Nielsen Global Survey Finds Believability Is The Key to Advertising Effectiveness

While consumer
trust of advertising seen on television, in magazines, on the radio and online
has grown since 2007, nothing can top word-of-mouth recommendations from
friends. That's according to a global study by Nielsen on trust in advertising
and brand messages.

The Nielsen
survey of more than 29,000 consumers in 58 countries worldwide, including in
the U.S., found 84% saying they trust
recommendations from friends-up from 78% in a similar survey done in 2007. 

A bigger
surprise yielded by the study-and one to no doubt make marketers smile-was the
yield on consumer trust in branded websites, which ranked second in the
believability factor with 69% of consumers citing them. That was up from 60% in
the 2007 survey.

opinions posted online were cited by 68% of those surveyed as being trustworthy,
with TV ads getting a vote of confidence from 62%, up from 56% in 2007.

Ads in
newspapers were cited by 61% of consumers in the survey as being believable,
but that was down slightly from the 63% who found them worth their salt in

Ads in magazines
were listed as trustworthy by 60% of respondents, up 4% from 2007; radio
commercials were tabbed by 57%, also up 4% from 2007; commercials before movies
were up a sizable 18% from 2007, selected this time by 56% of consumers
surveyed; and online banner ads were deemed trustworthy by 42% of those surveyed,
up 16%. Text ads on mobile phones also grew in believability, rising to 37% in
this survey, a 19% increase from 2007.

"Increases in
the trust of online and mobile advertising demonstrate the growing importance
of these formats, said Randall Beard, global head, advertiser solutions at
Nielsen. "With Internet ad spending reporting double-digit growth, advertisers
are exhibiting growing confidence in these formats, or at least a willingness to
make the investment."

Actions Speak Loud and Clear

Trust is one
thing; action is another. That said, the survey also concluded that, beyond trust
in advertising leading to consumer goodwill toward a company, it also motivates
consumers to go out and buy products they see in that company's ads, with the
percentages pretty much bearing that out.

Based on
recommendations from friends, 84% of respondents said they would be motivated
to buy a product and 70% said consumer opinions posted online could trigger
them to buy a particular brand.

TV ads as a motivation
for action were also high on the list, with 68% of consumers citing them, just
ahead of branded websites (67%) and ads in newspapers (65%).

consumers were the least likely to take action base on the various forms of
advertising. The survey did not break out the U.S. consumers, but next to the
Europeans, the North American consumers were the next least likely to buy based
on the ads they see.

While most North
Americans (82%) said they would be motivated to buy based on recommendations from
friends or family, the percentages came way down based on other types of
advertising. While traditional media ads on TV, radio and in magazines and
newspapers would motivate about 60% of North Americans to take action on an ad
they saw, the percentages were much lower for text ads on mobile phones (27%)
and display ads on mobile devices (35%).

What types of
ads resonate most among consumers globally? Humorous ads topped the list at
47%, in almost a dead heat with real-life situations (46%). Family-oriented ads
were listed by 38%, tied with health-themed ads and value-oriented ads. Kid-centered
ads were favored by only 20%, ads with animals by only 18% and sports-themed
ads by just 16%. Car-themed ads were even lower at 13%, celebrity endorsements
were listed by 12% and at the bottom sat athlete endorsements (8%).