As a social business agency one of our roles is to help clients understand the role and influence of social media.
One of our favourite points of reference is the Nielsen survey which asks “What degree of trust do you place in the following forms of advertising?”
In 2009 (charted here) we saw that the top three were:
1. Recommendations from people you know (90%) – this is the nirvana of all marketing…. positive word of mouth.
2. Consumer opinions posted online (70%) – ie. recommendations from people you don’t know but have a common interest with.
3. Brand websites (70%) – brands stepping up to be transparent, informative and collaborative.
In the world of BOUGHT, OWNED & EARNED media the top 2 fall under EARNED which we define as “the reputation you earn by virtue of your actions.” The tools which underpin EARNED are typically Facebook, Blogs, Twitter & forums. Brand websites fall under OWNED.
TV came in as the most trusted paid-for advertising (62%) right down to text ads on mobile phones (24%).
Three years on, the gap between EARNED and BOUGHT is further opening up as TV and other paid-for media fall away on the trust front.
Worth noting is that ’emails signed up for’….which presumably means newsletters, holds its ground from ’09 at 50% to raise itself above all paid-for media in ’12. Editorial content has lost ground from 69% to 58%.
Branded websites too have fallen away from 70% to 58% and to me this is symptomatic of the underperformance of expectations that consumers have of brand websites. Every day we all come across websites which are too static, too wordy and too self important leaving us feeling undernourished and wanting.
The key take out here is that the opportunity cost of embarking on a social business strategy is low.
Money invested in paid for/BOUGHT media goes much further in an EARNED environment. For example 1 x 30 sec network spot in “The Voice” on Channel 9 is now purportedly selling for $100,000 +. This spot has the potential to reach approx 16% people (all adults aged 14+) just once. Alternatively $100,000 in the EARNED environment can fund the development and part implementation of a social business consumer advocacy programme for the longer term.
If we agree that trust is a “top 3” issue in marketing then why wouldn’t you at least explore the potential that a social busines strategy can deliver? A little bit of paid-for media goes a long way in EARNED. We’d be the first to agree that paid-for media still delivers the numbers and you do need it in the mix to drive awareness but you can have your cake and eat it with social.
Be interested in your views.
You can find the full Nielsen report here