respondents were asked which of access to the internet, their best friend or their mobile phone was most important to them. 47% of the respondents said that access to the Internet was one thing they could not live without, compared to the 35% that cited their best friend and the 15% that cited their mobile phone.

Relative Trustworthiness of Information Sources

Respondents were presented with a series of six questions that asked them to rank different information sources in terms of trustworthiness on a five-step scale. A ranking of 1 indicated that they found the source less trustworthy and a ranking of 5 indicated that they found the source more trustworthy.

When asked how trustworthy they considered news reports, 40% of the respondents answered 3, the middle of the scale. The average for all respondents was 2.8. There was a significant divergence in responses across age: 51% of respondents aged 25 to 34 ranked news reports at 3, compared to 32% for respondents aged 18 to 24.

Company websites were considered as trustworthy as new reports by millennials. The overall ranking for company websites was 2.7, with 43% ranking the source at 3. There was a similar divergence in rankings according to age as with news reports. Respondents were consistent in rating advertising as less trustworthy. The source average 2.2 out of a scale of 5, with 65% of the respondents ranking advertising at 2 or lower. There was no appreciable difference in response according to age.

Sales people earned similar sentiment to advertising, ranking 2.2 out of a scale of 5. 60% of the respondents ranked sales people at 2 or lower.

Personal relationships generate a significant amount of trust, with respondents ranking their closest friends at 4 out of a scale of 5. 75% of the respondents ranked their closest friends at 4 or higher. The relationships maintained on social media sites are assessed more critically, the survey shows.

Respondents ranked the trustworthiness of friends on Facebook and other social media sites at 2.8 out of a scale of 5. Of the total, 38% rated their digital friends at 2 or lower, while 23% rated their digital friends at 5 or higher.


The survey, Millennials: Trust & Attention Survey, was written by The McCarthy Group and using conducted by Google Consumer Surveys between February 6, 2014 and February 9, 2014. For information about Google Consumer Survey’s methodology, visit the Google Consumer Surveys website.

Click to view the Millennials Survey.