According to the latest numbers in Nielsen, recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising. Ninety percent or consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online, according to the Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries.
“The explosion in Consumer Generated Media over the last couple of years means consumers’ reliance on word of mouth in the decision-making process, either from people they know or online consumers they don’t, has increased significantly,” Jonathan Carson, President of Online, International, for the Nielsen Company, said in a statement. “However, in this new age of consumer control, advertisers will be encouraged by the fact that brand websites are trusted at that same 70 percent level as online consumer opinions.”
In the two years the biannual study has been conducted, brand sponsorship has seen the greatest increase in levels of trust from 49 percent of Internet consumers in April 2007 to 64 percent in April 2009, according to the study. Regionally, Latin American countries lead the way with 81 percent of both Colombian and Venezuelan Internet consumers and 79 percent of Brazilians trusting brand sponsorships. Seventy-two percent of United States Internet consumers trust brand sponsorships, placing the United States 12th out of the 50 countries represented in the survey.
But is trust what matters in online advertising? And if yes, where does it happen? Because in a recent study, 75 percent said they have never recommended a business or product to friends via a social networking site.