People trust other people, not ads (and especially not banners)

We're seeing numbers like this in most surveys that come out on the subject, but few surveys have the international reach and sample size of the Nielsen Global Consumer Study. The results show that while 78% of people trust offline Word of Mouth recommendations, and 61% trust online Word of Mouth opinions, only 56% trust TV ads and a pitiful 26% trust banner ads.

More in depth results below:

To what extent do you trust the following forms of advertising?

  1. Recommendations from consumers 78%
  2. Newspapers 63%
  3. Consumer opinions posted online 61%
  4. Brand websites 60%
  5. Television 56%
  6. Magazines 56%
  7. Radio 54%
  8. Brand sponsorships 49%
  9. Email I signed up for 49%
  10. Ads before movies 38%
  11. Search engine ads 34%
  12. Online banner ads 26%
  13. Text ads on mobile phones 18%

Although consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78 percent of the study's respondents, Nielsen research found significant national and regional differences regarding this and other mediums. Word of mouth, for example, generates considerable levels of trust across much of Asia Pacific. Six of the top ten markets that rely most on "recommendations from consumers" are in this region, including Hong Kong (93%), Taiwan (91%) and Indonesia (89%). At the other end of the global spectrum, Europeans, generally, are least likely to trust what they hear from other consumers, particularly in Denmark (62%) and Italy (64%).

The reliability of consumer opinions posted online – which rated third, at 61 percent overall – also varies throughout the world, scoring highest in North America and Asia, at 66 and 62 percent respectively. Among individual markets, web-based opinions such as Blogs are most trusted in South Korea (81%) and Taiwan (76%), while scoring lowest, at 35 percent, in Finland.

Consumer Generated Media – such as Blogs – were considered a reliable source of information for North Americans and Asians

  • North America 66%
  • Asia Pacific 62%
  • Europe 59%
  • EEMEA 57%
  • Latam 53%
  • Global Average 61%

The original Nielsen press release, with more detail than above, is here.

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  • Patrick Rice

    It’s interesting that search engine ads rank 11th at only 34%, yet this is where the growth in ad spending is going.


    “only 56% trust TV ads”.
    I am surprised it’s that high. I’ve seen it as low as 17% against 91% for word of mouth.