92% of Consumers Trust Word of Mouth: Up 18% Since 2007

According to a recent Nielsen Report, “Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages”  there’s exciting growth in consumer attitudes toward word-of-mouth recommendations. The study, published in April 2012, found that fully 92% of consumers around the world now say they trust word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising, an increase of 18% since 2007.


How has trust in word of mouth evolved?

Nielsen, a leading provider of research on consumer behavior, found that trust in traditional paid advertising messages is continuing to decline, while trust in word-of-mouth as well as online and mobile advertising is continuing on the upward trend it’s been following for the last few years. The study, which surveyed more than 28,000 respondents in 56 countries, determined that the biggest opportunity facing marketers is to allocate more marketing dollars toward online and mobile channels, and to focus on word-of-mouth while improving the relevance of their current ad campaigns.


Key findings from the study include:

  • Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information, with 70% of consumers surveyed indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 % in four years.
  • Nearly 58% of online consumers trust messages found on company websites, and 50% trust consumer-consented email messages.
  • Sponsored ads on social networks, a new format included in the 2011 Nielsen survey, are credible among 36 % of the respondents.
  • On average, social ads generate a 55% greater lift in ad recall than non-social ads


The report goes on to say that because consumers are continuing to see recommendations and online consumer reviews as the most credible sources of information, successful brand advertisers are “seeking better ways to connect with consumers and leverage their good-will in the form of consumer feedback and experiences.”


The question facing marketers now is: have you taken steps towards connecting with your customers and leveraging word of mouth?


Clearly the ways in which brands connect with their customers is changing. Companies toned to leverage their happy customers and brand advocates to garner new clients through trusted recommendations, fully taking advantage of the power found in word-of-mouth. If companies aren’t utilizing these consumer advocates, then they risk ignoring an extremely powerful marketing channel.


We suggest that the first step you take is to learn more about word of mouth and recommendation marketing. You can learn about the Top 5 Principles of Word of Mouth here, or download the Recommendation Marketing Manifesto here.
To learn how to monetize word of mouth through refer-a-friend programs and referral marketing, contact us – we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

If you’d like to see what our programs can do first-hand,

Schedule a demo today!

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