Word of mouth and consumer reviews 'most trusted' by consumers: Nielsen

Consumers in the Asia-Pacific rank 'earned' media like word-of-mouth recommendations and online consumer reviews as the most trusted form of advertising, according to Nielsen.

The study revealed 94% of consumers in the Asia Pacific trust word-of-mouth or personal recommendations above all other forms of advertising, compared with less than 40% who trust advertisements sent to them on mobile phones.

The survey also found 76% of consumers trust opinions and reviews posted online from fellow consumers, making it the second most trusted form of media and advertising.

Consumer trust in both online consumer reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations have increased since the annual survey was first conducted in 2007.

Television was the survey's most trusted form of ‘paid’ advertising, with 55% of respondents stating they trust messages in TV ads. Other forms of paid ads that ranked well were newspapers and magazines.

Paid advertising on new media platforms, such as social networks, are not as trusted by consumers as ads that appear in more traditional media. But the survey results demonstrated text ads on mobile phones and online banner ads posted some of the highest gains in consumer trust since the first survey, rising 18% and 13% respectively.

“These survey findings highlight the rapid fragmentation of media across the region, and the degree to which consumers’ attitudes towards all forms of media – paid, owned and earned – have shifted in a relatively short space of time,” said David Webb, managing director of Advertising Solutions for Nielsen in Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa. “It is interesting to note the number of new advertising categories which either did not exist, or were too small to list when Nielsen first conducted this study in 2007, such as social media advertising or display ads on mobile devices.”

Webb said that these results show “continuing media fragmentation” that poses challenges and opportunities for advertisers.

“While advertisers are increasingly facing the dilemma of how to allocate their marketing budgets across a growing number of media platforms, the good news is that there have never before been so many opportunities for brands to engage with consumers," Webb said. "The real challenge marketers will face in the years ahead will be pinning down how to execute truly effective cross-platform campaigns, which utilise the unique benefits of each form of media and drive brand awareness, trial, loyalty and, ultimately, greater sales.”

The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey was conducted online in August and September 2011, polling more than 28,000 consumers in 56 countries.

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