News Center >


5 minute read | October 2015

The most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. Eighty-three percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family, according to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report released today. This level declined one percentage point from 2013 (84% in 58 countries). In Taiwan, recommendations from friends and family also rank first, with eighty-six percent online respondents say they trust recommendations from people they know.

Consumer opinions posted online decreased one percentage point to 71% in 2015 as the second-most-trusted format, remaining in second place from 2013. Owned online channels are also among the most trusted advertising formats. Seven-in-ten survey Taiwan respondents indicate that they trust advertising on branded websites, which rates third in 2015, up one percentage points from 2013. In addition, sixty-two percent of Taiwan respondents trust emails they signed up for, a level that is up two percentage points from 2013.

While there isn’t one simple rule for maximizing advertising effectiveness in a saturated market, understanding how consumers feel about the ads served on the various media platforms they use every day is a good place to start.

“While advertisers have started to follow consumers online, about a third of online advertising campaigns don’t work—they don’t generate awareness or drive any lift in purchase intent,” said Irene Chen, Vice President, Marketing Effectiveness, Nielsen Taiwan. “As consumers are in control of how they consume content and interact with brands more than ever, understanding ad resonance across screens is the only way to successfully drive memorability and brand lift today.”

Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries to gauge consumer sentiment in 19 forms of paid, earned and owned advertising mediums. The results identify the ad formats resonating most strongly with consumers and those that have room to grow.

Despite continued media fragmentation, the proliferation of online formats has not eroded trust in traditional (offline) paid channels. TV, newspapers and magazines remain trusted advertising formats. Close to six-in-10 Taiwan respondents say they completely or somewhat trust TV ads (57%) while magazines (56%) gain more trust, up two percentage points from 2013. Slightly fewer trust ads in newspapers (51%), which fell one percentage point from two years ago.

Trust in paid online and mobile ads has stayed relatively consistent since 2013. Two-in-five of Taiwan respondents say they completely or somewhat trust online videos ads (41%, up one percentage point from 2013), ads served in search engine results (47%, up one percentage point) and ads on social networks (43%, no change). Close to four-in-10 Taiwan respondents trust online banner ads (38%, down three percentage points) and mobile advertising (42%, up two percentage points). Just over one-forth say they trust mobile text ads (27%, down three percentage points).

“Brands have been steadily increasing their digital ad spend as they get increasingly comfortable with digital advertising and measurement, but TV formats still deliver the highest unduplicated reach (i.e., the ad reaches each audience member only once) of 85%-90%,” said Chen. “While digital ads can offer considerable benefits—such as precision-focused campaigns, in-flight adjustments and more creative options—moving from TV to an all-display digital plan is a bold move for any marketer. Consider a mix of both offline and online channels for the best ROI.”

Nielsen’s research shows that trust and action are clearly linked, but credibility is not always a prerequisite to purchase intent. Even lower-trust formats can be extremely effective in driving consumers to the point of purchase.

The same percentage of Taiwan respondents that trust the opinions of friends and family says they take action on these opinions at least some of the time (86% and 87% respectively). Similarly, self-reported trust and action are the same for branded websites (70% and 71% respectively).

For many paid advertising formats, however, self-reported action actually exceeds trust. That is, more consumers say they take action than find the ad trustworthy. This is particularly true for online and mobile formats. Self-reported action exceeds trust by more than double digits for ads served in search engine results (47% trust; 60% take action), online banner ads (38% trust; 54% take action), ads on mobile devices (42% trust; 54% take action), online video ads (41% trust; 52% take action), ads on social media (43% trust; 60% take action), text ads on mobile phones (27% trust; 44% take action), ads in radio (36% trust; 48% take action) and TV program product placements (40% trust; 50% take action).

“The formats where action exceeds trust by the greatest margin share a common attribute: easy access to products/services,” said Chen. “You like it, you buy it. Online and mobile formats make it exceptionally easy for consumers to live in the moment and take quick action on the advertisement. Often, consumers simply click a link and they’re directed to a place where they can receive more information or purchase the item.”

About the Nielsen Global Survey
The Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising was conducted between Feb. 23 – March 13, 2015, and polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The sample has quotas based on age and sex for each country based on its Internet users and is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers. It has a margin of error of ±0.6%. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion. The Nielsen Global Survey, which includes the Global Consumer Confidence Index, was established in 2005.

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement, as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit