Brands are increasingly paying for ‘Likes’, followers and reviews, and despite the risks associated with this activity and the questionable efficacy of the tactic, there may be a logical reason for it. That reason: according to Nielsen, consumers trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and online reviews, far more than they do paid media.
That may not be surprising, but the trust gap may be more significant than many brand marketers would like to believe: while 92% of those surveyed indicated that they trust personal recommendations, and 70% indicated that they trust reviews, most forms of traditional and digital paid media are not trusted by more than half of consumers. Television ads fell just short of the 50% mark, with 47% of those polled stating that they trust TV commercials, while digital’s newest darling, mobile, fell far short.
Nielsen’s Global Head of Advertiser Solutions, Randall Beard, writes: Since trust in advertising lays along continuum that moves from earned (highest trust), to owned, then paid (lowest trust), it stands to reason that brands should want more earned and owned. But can paid be given up completely? For most brands, that strategy isn’t really feasible given both the broad reach and historical success associated with paid media. So what’s the answer? Beard suggests that “we need to start thinking of how paid, owned and earned can work together to improve trust and deliver better results.”