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WOM, UGC Much More Trusted Than Email, Social Media, Advertising

April 16, 2012

Word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations from friends and family and user-generated content (UGC) are sources most trusted for information about the products people want and need, according to a new report by Nielsen.

Among consumers surveyed in North America:

  • 90% trust (completely or somewhat) the recommendations they receive from friends and family.
  • 68% trust consumer opinions posted online.
  • 61% trust editorial content such as newspaper articles.

Roughly one-third of North American consumers trust content they find on social media (31%), in online video ads (31%), and paid-search ads (35%), while only one in four say online banner ads (28%), display ads via smartphones and tablets (26%) and text ads on mobile phones (25%) are credible.

Global citizens are slightly more trusting than Americans of word-of-mouth recommendations (92% vs. 90%) and online consumer reviews (70% vs. 68%).

Global citizens also put more trust in social and mobile ads: 36% say they trust ads delivered via social media (vs. 31% for North Americans) and 33% say they trust display ads served via mobile devices (vs. 26%).

Europeans have the lowest levels of trust in all but one advertising/messaging format: consumer opinions posted online (64%). 

Below, other findings from Nielsen's Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages Report, issued in April 2012.

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  • by John Spence Mon Apr 16, 2012 via web

    I have been jumping up and down about this for years. WOM --- and "Owning the Voice of the Customer" --- combined with a solid and well-developed "Referral Process" is the foundation of marketing success for a vast majority of businesses. Highly loyal, enthusiastic and engaged customers - who tell all their friends and family about your great products and services are a key driver of business success. This is very valuable info!!

  • by Harry Cruickshank Tue Apr 17, 2012 via web

    This is just applied common sense. Building trust and confidence amongst customers and influencers strengthens the brand and encourages referrals. One caveat - you must be authentic.

  • by Sean O'Neill Wed Dec 19, 2012 via web

    Have any similar studies been done on levels of trust-per-medium amongst B@B buyers/consumers?

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