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Beyond martech: building trust with consumers and engaging where sentiment is high

4 minute read | November 2021

Brand advertisers have a lot to consider as they plan their strategies and navigate the increasing fragmentation of platforms and channels that consumers are engaging with. Yet while brands can use data to inform messaging, leverage modern martech to improve targeting and measure engagement to gauge performance, there is one facet of marketing that modern technology can’t help with: consumer trust.

Advertising is a vital aspect of the media industry, but marketers know that resonance and effectiveness don’t come easy. In addition to having to think about challenges like brand growth and ad avoidance, marketers need to increasingly focus on building trust with consumers. This is where brands, especially those in North America and Europe, have some work to do, according to Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising Study.

Globally, trust in advertising is lowest in North America and Europe—up to 20% lower than in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. In Asia-Pacific, trust is lower than in the Middle East and LatAm, but higher than in North America. Importantly, a lack of trust means a lack of action when consumers encounter ads. And a lack of action can quickly turn into dislike if a brand repeatedly seeks to engage with distrusting consumers.

So, what’s a brand to do? Step 1, put the consumer first in every strategy, plan and execution. Taking this step will help the most-trusted channel—word-of-mouth—lean in a brand’s favor. According to the trust in ad survey, 88% of global respondents trust recommendations from people they know more than any other channel. What’s more, 50% more people trust recommendations than lesser-ranked channels like online banner ads, mobile ads, SMS messages and SEO ads.

For step 2, brands should think about the channels and platforms where consumers are open and receptive to advertising. While brands shouldn’t abandon their traditional advertising strategies, they do need to focus on where—and how—they can get the greatest returns for their efforts. Below are three ideas.

Consumers are receptive to brand integrations in SVOD programming

In a custom advertising survey Nielsen fielded earlier this year, we found that among video streaming service users, 66% of people 35-49 and 62% of people 18-34 said they’ve taken note of brands being used by the characters in streaming content they’ve watched. Importantly, 52% of consumers 35-49 and 49% of people 18-34 said they are influenced to purchase the products they’ve seen being used in streaming video content.

Brand recall is high in podcast ads

Podcast advertising—particularly when read by the host—drives stronger brand recall punch than more traditional forms of advertisements. For example, Nielsen’s Podcast Ad Effectiveness (PAE) solutions have found that hostread ads drive a brand recall rate of 71%, which subsequently creates high levels of consumer interest, purchase intent and recommendation intent.

Longer ads (60 seconds+) drive even higher lifts among consumers. When it comes to seeking more information about a brand, longer ads are nearly 70% more effective in this category than shorter ones. The lift scores for purchase intent and recommendation intent are both 40% higher for longer ads than shorter ones. Lastly, not only do longer ads generate stronger engagement, they also drive brand recall: nearly three-quarters of listeners were able to recall the brand after hearing a longer ad.

Sponsorships in esports aren’t just for energy drinks

Immersive gaming experiences are a growing opportunity for brands, including those that aren’t closely connected to video game culture. Mastercard, for example, is a brand that few would likely associate with esports, yet it has found notable upside in the space. In addition to reaching an audience that differs from its traditional clientele, Mastercard’s integration in Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship (LCS) series allows players to keep their card on file and use it for in-game e-commerce use.

Recent Nielsen sports research highlights that consumer attitudes toward esports sponsorships are largely positive. In addition, 87% of esports fans can recall at least one sponsor within esports. 


The insights in this article were derived from the following sources:

  • Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising Study was conducted globally in September 2021 and includes online survey responses from more than 40,000 consumers across Latin America, North America, Europe, MENA and Asia-Pacific. Survey respondents were men and women and spanned all major generations: Gen Z, Millennial; Gen X; Baby Boomers; Silent Generation.
  • March 2021 Nielsen Total Audience Report
  • Nielsen Fan Insights
  • Nielsen Podcast Ad Effectiveness solutions

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