Which Forms of Advertising Do Consumers Trust – and Act On – the Most?

September 18, 2013

Nielsen-Trust-in-Advertising-Sept2013Online consumers around the world place their greatest amount of trust in earned media, while TV wins among paid media, finds Nielsen [download page] in its latest “Trust in Advertising” report. 84% of respondents said they completely or somewhat trust recommendations from people they know, a 6% point increase from 2007. Branded websites (+9% points to 69%), consumer opinions posted online (+7% points to 68%), editorial content such as newspaper articles (67%) and ads on TV (+6% points to 62%) were next. The rankings differed slightly when it came to the forms consumers claim they’re most likely to act upon.

Returning to the most trusted forms of advertising, the study finds that traditional paid media continues to gain high trust ratings, with ads in newspapers (61%), ads in magazines (60%), billboards and other outdoor advertising (57%), ads on radio (57%) and ads before movies (56%) getting the vote from a strong majority. For the most part, trust in these advertising forms has gone up, most notably for ads before movies (+18% points from 2007), although trust has dipped by 2% points for ads in newspapers.

Traditional paid media ads continue to outperform online ads in consumer trust, although the latter are coming on strong. 48% of respondents indicate a level of trust in ads served in search engine results, an impressive 14% point gain from 2007. Online video ads and ads on social networks each saw the same level of trust as search ads, slightly ahead of display ads on mobile devices (45%). While online banner ads (42%) and text ads on mobile phones (37%) received the lowest levels of trust from respondents, those figures represented large gains of 16 and 19% points, respectively, from the 2007 survey.

Which Forms Of Advertising Do Consumers Take Action On?

Nielsen-Most-Influential-Forms-of-Advertising-Sept2013When asked the extent to which they take action on these forms of advertising, respondents again pointed to earned media first, with 84% saying they always or sometimes act on recommendations from people they know. Consumer opinions posted online remained in the second spot  (70%), while TV ads (+6% points to 68%) overtook branded websites (-2% points to 67%) for the third spot by a slim margin.

Interestingly, ads in newspapers moved up to the fifth spot with 65% claiming to at least sometimes take action, slightly ahead of editorial content (64%). A growing proportion of respondents (+9% points to 65%) said they take action on emails they signed up for, with magazine ads (62%), brand sponsorships (60%) and TV program product placements (58%) also influential.

Radio ads (-2% points to 55%) fell slightly in the standings, behind ads served in search engine results (+9% points to 57%) and on par with ads on social networks (+7% points). Consumers seem to be a little less moved to take action by ads before movies (-3% points to 53%), although those ads were deemed influential to slightly more respondents than online video ads (+4% points to 52%), online banner ads (+8% points to 50%) and display ads on mobile devices (+4% points to 49%). Finally, while “only” 45% have been moved to act by a text ad on a mobile phone, that represents an 8% point improvement from 2007.

Humorous, Real-Life Messages Resonate Most With Consumers

Humor tends to resonate with Americans, according to recent research, but the Nielsen study finds that humorous ads are also welcomed on a global scale. Humorous (47%) advertising messages resonate with the most respondents, although real-life situations (46%) are similarly evocative.

Family-oriented, health-themed and value-oriented advertising messages (each at 38%) were next, while celebrity (12%) and athlete (8%) endorsements proved to resonate with the fewest consumers.

About the Data: The Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising was conducted between February 18 and March 8, 2013, and polled more than 29,000 consumers in 58 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on their Internet users, and is weighted to be representative of internet consumers and has a maximum margin of error of ±0.6%.

The Nielsen survey is based on the behavior of respondents with online access only. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60 percent internet penetration or 10M online population for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Survey, was established in 2005.

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