Recommendations, online consumer reviews most trusted form of advertising in India: Nielsen

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | April 11, 2012
The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey reveals shrinking confidence in traditional forms of advertising.

Going by the findings of the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, marketers in India may want to rethink strategies, if they have not already. The survey reveals that recommendation from friends and family is the most trusted form of advertising in India.

The category, among other forms of advertising, topped the survey, with 91 per cent of respondents expressing faith in recommendations. Online consumer reviews is the next most trusted, with 77 per cent of the respondents affirming their belief in such testimonials.


What is interesting to note is that these two categories beat even brand websites and traditional forms such as television and newspaper ads.

The shrinking faith in the traditional forms of advertising is a global trend, as found by Nielsen. Nielsen's Global Trust in Advertising Survey of more than 28,000 internet respondents in 56 countries shows that while nearly half (47 per cent) of the consumers around the world say that they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads, confidence in these media declined by 24 , 20 and 25 percentage points, respectively, since 2009.

In India, television ads have seen a decline in trust from 76 per cent in 2009 to 55 per cent in 2011. Similarly, magazine ads saw a fall of 14 percentage points to 59 per cent and newspaper ads, a 17 percentage point decline to 60 per cent.

Ads before movies saw a gain in consumer trust in 2009. However, in the latest survey, the form fell by 12 percentage points, with only 49 per cent of the respondents saying that they trust these ads.

While brand websites and editorial content such as newspaper articles still found takers, establishing the forms in the top five with 75 per cent each, brand sponsorships and outdoor advertising found credibility with only 55 per cent of the respondents.

Trust in radio advertisements has also dropped to 48 per cent, a fall of 18 percentage points from the figure in 2009.

Farshad Family

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.

Globally, 36 per cent of the online consumers trust online video ads, 40 per cent believe ads viewed in search engine results and 36 per cent find sponsored ads on social networking sites credible. In comparison, in India, trust on online advertising is slightly higher, with 48 per cent trusting online video ads, 52 per cent believing in ads viewed in search engine results and 54 per cent trusting sponsored ads on social networking sites, finds the study.

"With ads on social networks fast catching up with traditional forms of advertising such as TV, newspapers and magazines, advertisers need to re-orient to capitalise on the growing number of online consumers and the proliferation of e-commerce," observes Family.

Mobile marketing sure needs a good amount of push in this country, finds the study, with text ads on mobile phones continuing to be the least trusted form of advertising in India, finding trust with just 43 per cent of the respondents. Display ads on mobile devices find a little more faith at 47 per cent.

When considering ad relevance, word-of-mouth from acquaintances and online consumers continues to top the list, with 92 per cent and 82 per cent, respectively, finding these relevant. While 87 per cent of the respondents trusted editorial content as a form of advertising in 2009, the number dropped to 71 per cent in the latest study.

In this category, too, display and text ads on mobile devices fared the poorest, with just over 50 per cent trusting them. This is a trend observed globally as well.

"It is 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," says Family.

The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey was conducted between August 31 and September 16, 2011, and polled more than 28,000 online consumers in 56 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, West Asia, Africa and North America.

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