How Trust in Earned Media Has Changed

Posted by Brian Cavoli on April 19th, 2012 in , ,

While it might not be a surprise to anyone that almost all of us trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising, it may be eye-opening to see how much that’s changed over the past couple years.

New data from Nielsen’s “Global Trust in Advertising Survey” finds that the number of people trusting earned media most has risen 18% since 2007.  That puts it way up at 92% now.  Looking specifically at consumer reviews shared online, the study shows that trust in these posts have jumped 15% in that time.  Not too shabby.

Guess where this growth came from? Since 2009, confidence in TV has fallen 24%, magazines have dropped 20%, and newspapers are down 25%.  Considering they were dropping pretty fast back then, we are in very low territory.  Nielsen says the continued proliferation of media messages is having a negative impact on how well they are resonating.  Randall Beard, global head of Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen said “successful brand advertisers will seek ways to better connect with consumers and leverage their goodwill in the form of consumer feedback and experiences.”

And that’s coming from the guy in charge of selling advertising products.

I think it’s safe to say you don’t have to worry about talk of social media burnout or social media losing its effectiveness. It’s not. Social media’s been around for years and the influence of peer recommendations continues to rise.  It’s all in how you tap into it.  Focusing on building Facebook “likes” doesn’t get anyone talking about products.  The focus has to be on building advocacy.  If your audience is losing trust and confidence in advertising, shouldn’t you?


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