Branded websites more trusted than newspaper articles according to Nielsen study

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Nielsen has come out with its regular Global Trust in Advertising study.   It is a report that I’ve used a lot when talking about the effectiveness or otherwise of social media, so its worth looking at the 2013 results.

The first thing to say is that it is an important and credible piece of research as rather than being a ‘survey said’ type of exercise among 1,000 people, Nielsen asks 29,0000 respondents in 58 countries about what influences them.   The findings are as follows:

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Though the table speaks for itself, especially when it comes to the importance of word of mouth endorsement, I’d draw out three key findings:

1 – Trust in ‘consumer opinions posted online’ remains high (68%).   More often than not, these are opinions posted by complete strangers.  In fact, consumer opinions are as trusted as editorial content (67%).

2 – What’s your website good for?  Quite a lot, almost seven in ten (69%) consumers view it as a trusted source of information.   In other words, according to Nielsen, a branded website is (slightly) more influential when it comes to driving purchases than a good piece in a newspaper or magazine.   Or perhaps, to put it in I think more accurate terms, an article might drive people to look at your site.  But it is the information on there that will make them buy.

3 – Trust in what you might call conventional advertising is actually on the increase.   Magazine ads, TV ads and ‘branded sponsorship’ have all gained credibility in consumers’ eyes since 2007.

Finally, what’s not so trusted?  SMS advertising (37%) and banner display ads (42%).

As ever, individual marketing disciplines work best when used in combination.   For example, see this Business Insider piece from last month, ‘how social media is ampliflyng TV advertising.’


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