Online ads drive people to buy; access beats trust


Amid the fast-paced consumer lifestyle created by the internet, online advertising has become very effective in driving consumers to do the actual purchase, a recent Nielsen report revealed.

Nielsen, a US-based survey firm that helps companies to understand consumer behavior, released its periodical study titled “Global Trust in Advertising” last September.

The study, which surveyed 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries across the globe, including the Philippines, underscored the power of online advertising when it comes to compelling consumers to buy.

The study revealed that credibility is not a prerequisite for a consumer to actually make a purchase. More consumers said they take action more than find the ad trustworthy. This is particularly true for online and mobile ad formats, according to the study.

The respondents’ self-reported action exceeds the trust factor: For ads served in search engine results, 47% trust; 58% take action; for ads on social networks, 46% trust; 56% take action; and text ads on mobile phones, 36% trust; 46% take action).

“The formats where action exceeds trust by the greatest margin share a common attribute: easy access to products and services,” observed Nielsen Expanded Verticals president, Randall Beard.

“The power of digital ad formats cannot be underestimated, as they offer many advantages for achieving effective reach,” said Beard. “Online and mobile formats make it exceptionally easy for consumers to live in the moment and take quick action on the advertisement. Often, consumers simply click a link and they’re directed to a place where they can receive more information or purchase the item.”

The survey showed that among the traditional (offline) advertising formats, TV ads are still the respondents’ most trusted at 63 percent. Ads in newspapers followed at 60 percent, and ads in magazines at 58 percent.

In the online advertising formats bracket, 48 percent of respondents said they trust online video ads; 47 percent say they trust ads served in search engine results, and 46 percent say they trust ads on social networks.

The most credible advertising comes straight from the people that the consumers know and trust. More than eight in 10 global respondents (83%) said they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.

But trust is not confined to the consumer’s inner circle. The survey showed that two-thirds (66%) said they trust consumer opinions posted online—the third-most-trusted format.

Nielsen’s study also suggested that among the most effective advertising is getting people to talk about the product.

“But few brands have mastered online word-of-mouth marketing techniques, the results of which can go viral very quickly,” noted Beard. “Passionate brand advocates can be powerful allies to amplify your message, but you need to give them a reason to talk. Evolve the relationship from a one-way sales pitch to a two-way conversation.

He warned: “Be transparent and accountable. Online brand advocates can quickly become adversaries with the power to damage credibility and reputation if things go wrong.”


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