Someone – you know who you are! – asked me to share this slide from a recent presentation. Instead, I decided to share it on my blog.

Taken from a study released earlier this year by TNS, this slide shows how Asians have a great deal of trust in recommendations given by their friends and family. (Interestingly, some people do not trust their friends and family).

The next level of trust goes to expert product review websites when making a purchase decision, followed by reviews in traditional media. The next level of trust goes back to reviews on websites. This means that the level of trust for Social Media is on a par with that of traditional media when it comes to purchase decisions.

When you look at the level of trust accorded advertisements, consumers have a lower level of trust and higher level of distrust.

The survey included 500 people per market from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand. They were all aged 15–39, male and female who have seen advertisements using digital media before.

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21 comments

  1. It will be interesting to see;
    1) the number of people surveyed
    2) the countries that they are in
    3) the age group
    4) the gender

  2. As an Asian myself, I believe this is true. We get informed through traditional media but we decide through our social peers. Asians want to have an informed decision and resource channels for this comes from: family, friends, online reviews. I would like to add my own insight to this, will talk about you and your blog post when I have the time.

    Just for your added information, Asia, particularly in South East Asia, food, travel and nostalgia are the key niche for grabbing audience from what I see.

  3. anguslau

    I do not any recommendations from friends/family who have took part in any blogger outreach programs from brands and their PRs.

  4. robin

    Personally this model convinces that trusted recommendations from friends and family influences purchase. That is why I feel sites like yellp and mouthshut.com have great valuation and need in society

  5. rosiekim

    i believe those are similiar #'s to the U.S as well. People's opinions rule out advertising , finally!

  6. communicateasia

    Hi Thomas. I am concerned. First, the data gives no indication that the respondents were asked about social media. So, I went to the fill report and it would appear that they were asked about social media, and the truncated data here leaves out all the social media responses. Most social media channels in this study did not score well in the TNS report. Looking at slide 14, consumer opinions in blogs scored modestly, while other forms of social media scored poorly. I am not sure where the wires got crossed, but I am struggling to find data in this report which supports the idea that social media outstrips traditional media. Frankly, I read the data as saying largely the opposite. Have I misread something?

  7. Hi Michael!

    Correct, they were not asked about social media, they were asked about which channels of communication they accord the most trust.

    Specifically, the question was:

    Here is a list of different forms of communication. How much do you trust each of them? Please indicate your overall level of trust to the following forms of communication on a scale of 1 to 3, where 1 means “do not trust”and 3 means “trust completely”.

    Most people have no idea what the term “social media” means. They would not recognize a blog or think “I am now at a blog”. (I still get frequently questioned about what exactly a blog is)

    Consumers would, however, have a sense for what is a “consumer product review from websites”. This might be a blog or a rating on Amazon, all of which are manifestations of social media. Does that make sense?

  8. communicateasia

    Good Morning Thomas. Thanks for the quick reply. I now understand how you are thinking about the TNS data. Perhaps I am being excessively academic? That would not be a surprise. At a purely personal level I am reluctant to look at any survey report and reframe the data in terms of what respondents might have been thinking (or not thinking). TNS should have dealt with such questions at the survey design stage if respondents cannot tell the difference. So if respondents are not likely to distinguish between a website, blog, or social network page, then perhaps such a reading might suggest that we throw out the data? Maybe I am making too much of this, but I really do struggle to see how the results from this question as generally favorable toward social media. Oh well, in another hour it won't matter when I reach the client site. :-) Thanks for keeping the blog going! You are far better than me at keeping all these balls in the air.

  9. Thomas,

    Thanks for bringing Asia based data to light. These figures have been known about American and European consumers for several years now, but we continue to struggle to get valuable data about Asia. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Western and Asia are in two different context all together. Western methods of marketing won't really sell in Asia. Asians tend to rely on experience… rather proof of promise. Ensure that it works, investment worthwhile product to try.

  11. vandutz

    Certainly in China and Singapore there are good reasons not to trust the traditional media, all of which is effectively censored by the government…

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  13. Martinez Sbajko

    Still There is lot in the top slot Indian Social Portals which has great global penetrations, like my Russian and Chinese business associates extensively use Indiavision.com Yellow pages, when I landed in India Tim called me asked to refer this site and locate right parties.

  14. Martinez Sbajko

    Still There is lot in the top slot Indian Social Portals which has great global penetrations, like my Russian and Chinese business associates extensively use Indiavision.com Yellow pages, when I landed in India Tim called me asked to refer this site and locate right parties.

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