Online Customers Believe Word of Mouth More than Traditional Advertising

‘Online recommendations’ are becoming one of the trusted forms of advertising for a major section of online customers. According to Nielsen, 70% of the people surveyed globally said that they trust ‘Consumer opinions posted online’. More over, 90% said they trust ‘Recommendations of people they know’. The impact of reviews and recommendations by people are having a considerable impact on the decision making of the customers.

Word of Mouth Publicity is Trusted Most
The content or media promoted by customers themselves is playing an important role in influencing the purchasing decision of customers, followed by ‘Brand Websites’, ‘Newspaper editorials’ and ‘Brand sponsorships’ with 70%, 69% and 64% respectively. This makes clear that online customers are giving more importance to what other customers say about a product or service before they make a purchase rather than the manufacturers’ advertisements.

Traditional Advertising Still Holds Ground
Though Recommendations from people known, Consumer opinions posted online and Branded websites claim top three spots among the trusted media, the top ten list of media is dominated by traditional media. Starting with Editorial content (e.g. newspaper article) at number four, the list has Brand sponsorships, TV, Newspaper, magazines, Billboards/outdoor advertising and Radio claiming five to ten ranks respectively.

Customers Trust on Advertising Increased
All forms of advertising, except Ads in newspapers, have experienced increase in the levels of trust of customers. Brand sponsorship has by increased 15% in trust levels, in April 2009 from April 2007. It is followed by ‘Ads before movies’ increased by 14%, Personal recommendations by 12%. ‘Ads in newspapers’ is the only form of advertising that has lost the trust of customers by 2%.

The U.S. Scenario
When it comes to U.S., 72% of U.S. Internet customers trust Consumer opinions posted online, and ranks 12 out of the 50 countries represented in the survey for trusting consumer opinions online. Brand websites, the most trusted form of advertiser-led advertising globally, gained 70% of the trust among U.S. online customers. Moreover, 62% of U.S. online customers said they trust Brand sponsorships.

The Least Trusted
Even though Brand websites score highly amongst Internet consumers, the other forms of digital advertising are trusted less than ads appearing in traditional media such as TV billboards, Radio, Magazines and Newspapers. The least trusted forms of advertising are Text ads on mobile phones, Online banner ads, Online video ads, Search engine results ads respectively.

On the backdrop of the rapid increase of online population around the world, the digital form of advertising is gaining popularity among customers. But online marketers have to work more to make a dent in the huge market of traditional advertising and reach out more number of customers.

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