Posted July 13, 2009 8:34 am by with 13 comments

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It seems like a new report on social media marketing is released weekly. Today, we see a new report from Razorfish–which surely must help with its attempts to find a knight in shining armor.

Aside from Razorfish’s creation of a new Social Influence Marketing (SIM) Score–which measures the reach and sentiment of your brand in social media–there’s nothing earth-shattering contained in the Fluent report.

Except, perhaps, this:

76% of the 1,000 consumers polled, said they trust their offline friends when making a product purchase decision. Compare that to just 33% who say they trust their online friends!

Clearly, this demonstrates that while social networks might encourage us all to be one big friendly social network, we’re clinging to our old-school definition of friend. It’s somewhat encouraging to see that we’re not collectively being duped into believing that when we add someone as a "friend" we’re instantly BFFs.

More startling is we trust our online friends less than we trust TV ads, social network ads, or online reviews. In fact, we barely trust the opinions of our online friends more than we trust banner ads!

This chart sums-up our trust:

You can read the full report here.

  • I would trust an online friend, for example a good forum thread, more than an advertisement.

  • Interesting chart especially in light of the one from last week from Nielsen. That’s the thing about stats – you can make them say anything. The key to it all is what is a friend? Of course I trust my offline friends, but that trust level doesn’t change for that person if they put it online or tell me in person. However, not all of my connections online are friends like that.

    Rob Williams’s last blog post..SEO Explained

  • I’m not quite sure I like how the questions were phrased. What if they asked, “Do you trust your online friends that are like you?” They would have gotten a similar answer to what eMarketer found a while back…. “people like you” are trusted as highly as doctors. I’m not putting a ton of faith into these results but it’s another good datapoint.

    jlbraaten’s last blog post..New Website ROI Tips: Online Goal Setting

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  • @Rob and jibraaten – you are both correct. How you ask a question is key to determining the answers.

  • There are so many different “levels” of online friends that this stat is meaningless IMO.

  • I think it definitely depends on how you define a friend, in both online and offline terms. For example, a lot of my “online friends” are actually more like “online acquaintances” I have never met them, don’t know their real names, where in the world they live or anything. My offline friends I know lots about, and have spent quality in-person time building up trust… so seems like simple reasoning in the statistics.

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  • yeah! true i agree with you andy, i really prefer doing business with my online firends only, coz i know them, how they work, how reliable are they, how good the product is.. etc. coz now a days in iternet it is really difficult to trus someone who is new, coz we have new internet meaketers coming up…

  • For such low levels of trust among online friends, people certainly share a lot of personal and potentially harmful information with their ‘online friends’. Strange how people may consider the trust factor in purchase decisions but not when broadcasting the date + destination of their next vacation!

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  • James Barley

    It’s all a matter of context and semantics like the rest say. In both online and offline environments.

  • I agree with luci. It depends on the definition of friends.

  • Hi,
    Social networking helps people to share information and seek feedbacks from experts. Definitely this would help in informed decision making. Just see the positive side..

    George’s last blog post..Benefits of Sending Bulk SMS