September 19, 2012

The #1 Form of Advertising that Customers Actually Trust

Every business owner wants to know if their advertising is successful.  Just because you put your name out there though – be it via online channels or traditional media – doesn’t mean that customers actually trust what they’re hearing.  Nielson Wire recently published the results of a ‘trust in advertising’ survey they conducted and the results might surprise you…(yes, I’m going to make you click ‘more’ to find out what the results are but I promise a nice snazzy graphic in exchange)

trust in advertising

Chart and research prepared by Nielsen Wire

As you can see, what other people have to say about you, your company, and your products is what counts the most to folks when they’re making a buying decision.  Not only is it the opinions and feedback from people they know (though that’s obviously the #1 form of advertising that people trust), but also unpaid editorial content and reviews posted/shared by people the customer doesn’t know.

Some other really interesting points that might surprise you (or not – depending on how skeptical you are of advertising as a whole):

  • Branded company websites score very high relative to a number of other advertising options;
  • Email newsletters, despite that some people argue that they’re a relic in this age of social media, still perform very well;
  • Traditional advertising channels still seem to garner more trust than ‘new’ advertising vehicles like text ads and online ads.

It’s worth noting that this survey doesn’t seem to take into account company social media like your own company Facebook page, Twitter activity, etc.  Then again, that may be considered more ‘engagement’ of your audience and less actual advertising.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean that, for example, text ads don’t work.  Without knowing the demographic breakdown of the survey respondents, it’s hard to get a sense of whether your target audience would react exactly the same to these advertising vehicles.  If, for example, your audience is made up of teenagers or early 20-somethings, text ads might actually be the most effective way to get in front of them and they may be more willing to trust those types of ads verses someone, like myself,  who’s a little older and think cell phones should be a no-advertising zone.

Nevertheless, the survey is some pretty interesting food for thought as you look at divvying up any advertising dollars you plan to spend.  It also seems to show that despite all the fancy newfangled technology, good-old-fashioned word of mouth remains the best possible advertising for a business.

Nielsen Wire’s ‘Trust In Advertising’ results and more in-depth analysis is available here.

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3 comments on “The #1 Form of Advertising that Customers Actually Trust

  • Star & Philly on said:

    Reblogged this on Star & Philly and commented:
    This survey tells me a couple of things…
    1. Customer Service is always #1. Excellent customer service is how you get free word-of-mouth advertising such as “Recommendations from people I know” and “Consumer opinions posted online.”
    2. Your consumer trust is significantly increased just by having a website.