Surprise! People don't trust ads

October 9, 2007 by Dave Haynes

Consumer research giant Nielsen has done a global study of attitudes toward traditional and digital advertising. As you might expect, the results from 47 countries backed up the notion that people don’t trust ads, particularly digital ones.

Now digital in this case meant online advertising, but given that we do is a bit of a mash-up of TV, online and outdoor, there is cause to think this research is relevant.

When people were asked about their feelings, BrandWeek reports this response:

* 63% trust newspaper ads
* 56% trust TV and magazine ads
* 34% trust search ads
* 26% trust banner ads
* 18% trust mobile advertising

What people do trust, by and large, are the opinions of their fellow consumers, coming in the forms of such things as recommendations, blogs, opinions posted online and even brand websites.

“Advertisers around the world are able to reach consumers across an increasingly diverse range of media platforms,” David McCallum, Nielsen’s global managing director of customized research, said in a statement. “Even so, the recommendation of someone else remains the most trusted source of information when consumers decide which products and services to buy.”

This seems to confirm the approach at least some companies are taking with retail media screens – putting a lot of work into making sure the content is relevant and valuable to the people moving around those stores. The ShopCast people, for example, will tell you years of testing and lessons learned led them to conclude content in Wal_mart had to be positioned as coming from trusted advisors or, in a way, friends.

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