There is no denying the power of digital advertising. We have seen the integration of ads with most of the world’s most popular platforms and channels—from social media, to video, to search engine results. According to eMarketer, the annual spend on digital advertising in 2014 was roughly $569.65 billion. Given the acceleration at which the digital space has assumed global prominence, research around the impact of digital advertising is increasingly important, especially when trying to connect with your target audience, build brand loyalty, and maximize ROI in the digital landscape.
Nielsen recently released its 5th biennial study around global trust in advertising. Highlighting trends by geographical region, ad format, age generation, and ad theme, the study gives a nice overview of customer trust-level in advertisements across various channels. Surveying 30,000 people online across 60 countries, the 2015 Nielsen Trust in Global Advertising Study provides insights on 19 paid, earned, and owned digital advertising channels.
Here are several highlights of the study, followed by an infographic detailing some key stats:
- Online video ads remain the most trusted form of paid digital advertising, with 48% of respondents saying they completely or trust the format somewhat.
- Compared to a 2013 survey, trust in digital advertising has decreased slightly, with a drop in trust amongst ads served in search engines (-1%), on social media networks (-2%) and on mobile devices (-1%). Although these percentages are very small, it shows a trend towards less trust, and no format was reported to be more trustworthy since last study.
- Recommendations from friends and family continue to be the most trusted form of advertising with 83% of people completely or somewhat trusting this source.
- Respondents from Europe consistently had the least trust across all advertising formats.
- Earned media is the most trusted format.
- 66% of people say they trust consumer opinions posted online.
- Millennials (ages 21-34) had the highest level of trust in nearly all formats, except in radio ads, which Gen Xers (ages 35-49) trust more.
- Older generations seemed to care more about pet/animal centered ads than younger generations.
- Interestingly, the degree to which people trust advertising does not translate directly to the way they purchase.
- Trust levels across all ad formats are highest in developing markets.
- Ads themed around real life situations, humor, health, and family orientation resonated most globally. Europeans and North Americans favor humor, whereas Latin Americans tend to favor real life situations, health, and family oriented themes.
- Respondents in the Asia-Pacific region trusted branded websites, ads on mobile devices, and text-ads on mobile phones more than any other respondents in other regions.
A few takeaways:
- Europeans and North Americans seem wearier of advertising than people in other regions, so brands targeting these individuals must be increasingly genuine in their message, and might benefit from ads themed around humor or real life situations.
- The accessibility provided by digital ads has a huge impact in the way people interact with advertisements online. Although someone might not trust the ad they are viewing on a particular format, the incredible speed at which he or she is able to take action is a powerful tool for conversion. As the study states “even lower-trust formats can be extremely effective in driving consumers to the point of purchase”.
- Paid advertising is effective, but cultivating a strong digital presence on earned media channels is an equally, if not more important, way to foster trust and loyalty in your brand.