afaqs!

In India, nothing sells like word of mouth

By , agencyfaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | October 09, 2007
An ACNielsen Internet study shows that 87 per cent of Indian netizens still trust recommendations from others over any other kind of advertising, making word of mouth advertising the most powerful tool today in the industry

If you thought & #BANNER1 & # television was the best medium to reach consumers, read on. India comes fourth among the top 10 countries globally that trust in recommendations from consumers. Hong Kong leads the list, with 93 per cent. As many as 87 per cent of Indian netizens still trust recommendations from others over any other kind of advertising, making word of mouth advertising the most powerful tool today in the industry. Seven of the top 10 markets that rely most on "recommendations from consumers" are in Asia. These are some of the facts brought forward by an ACNielsen Internet study.

Conducted twice a year among 26,486 Internet users in 47 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, the Americas and West Asia, Nielsen most recently surveyed consumers on their attitudes towards 13 types of advertising - from conventional newspapers and television ads to branded websites and consumer generated content.

According to the study, newspapers came in second (77 per cent) on the list of advertising media that Indian consumers trust the most. Surprisingly, consumer opinions posted online and brand websites came a little ahead of television advertising, with 73 per cent and 72 per cent, respectively. Television came in at number five, with 65 per cent of Indian respondents considering television advertising as trustworthy.

A consumer is exposed to advertising in various media, but what touches a chord is either a very innovative message or a product that is good value for money. Word of mouth brings with it a big "trust" factor, which is quite often missing in other forms of advertising. "Indians by nature tend to believe a friend or an associate while evaluating a product," says Sarang Panchal, executive director, client solutions, The Nielsen Company.

The Nielsen survey found that new platforms such as the Internet are beginning to slowly catch up with conventional media in terms of advertising revenues. Though the overall reach of the Internet in India is yet to be widespread, consumer opinions posted online and brand websites still make it to the list of top 10 countries (at third and sixth positions, respectively) which trust these unconventional forms of advertising. Global consumer opinions posted online make it to the third most trusted advertising form with 61 per cent.

With 71 per cent in India, magazines made it to the fifth slot as a medium that can be trusted. India is also the ninth country amongst the top 10 countries which trusts magazine advertising, according to the survey.

Radio, brand sponsorships and emails that a respondent has signed up for inspired the trust of more than half the respondents, with all of them scoring above 50 per cent. Search engine ads (41 per cent), ads before movies (41 per cent), online banner ads (38 per cent), and text ads on mobiles (24 per cent) are the least trusted forms of advertising in India.