Nielsen study: People trust in peoples‘ word of mouth

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Now, I have used this Nielsen graphic in seminars and conferences for two years and always wondered when the next study is going to be published.

Finally today, I came across the latest Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report. And again, the results are similar to what they where back in 2009. People still don’t trust advertising. Well, let’s say… at least not as much as they trust recommendations from people they know like friends, family and peers. However, it is still somehow scary to bear in mind that people trust consumer opinions expressed online… very often without verifying who say what in which scenario and which stage of life.

According to the Nielsen findings, which surveyed over 28,000 Internet people in 56 countries, 92% of the respondents said they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. This equals an increase of 18% compared to 2007. Consumer opinions posted online come in at the second place of most trusted source. Of the consumers surveyed globally, 70% indicated they trust messages from online platforms. This makes up an increase by 15% in the last four years.

Publishing houses and platforms still get a lot of trust from their users. Editorial content (58%) finished in the thread place, just before branded websites (58%), and opt-in emails (50%). The traditional platforms for advertising like print, television, and radio are significantly lower from a trust point of view. The drop in value since 2009 goes down by 24%.

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The results show the importance of content marketing carrying the truth about your company, brand or products. Openness, authenticity and transparency are still rated very high amongst your customers. They want to „know what they get“. They want to engage with you but also being told the truth if there is something bad or uncertain to say about brands and their development. And above all they want you to respond to their input. They want you to give them some attention, some feedback, some credit for the time they spend. Then you will earn their trust, and then they will share your voice.

82% of word of mouth conversations are face-to-face

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The word of mouth and research company Keller Fay Group and Google have collaborated to understand the effects of the Internet and Internet enabled devices on word of mouth conversations about brands – and the Google Business Youtube channel published some findings now in a video.

In the US there are 2.4 billion conversations involving brands on a day, and the question is what role do various types of media play in this process? The study -based on 3.000 responding adults- comes to the conclusion that the vast majority of word of mouth conversations still happens face-to-face (82%).

However, the internet is the leading source of information motivating conversations. TV is already number two media to trigger word of mouth conversations. Google searches directly inform 146 million brand conversations a day, says the video. Are we surprised? Well, I wasn’t…

Obviously, Google would not publish it, if search wasn’t the main initiator in conversations as the study claims. According to the study, search is also said to outperform social media when it comes to credibility and likelihood to purchase decisions.

The study video concludes to mention the importance of search which is the leading source that inspires and informs, and thus triggers word of mouth brand conversations, followed by e-commerce with 7%. Social Media and branded websites are coming in at the same level.

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The findings illustrate the importance to connect offline and online brand activities. Although search definitely has a major impact on our purchase behavior these days, and especially Google with all their opportunities and different service offerings, I would definitely stress that brand advocates also have a major impact on word of mouth conversations when using them to empower social media capabilities. The study did not use these special people as „online channels“ of course. However, think about brand advocates and how you could leverage your brand with them.

PS: The full video can be seen here…