Emily Tan
Apr 12, 2012

More than 90 per cent of consumers trust word-of-mouth most: Nielsen

ASIA-PACIFIC - Earned media, such as word-of-mouth, is the most trusted form of recommendation for 92 per cent of consumers globally, an increase of 18 per cent since 2007, said a study by Nielsen.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are increasingly trusted by consumers
Word-of-mouth recommendations are increasingly trusted by consumers

The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising survey polled more than 28,000 respondents in 56 countries found that after word-of-mouth, online consumer reviews were the next most trusted form of advertising with 70 per cent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15 per cent in four years. In Asia-Pacific, recommendations from people consumers know best are the most trusted at 27 per cent. 

Only 47 per cent of consumers around the world trust paid media such as television, magazine and newspaper ads and confidence in these mediums have declined by 24 per cent, 20 per cent and 25 per cent respectively since 2009. Nevertheless, the majority of advertising dollars are spent on traditional or paid media. 
“While brand marketers increasingly seek to deploy more effective advertising strategies, Nielsen’s survey shows that the continued proliferation of media messages may be impacting how well they resonate with their intended audiences on various platforms,” said Randall Beard, global head, advertiser solutions at Nielsen. "Although television advertising will remain a primary way marketers connect with audiences due to its unmatched reach compared to other media, consumers around the world continue to see recommendations from friends and online consumer opinions as by far the most credible." 
To succeed, brand advertisers should therefore seek ways to better connect with consumers and leverage their goodwill in the form of consumer feedback and experiences, advised Beard. 
Owned media is trusted by 58 per cent of global online consumers while 50 per cent find content in emails they've consented to receive credible. Product-placements in TV programmes are trusted by 40 per cent of global respondents while 42 per cent trust radio ads and 41 per cent trust pre-movie cinema messages. 
Online banner advertising is regarded as the trustworthy by 33 per cent of consumers. This holds true for banner ads viwed on mobile devices. 
Ads viewed in search engine results on the other hand are trusted by 40 per cent of respondents, up from 34 per cent in 2007. Sponsored ads on social networking sites are deemed credible by 36 per cent of global respondents. 
“The growth in trust for online search and display ads over the past four years should give marketers increased confidence in putting more of their ad dollars into this medium,” said Beard. “Many companies are already increasing their paid advertising activity on social networking sites, in part due to the high level of trust consumers place in friends’ recommendations and online opinions. Brands should be watching this emerging ad channel closely as it continues to grow.” 
Mobile phone text ads are perhaps the least trusted medium of advertising with only 29 per cent of global respondents saying they trust ad messages they receive on SMS. However, this represents a substantial increase of 21 per cent since 2009 and 61 per cent since 2007. 
When asked about ad relevance, 50 per cent of global online consumers find TV ads to be personally relevant when looking for information on products they want or need, particularly among consumers in Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, where 65 percent find TV ads to be highly pertinent to their needs. By contrast, 30 percent of European respondents consider TV ads to be relevant.
A third of global respondents find online banner ads to be relevant, compared with advertising on social networks (36 per cent) and online video ads (36 per cent). More than four in ten find ads in search engine results relevant. 
“In order to boost advertising ROI, marketers need to make sure an ad’s content and message is relevant to the consumer who sees it," said Beard. "While we expect to see high relevance levels in ads where the consumer is actively seeking information, such as on a brand’s own website or solicited emails, Nielsen’s survey shows that there is still much potential for marketers looking to reach the right audience through advertiser-driven messages.”

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