It also found that recommendations by personal acquaintances and opinions posted by consumers online are rated just as highly.
The bi-annual survey of over 25,000 internet consumers from 50 countries found that 70% of respondents turned to brand websites as the most trusted form of advertiser-led advertising.
The “trust in advertising” element of the survey was first conducted in April 2007 and the two years since then reveals that brand sponsorship has seen the greatest increase in levels of trust from 49% of internet consumers in April 2007 to 64% in April 2009.
Brand sponsorships are closely followed by ads before movies which have increased from 38% to 52%.
Further, the survey found that 90% of internet consumers worldwide trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trust consumer opinions posted online.
Although brand websites score highly among internet consumers, the survey reveals that other forms of digital advertising are trusted less than ads appearing in traditional media such as TV billboards, radio, magazines and newspapers.
Text ads on mobile phones (24%), online banner ads (33%), online video ads (37%) and ads in search engine results (41%) are the forms of advertising least likely to elicit a degree of trust.
The Nielsen Company president of online, international, Jonathan Carson, says the explosion in consumer-generated media (CGM) over the last couple of years means consumers’ reliance on word of mouth in the decision-making process has increased significantly.
He adds: “However, we see that all forms of advertiser-led advertising, except ads in newspapers, have also experienced increases in levels of trust and it’s possible that the CGM revolution has forced advertisers to use a more realistic form of messaging that is grounded in the experience of consumers rather than the lofty ideals of the advertisers.”