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July 18, 2009

Distrustful of advertising. Russians trust recommendations of friends

Most Russians believe personal recommendations of their friends and acquaintances are the most trustworthy source of information about products and services. This opinion was expressed by 86% of the Nielsen online survey participants interviewed in Russia; 55% of our countrymen trust online references and testimonials of other consumers. Nielsen researchers conclude Russian consumers are more skeptical about advertising than consumers in other countries.
The findings of research conducted among Russian users of the Internet suggest consumers’ trust in most types of advertising is declining. Two years ago 60% of consumers trusted websites of brands, now such share is just 47%. In 2007, 49% of respondents demonstrated their confidence in such a kind of dissemination of product information as sponsorship, whereas in 2009 this number was 41%. In fact, the most dramatic drop of trust was revealed in the traditional types of advertising in Russia: TV, radio and the press. Text ads in mobiles phones gain the lowest trust of consumers: only 25% of world respondents and 7% of Russian respondents trust it; banner ads can be trusted by 33% of world consumers and 9% of Russian consumers; online videos enjoy the confidence of 37% of interviewees in the world and 13% in Russia; ads in search engines are a credible source of information for 41% of respondents in the world and only 16% in Russia.
Jonathan Carson, president of Nielsen Online, believes that despite a significant growth of online audience and the time they spend surfing the Net this industry still has a lot to do to switch ad budgets from traditional advertising formats to digital ones in order to match online ad earnings with the Internet consumption. “Apparently, this will require a turnaround in the manner of presentation of online advertising to enhance its performance for customers and increase its credibility for consumers’, he supposes.
Tatiana Borodina, strategic planning director of Aegis Media group, refers the level of Russians’ trust in advertising to the national mindset. She believes the negative impact of the crisis has nothing to do with the dynamics of ad confidence. “Copy testing should better analyze not the trust but attention of the audience to advertising, the formats and media where ads are most perceptible”, Tatiana Borodina says.
Dmitriy Pisarsky, CEO of ARMI-Marketing, stated a similar opinion during his interview to RBC Daily. He believes the value of the Nielsen findings lies solely in the opportunity to monitor dynamics of these parameters in every next wave of the survey: “Basically, any online and offline consumer survey reveals the same pattern: being directly asked about their trust in sources of information respondents first of all mention advice and recommendations of friends, acquaintances, relatives and colleague consumers”. He says it’s not enough to ask consumers direct questions.  It is necessary to dig into the decision making mechanism of consumers in this category through indirect questions and mediated parameters as well as special mathematical analysis methods.

Alexander Klenin, RBC Daily

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