Online Reviews Trusted Most After WOM

According to a global Nielsen survey (25K online users in 50 countries), people trust their friends and then user-generated reviews and consumer opinions. Here’s the hierarchy of trust:

Picture 28

Very strangely “brand websites” comes in third before newspaper editorial content.


13 Responses to “Online Reviews Trusted Most After WOM”

  1. Dave Hucker Says:

    Editorial content in news has gotten a beating from the “new media” online and in radio.

    I use the old “consider the source” school of thought when it comes to surveys. If this was an online survey, the results may be skewed by new media thinkers. New media thinkers (IMO) have kind of a built in prejudice against old media (newspapers, yellow pages etc).

    For what its worth.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Newspapers score well in this survey and the fact that it’s global I would say mitigates the “new media” bias of US-based online surveys.

    Very strange in my mind that brand websites do so well.

  3. Tim Cohn Says:

    “A real brand owns a very tiny but important piece of real estate in a consumer’s mind.” Charles M. Berger

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Trust in brands is naive in my view. I would have though cynicism and consumer disaffection would make people more skeptical.

  5. Tim Cohn Says:

    It might be naive, but consider the alternative(s).

  6. Ron Butman Says:

    Somewhat surprised that online reviews ranked so high relative to recommendations. In the data we’ve collected reviews from trusted sources had 3 times more influence than “reviews”. I suppose this can be partly explained by how the question is asked. In Nielsen’s case, they asked consumers whether they had “some degree of trust while, in our case, we asked consumers which 2 factors most influenced their decision to try a local business. Which perhaps help explain why we came up with such different results (in our survey, 74.1% said recommendations while 24.4% said reviews most influenced their decision).

  7. Greg Sterling Says:

    Could be the way the survey questions were presented that yielded this result too.

    • Dave Hucker Says:

      I agree…the way survey’s are answered, the people who are answering all have sway on how the answers will be skewed.

      Whatever the reason… I’d say its a powerful statement about ‘brand’ and argument for making your brand universally recognizable.

      thanks again for tweezing the stats for us Greg. 🙂

  8. Kate Bowler Says:

    Word of Mouth has always been the number 1 recommendation in all YP research. The interesting thing here though is that online consumer opinion now equals the online Yellow Pages sites (which is presumably in the branded site category). I think that if this research had been conducted 2 years ago it would not have been the case.

  9. Greg Sterling Says:

    I’m not so sure you can equate the two Kate. But I don’t have any insight into the definition of “branded websites.” I’d have to go back to Nielsen and ask for that.

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