Word-of-Mouth the Most Powerful Selling Tool; Traditional Media Advertising Still More Credible than Online Ads

Nielsen just released the results of their Nielsen Online Global Consumer Study (found via Eric Baillargeon’s blog). In it, “Nielsen (…) surveyed consumers on their attitudes toward thirteen types of advertising – from conventional newspaper and television ads to branded web sites and consumer-generated content.” Excerpts:

The Nielsen survey (…) found that while new platforms like the Internet are beginning to catch up with older media in terms of ad revenues, traditional advertising channels continue to retain the public’s trust. Ads in newspapers rank second worldwide among all media categories, at 63 percent overall, while television, magazines and radio each ranked above 50 percent. (…)

Nielsen Online Global Consumer Survey - all media

Although consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78 percent of the study’s respondents, Nielsen research found significant national and regional differences regarding this and other mediums. Word of mouth, for example, generates considerable levels of trust across much of Asia Pacific. Seven of the top ten markets that rely most on “recommendations from consumers” are in this region, including Hong Kong (93%), Taiwan (91%) and Indonesia (89%). At the other end of the global spectrum, Europeans, generally, are least likely to trust what they hear from other consumers, particularly in Denmark (62%) and Italy (64%).

The reliability of consumer opinions posted online – which rated third, at 61 percent overall – also varies throughout the world, scoring highest in North America and Asia, at 66 and 62 percent respectively. Among individual markets, web-based opinions such as Blogs are most trusted in South Korea (81%) and Taiwan (76%), while scoring lowest, at 35 percent, in Finland.

What it means: a few weeks ago, I blogged about the fact that word of mouth might actually be the biggest opportunity directory publishers have seen in the last few years given that the Web was becoming a big word of mouth machine. These numbers clearly show that i) traditional word of mouth is still the most trusted source of advertising and ii) online word of mouth is not far behind. It’s also interesting to note the differences in the various geographical areas.

Mobile Social Networking: Who’s Who in New Start-ups

TechCrunch offers a list of new start-ups operating in the space they call “the holy grail of mobile social networking”: “physical presence detection and information exchange with other users.”

Aka-Aki (Germany): “create a profile and download the java app to your phone. You can also create and join groups that say things about your life, job, etc. When you are near other people who are members, data about you is transmitted to them via bluetooth, and vice versa. Users have control over data flow with privacy settings.”

Imity (Denmark): “it detects other members via bluetooth and send basic profile information to your phone. It also keeps track of people on its website, so you can check that out periodically from your normal computer. It’s bridges mobile and traditional social networks, which may help it gain critical mass.”

MeetMoi (USA): “it uses text messaging to help connect people. It’s dating focused – text your location to the service and it notifies other users in your area that you are there. If they are interested, they can contact you.”

MobiLuck (France): it “is another bluetooth solution similar to Aka-Aki and Imity. Download the software to your phone and it vibrates when other users are nearby. You can then chat with them, send photos, etc.”

BrightKite (USA): “serves location based notifications (”place streaming”) over email, instant messaging of text messages. The idea is to stream content about a place, from a place. Friends are alerted when you are nearby. You receive offers from local businesses. Etc. Targeted towards conferences, bars, parties and public places. It is also a platform for third party applications.”

What it means: Talking about critical success factors, TechCrunch mentions that “what’s harder is just plain getting a critical mass of users.” I would answer that’s only one side of the equation. The other one is monetization and I believe local advertising plays a key role there. If you operate a local play, you should be thinking hard about your mobile strategy today. My gut feeling is that we’re 18-24 months from real breakthroughs in local mobile advertising but, when that happens, it might become a very important source of revenues. How big? The Kelsey Group just released a report on US mobile search advertising revenues and they forecast that it will reach $1.4B in 2012.

EADP Conference: Eniro and User-Generated Content

Barcelona Arts Hotel

At the EADP conference last week, I had the chance to listen to a great presentation by my friend Christer Pettersson from Eniro, the Nordic Countries directory publisher. Their online strategy has always been very progressive but this presentation has convinced me that they are amongst the most innovative directory publishers worldwide.

Here are the highlights:

  • They’ve introduced moderated reviews and ratings within their directory site a year ago with great success. They want this database to become a new competitive advantage that cannot be easily replicated by competition. They offer an opt out for merchants who don’t want it but very few have done it. Some advertisers even include their review scores within their print ad! Users love it.
  • They now offer free user-generated classifieds
  • Eniro acquired 50% of Bubblare.se, the Swedish YouTube. They’re placing a bet on the explosion of online video advertising and want users and advertisers to upload videos.
  • They want to encourage tagging
  • They want people to upload pictures and are introducing picture navigation
  • They want users to update/improve their residential listings
  • They’ve launched a corporate blog

Update: just before publishing this post, I received news that Eniro had acquired Krak.dk for 400M DKK ($72M). According to what I’m reading (my Danish is quite poor…), Krak.dk is one of the leading local search and mapping site in Denmark.

What it means: Eniro has clearly decided they would experiment with all sorts of Web 2.0 applications and features within their network of sites. Kudos!

Eniro Buys 48.1 Percent of Bubblare.se, a Video Site

Found on TheLocal.se:

Eniro has acquired 48.1% of the shares in Netclips AB, which owns Sweden’s answer to YouTube, bubblare.se. Eniro, the leading search company on the Nordic market, will also receive an option to acquire the remaining 51.9% of the shares. At bubblare.se, users can view others’ home videos and upload their own. Traffic figures released in September showed that Bubblare.se had up to 30 times more viewers for Scandinavian film clips than YouTube.

“We see exciting opportunities in video communities, video searches and video advertising. With this acquisition, we can increase the dynamic content of our services, primarily on our portals, but also in search services, such as eniro.se. Bubblare.se is a popular site in Sweden and will generate additional traffic to Eniro’s other services,” said Cecilia Geijer, Vice President of Eniro, in a statement.

Bubblare.se was started on September 1, 2006 and is also established in Norway, Finland and Denmark. The site operates along the same lines as YouTube. The only difference is the language.

What it means: Eniro, the directory publisher from the Nordic Countries, strikes again and acquires a user-generated video site. Given that they also operate a popular search engine & portal, this makes complete sense. But I think they’ve clearly positioned themselves in the very hot online video advertising market. As Michael Taylor from the Kelsey Group blog says: “While many think of YouTube and other mainstream video sites such as Yahoo! as the most likely vehicles for online video, why couldn’t online Yellow Pages emerge as a leader?”. I think Eniro made a very forward-thinking acquisition. Bravo!