Leisure marketing: Does advertising on the internet make your brand less trustworthy?

The quality and relevance of online content, and the quality of the user experience offered by the sites you advertise on, will directly affect how visitors to that site react to your brand.

If you’ve read your favorite marketing blog or listened to a presentation from your advertising agency in the last year, you’ve probably heard the following statistic:

More people trust consumer opinions posted online (70%) more than they do TV commercials (62%).

That insight came from the April 2009 Nielson Global Online Consumer Survey, and the chart below is the one most bloggers and agencies like mine use to illustrate the point, and segue into a sales pitch demonstrating our expertise in social and emerging media.

But if you study the chart above just a little bit more closely, what you find  is that people trust traditional media like TV commercials, newspaper ads,billboards and radio commercials more than they do banner ads, mobile text ads and even emails that they signed up for!

Of course there are good explanations for some of these lower scores. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just look in your e-mail spam folder for your latest offer from your friendly Canadian online Viagra dispensary. Or check out that blinking “Congratulations! You’re our 1 millionth visitor!” message that suddenly appears after you accidentally disable your pop up blocker.

So what am I saying here?  That  advertising on the internet  makes your leisure brand less trustworthy?  If you’re not careful, YES!

Any good media planner will tell you that when placing online or traditional ads, content and context are king. In other words, the quality and relevance of the content, and the quality of the user experience offered by the sites you advertise on, will directly affect how visitors to that site react to your brand.

So if your online media network is splattering your good name over sites people only land on when they misspell a URL, than yes, you’ve put your brand at risk.

Let’s also not forget, as we gaze at the dazzling possibilities of these emerging media, that some traditional media outlets may offer better content and context for our brands. And some of these incredible online media opportunities may turn out to be not very credible at all.

I’ll close with some advice my mother once gave me: “If you park a Mercedes in a garbage dump, it’s going to get dirty.”

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