Shephali Bhatt
Apr 11, 2012

Nielsen Survey: Word-of-mouth continues to rule the roost

Nielsen's Global Advertising Trust Survey reveals that 91% of consumers consider recommendations from friends and family as the most trusted form of advertising in India

Nielsen Survey: Word-of-mouth continues to rule the roost

Recommendations from friends and family retains the number one spot as the most trusted form of advertising in India, according to the latest study from Nielsen, a global information and measurement company. While this category tops the survey with 91% , online consumer reviews jumps four places with 77 %, to become the second-most trusted form of advertising, beating even brand websites and traditional forms like television and newspapers ads.

“The study reveals that manufacturers and advertisers need to think out-of-the-box to come up with new ways to increase brand visibility online and use the top two categories – word-of-mouth and online consumer reviews to their advantage,” says Farshad Family, managing director - media, Nielsen India.
Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey of more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries shows that while nearly half (47%) of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads, confidence declined by 24 %, 20 % and 25 % respectively since 2009. 
In India, there has been a substantial decline in forms of advertising like ads on TV, where the figure has dropped from 76 % in 2009 to 55 % in 2011. Similarly, ads in magazines witnessed a 14 % drop to 59 % and newspaper ads saw a 17 % fall to 60 %. In 2009, the category of ads before movies had seen a significant gain in consumer trust; however, in the latest survey, it dipped 12 %; only 49 % of respondents trust this form of advertising. 
Brand websites and editorial content such as newspaper articles maintain their place in the top five with 75 % each. But when it comes to brand sponsorships and outdoor advertising including billboards, only 55 % said they found them credible. Trust in radio advertisements also took a knock, witnessing an 18 % drop to 48 % vis-à-vis the 2009 figure. 
Trust in Online Ads
36% of global online consumers report trust in online video ads and 40 % say they believe ads viewed in search engine results. Sponsored ads on social networking sites are deemed credible only by 36 % of global respondents. However, in India, the numbers are higher with 48 % online consumers trusting online video ads and 52 % believing ads viewed in search engine results.
Sponsored ads on social networking sites fare better with 54 % of respondents trusting this form of advertising. 
“With ads on social networks fast catching up with traditional forms of advertising like TV, Newspapers and magazines, advertisers would need to re-orient themselves to capitalise on the growing number of online consumers and the proliferation of ecommerce,” observes Family.
Mobile ads: A non-starter?
Clocking just 43 %, text ads on mobile phones, continue to be the least trusted form of advertising by Indian respondents. The performance is marginally better when it comes to
display ads on mobile devices, which saw 47 % trusting this form of advertising. 
Ad Relevance
When considering ad relevance, once again, word-of-mouth from acquaintances and online consumer reviews top the list with 92 % and 82 % respectively. Editorial content like
newspaper articles which 87 % of respondents trusted as a form of advertising in 2009, saw a decline with just 71 % believing in its credibility.                                                                                                  
In this category too, display and text ads on mobile devices fared the poorest with just over 50 % trusting them. Even globally, these two categories showed disappointing results. Nielsen’s survey shows that there is huge potential for marketers in this space.
“It’s almost ironic, that the ubiquitous mobile device is at the bottom of the pile when it comes to being a medium for ads. Advertisers need to rethink both content and dissemination strategies to be able to leverage the true potential of a medium that has the potential for precision of reach and
personalisation if used correctly,” opined Family. 

To what extent do you trust the following forms of advertising?
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When looking for information about the products you want and need, to what extent are the following advertising most relevant to you?


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