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Consumer trust in reviews and brand websites

By July 10, 2009 16 Comments


Computerworld reported yesterday on the results of a global Nielsen study into trust on the web.  There are a lot of interesting nuggets in the article, but my favourites are the following:

  • 90% of internet consumers worldwide now trust recommendations from people they know
  • 70% trust consumer opinions posted by people they don’t know
  • 70% trust brand websites

All three of these are on the increase. It is unsurprising that as the number of reviews proliferate and the world becomes more comfortable with eCommerce generally that trust in personal recommendations is increasing – so this is welcome news, but perhaps not that surprising.

I was, however, surprised to learn that trust in brand websites is increasing. This might be because advertisers have reacted in the right way to consumer opinions, that would make sense to me, and is also what Jonathan Carson, President of Online, International, at Nielsen is saying:

However, we see that all forms of advertiser-led advertising, except ads in newspapers, have also experienced increases in levels of trust and it’s possible that the CGM revolution has forced advertisers to use a more realistic form of messaging that is grounded in the experience of consumers rather than the lofty ideals of the advertisers.

And the stuff that from a trust point of view isn’t working so well?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, text ads on mobiles (24% of us trust these), online banner ads (33%), online video ads (37%), and search engine ads (41%).  Clearly the money is where the trust isn’t – perhaps this is inevitable.


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