The explosion of word-of-mouth and "earned media" continues as Nielsen's latest research shows consumers trust online customer reviews more than any other media format, and second only to direct recommendations from friends and family. This research shows that 70% of consumers trust online reviews – placing this form of media ahead of newpaper articles (58%), company websites (58%), television ads (47%), radio ads (42%) and online banner ads (33%).
What this chart doesn’t show is that attitudes are shifting – and quite dramatically. Our trust in recommendations from friends and family is up 18% and our trust in online consumer reviews is up 15% (in the last 4 years). Despite the low trust in banner ads and mobile ads, people’s trust in them have risen 27% and 61%. Meanwhile, confidence levels in television, magazine, and newspaper ads has fallen in the same time period by 24%, 20%, and 25%, respectively.
Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey of more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries shows that while the majority of advertising dollars are spent on traditional or paid media, such as television, the effectiveness of these channels is declining. As people become more skeptical of traditional forms of advertising, providing consumers with "social proof" is an effective way of gaining trust and credibility.
Randall Beard, global head of advertiser solutions at Nielsen, says that while TV will remain a key channel, “successful advertisers will seek ways to better connect with consumers and leverage their goodwill in the form of consumer feedback and experiences.”