Consumer trust in digital advertising has not improved in the two years since the last assessment, according to Nielsen’s "Global Trust in Advertising" report.
This is a signal that advertisers may not be doing enough to move the needle on this front, according to the report. For a medium that is newer, with lots of room to grow, it is surprising that the trust levels have not grown more. The fact that it didn’t shows that consumers may not be entirely "sold" on this format, according to the report.
Almost half of global respondents say they completely or somewhat trust online video ads (48%, no change from 2013), ads served in search engine results (47%, down one percentage point) and ads on social networks (46%, down two percentage points).
About 4 in 10 global respondents trust online banner ads (42%, no change) and mobile advertising (43%, down two percentage points). Just over one-third say they trust mobile text ads (36%, down one percentage point).
Millennials (age 21-34), who came of age with the Internet, have the highest levels of trust in online and mobile formats, followed closely by Generation X (age 35-49). But it’s not just online and mobile advertising formats where Millennials exceed the average. They also show the highest levels of trust in 18 of 19 advertising formats/channels, including TV, newspapers and magazines, and they’re also the most willing to take action on 16 of 19 formats.
Millennials consume media differently than their older counterparts, exercising greater control over when and where they watch, listen and read content — and on which device, says Randall Beard, Nielsen’s president of expanded verticals.
"But even if they rely less heavily on traditional channels, their trust and willingness to act on these formats remains high," Beard says in a release. "While an integrated, multi-channel approach is best across all generations, it carries even more importance when reaching Millennials."
The most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. Eighty-three percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family. This level declined one percentage point from 2013 (84% in 58 countries).
Owned online channels are also among the most trusted advertising formats. Trust in advertising on branded Web sites increased one percentage point to 70% in 2015 as the second-most-trusted format, remaining in second place from 2013.
Sixty-six percent of survey respondents indicate that they trust consumer opinions posted online, which rates third in 2015, down two percentage points from 2013. In addition, more than half of global respondents (56%) trust emails they signed up for, a level that is consistent with 2013.
While there isn’t one simple rule for maximizing advertising effectiveness in a saturated market, understanding how consumers feel about the ads served on the various media platforms they use every day is a good place to start.
"While advertisers have started to follow consumers online, about a third of online advertising campaigns don't work — they don't generate awareness or drive any lift in purchase intent," Beard says. "As consumers are in control of how they consume content and interact with brands more than ever, understanding ad resonance across screens is the only way to successfully drive memorability and brand lift today."
Despite continued media fragmentation, the proliferation of online formats has not eroded trust in traditional (offline) paid channels. TV, newspapers and magazines remain trusted advertising formats. More than six in 10 global respondents say they completely or somewhat trust TV ads (63%), up one percentage point from 2013.
Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries to gauge consumer sentiment in 19 forms of paid, earned and owned advertising mediums. The results identify the ad formats resonating most strongly with consumers and those that have room to grow.