Friends Have More Credibility Than Brands

Like-Icon-According to Nielsen’s Latest Global Trust in Advertising Survey, 92% of respondents in 56 different countries said they trusted word-of-mouth recommendation from their friends and family above all other forms of communication. That’s up 17% since 2007. 

Consumers are also increasingly likely to trust the voices of strangers over those of a corporation. Online consumer reviews are the second-most trusted form of communication (cited by 70% of consumers, up 15% since 2007).

At the same time, trust in paid traditional media (including television, magazine and newspaper ads) has steadily declined since 2009. (Trust in television is down 24%; magazines, down 20%; and newspapers down 25%, according to the survey.) Overall, 47% of consumers worldwide said they still trusted those media, although the drops are substantial.



Meanwhile, trust in online advertising is growing. Thirty-six percent of consumers trusted online video ads, and 33% believed online banner ads -- up from 26% in 2007. Paid search engine advertising was deemed trustworthy by 40% of consumers, up from 24% in 2007. 

Only 58% of consumers trust “owned media” such as company Web sites, while only 50% said they found content in e-mails they received from brands (by consent) to be similarly credible. Only 40% of global respondents found product placements credible, about the same levels as radio ads (42%) and pre-movie cinema ads (41%).

 “While brand marketers increasingly seek to deploy more effective advertising strategies, Nielsen’s survey shows that the continued proliferation of media messages may be impacting how well they resonate with their intended audiences on various platforms,” said Randall Beard, global head, Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen, in a release. “Consumers around the world continue to see recommendations from friends and online consumer opinions as by far the most credible.” 

3 comments about "Friends Have More Credibility Than Brands ".
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  1. Ted Rubin from The Rubin Organization / Return on Relationship, April 11, 2012 at 9:19 a.m.

    "Friends Have More Credibility Than Brands"... Really, we needed a Nielsen survey to tell us this???

  2. Steve Schildwachter from Enterprise CMO, LLC, April 11, 2012 at 10:06 a.m.

    Ted, my reaction was exactly the same. Way back when Social Media was still called Word of Mouth, we always knew "recommendation of a friend" was always stronger than "advertising" as the influencer of purchase decisions.

  3. Sid Raisch from Advantage Development System, April 13, 2012 at 1:26 p.m.

    Internet video is bringing a new and richer dimension to advertising than television provided.

    While people trust friends more than brands, they trust themselves the most. A product demonstration via video where "I saw it with my own eyes" has the best validity.

    Now when I share that with my friends they can see it for themselves too. This will lead to more truth in marketing.

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