IndiaPRWire reports that recommendations by personal acquaintances is the most trusted form of advertising by Indian respondents garnering 93 percent votes, according to the latest quarterly Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries. Editorial content such as newspaper articles and Brand websites follow with 87 and 78 percent votes respectively.

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More so, if you’re wondering what’s the state of Indian online advertising w.r.t. traditional ones, then you might have to wait for some more time for a brighter headaway since Nielsen also concluded that though Consumer opinions posted online is gaining in trust the world over, in India the traditional forms of advertising are still ahead, like ads in newspapers and TV (77 & 76 percent respectively). 74 percent Indian respondents trust Consumer opinion posted online making it the sixth most trusted form of advertising in India. Ads in magazines are trusted by 73 percent Indian respondents.

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So the top 3 forms of advertising which garnered the maximum trust from consumers are:

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1. Personal recommendation

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2. Editorial content (e.g. newspaper article)

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3. Brand Websites

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Have some degree of trust in the following forms of advertising in April 2009

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What’s interesting to note in this survey is that Text ads on mobile phones, though the least trusted form of advertising by Indian respondents surveyed, saw the second highest increase in terms of rising trust, increasing from 24 percent in April 2007 to 43 percent in April 2009.

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Forms of advertising ranked by changes in levels of trust from April 2007 to April 2009

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Also if we look into the charts, one trend comes out to be quite prominent i.e. digital media is gaining traction as for example, from the charts above, Brand Sponsorships has increased 20% (highest change in last 2 years) with Search engine ads and online banners ads increased 9% and 8% respectively. Though it’s not much but surely its moving in the right direction.

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It also shows that despite the authority of word of mouth when it comes to decision-making advertisers still have a major say in the process. Advertisers can take a clue from the regional differences existing in consumer trust of different media forms to position their ads accordingly. The website and the process of monitoring feedback through it, is a golden opportunity for advertisers to shape the tone and content of consumer opinion before it reaches the digital masses and also make their messaging more realistic based on consumer feedback as rightly pointed out by Vatsala Pant, Associate Director, Consumer Research, The Nielsen Company.

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But surely online display advertising needs to be made more appealing in terms of execution (be it creative or platform driven) to the consumers so that it can gain greater trust amongst users. But if we were to judge from the status quo then surely there is still a long way to go before advertising revenues shift from traditional forms of media to the Internet in India till it makes a significant mark on consumer attitude.

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Note: Trust in Advertising (Download link)