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Consumers trust ‘earned’ media above all other advertising, says study

April 11, 2012

People around the world trust “earned” media like word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising, says a new study from Nielsen. Ninety-two percent of those surveyed said they trust earned media — an increase of 18 percent since 2007. According to the study, consumer reviews on Web sites are the second most trusted form of advertising, and another platform that’s gained consumer trust in recent years.
Nearly half of those surveyed said they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads, despite declines of confidence within each category of between 20 percent and 25 percent since 2009. Television advertising remains a primary way for marketers to connect with audiences, even as consumers now regard recommendations from friends and consumer opinions as by far the most credible.

“As a result, successful brand advertisers will seek ways to better connect with consumers and leverage their goodwill in the form of consumer feedback and experiences,” said Randall Beard, Nielsen’s global head of advertiser solutions.

Fifty-eight percent of online consumers trust messages on company Web sites, and 50 percent find the content credible in marketing e-mails they’ve consented to receive, says the study. Many companies are spending more to advertise on social networking sites, but only 36 percent of the survey’s respondents said they find such messages credible. — Greg Beaubien


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