This year’s Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 companies has brought to light that reviews and recommendations from friends are by far the most trusted forms of information that consumers receive. 90% of those surveyed said that they trusted reviews and recommendations from friends while a surprising 70% said that they trust reviews that they find online from people they do not know. Also surprising is the fact that 70% of those surveyed trusted the information that they get from brand websites.Taken together these two bits of information paint a picture of the consumer experience in which the brand website and online reviews clearly work together to wield a great deal of influence. Also, giving your consumers the power to bring your brand to their friends with the any of a variety of types of social content is exceedingly important. Also interesting to point out is the fact that consumers trust advertising messages in general has gone up in the past three years since the survey first started tracking trust.
I’m surprised by the trust consumers have in reviews online since some reviews are clearly shills placed bymarketers. Apparently this is phenomenon is not prevalent enough to turn people off. However, as more marketers hear stats like those in the Nielsen study, how long will it be before the amount of advertiser driven reviews erodes the trust that consumers have in this information? Where will the consumer focus their trust at that point?