Trust in traditional advertising remains strong while the credibility of online advertising has improved in recent years. This came out in the latest Nielsen ‘Global Survey of Trust in Advertising’. This survey covers 58 countries with more than 29,000 respondents giving feedback on nineteen forms of paid, earned and owned advertising formats.

Across Southeast Asia, consumers placed the highest level of trust in
word-of-mouth endorsements with Philippines leading the way, followed by Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Only two countries in this region,
Thailand and Vietnam fell below the global average.

Television, magazine and newspaper advertisement continue to be among the most-trusted forms of paid advertising. 78% of consumers in the Philippines and 74% in Indonesia trusted TV ads. The global average is 62%. Trust in magazine and newspaper advertising has declined in recent years but in Southeast Asia the majority of markets were higher than the global average.

Trust in online advertising continues to grow as it has done over the past six years. 68% of Indonesia consumers said they trust consumer-consented email messages and levels in Singapore and Malaysia are almost as high. Banner ads also showed a positive shift in trust levels and all ratings across the region were higher than the global average.

“Online ad spend is growing rapidly and, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, is forecast to reach nearly US$34 billion in Asia Pacific by 2015, highlighting advertisers’ growing confidence in online,” said David Webb, Managing Director, Advertising Solutions, Nielsen. “Strengthening trust amongst consumers will serve to further drive this growth.”

Consumers in the region also showed more trust in brand websites since 2007. The exception were those in Singapore.

The content of the advertising is important. Those ads that used real-life situations were the most likely to resonate among Southeast Asian consumers. Value and family oriented ads were also well received as were those
with humour.

“For advertisers, it’s vital that consumers make a memorable and meaningful connection with the brand,” says Webb. “Effectively reaching consumers is predicated upon having a message that favourably impacts consumers when making a purchase decision. Although market nuances exist, comedic relief, relatable situations, and ads that focus on family and health speak to the hearts and minds of consumers in Southeast Asia and generate the most positive response.”