Consumer Trust in Online Ads Rises as Trust in Traditional Ads Fall

Think that online ads are on the rise? You could be right. Results from a recent study by Nielsen indicate that consumer trust in online media continue to increase, while the opposite is happening to traditional advertising.

According to their Global Trust in Advertising report, Nielsen surveyed over 28,000 Internet respondents in 53 countries. Results show that the most trusted forms of advertising (92% according to the survey) are the ones that come from recommendations from family and friends. Meanwhile, 70% of respondents said that they also trust online customer reviews such as the ones found on Yelp.

When it came to online advertising, Nielsen reported that:

“The survey also showed that nearly six-in-10 global online consumers (58%) trust messages found on company websites, and half trust email messages that they signed up to receive. On the Web, four-in-10 respondents rely on ads served alongside search engine results, 36 percent trust online video advertisements, and one-third believe the messages in online banner ads—an increase of 27 percent since 2007. Sponsored ads on social networks, a new format included in the 2011 Nielsen survey, are credible among 36 percent of global respondents.”

Thinking of adding ads on mobile devices? According to Nielsen’s survey, the consumer trust level in mobile phone advertising while still relatively low at 29%, rose 61% since 2007 and 21% since 2009.

Yes, online and mobile ads are finally gaining the trust of Internet consumers nowadays. However, the same thing cannot be said for traditional ads. Nielsen’s study indicates that while 47% of consumers trust television ads, the number is down 24% between 2009 and 2011. Nearly half of respondents (47%) said that they trust magazine advertisements, but that number is again down by 20% between 2009 and 2011. Newspaper ads saw the biggest decline of all. 46% of consumers said the still trust newspaper ads, but this is down 25% between 2009 and 2011.

This shift in consumer trust may be new, but it certainly isn’t surprising. It’s evident that people are spending less time on traditional media (i.e. magazines and newspapers) and more time on digital and “smart” devices.

Most people nowadays consume so much news and entertainment using their smartphones and tablets that they don’t even watch TV shows on television sets anymore. It’s no wonder their trust in traditional ads is declining.

What It Means for You

The fact that people are starting to trust online media more than traditional kinds is actually great news for businesses (especially small businesses). Online advertising can be cheaper and also has a faster turnaround than traditional media.

Additionally, with online advertising you’ll be able to get actual statistics and graphs so that you’ll know exactly how many people saw your ad and how many users interacted with it. Another great thing about online ads is that they allow you to completely target your audiences. You’ll be able to zero in on consumers based on their interests, age group demographic, or location. Anyone can browse a newspaper or catch a commercial on TV, but as you probably know, having your ad seen by just “anyone” isn’t enough.

Image credit:  return the sun on Flickr

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