Indians Trust YouTube and WhatsApp more than Facebook or Twitter: New Realities Study by FCB Cogito

The New Realities study in India is its sixth year. Over 600 online interviews (per country) were conducted in seven countries, as a part of the study.

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Updated: Nov 20, 2017 9:30 AM

YouTube and WhatsApp have emerged as top two most trusted social media platform outranking popular social media channels like Facebook, Google +, Twitter and even Instagram. According to the New Realities study, a global research study IPG partnered by FCB Cogito in India, YouTube and WhatsApp are consolidating their positions as platforms for influencing consumers and advocacy in India. 

“In the States, there are increasing questions about Twitter and Facebook as trustworthy platforms,” said Terry Peigh, Senior Vice President, Managing Director at Interpublic. He further added that the rise of YouTube is partly because people are now looking at social media platforms beyond just Twitter and Facebook. 

“People were concerned about trust earlier, but now after the US elections and the alleged Russian involvement in the elections, people are really very concerned,” he said. Calling fake news, a danger to democracies across the world, Peigh said, “People are really worried about fake news, and that raises the bar for companies like Twitter and Facebook to be really open and swift with their messaging.”

Explaining the consumer’s thought process behind this finding, Vidyadhar Wabgaonkar, president, FCB Cogito, said, “On YouTube, the trust is high and they tend to trust what they can watch. In WhatsApp’s case, commercial activity is barred, so trust is high.”

These findings also indicate that Indian consumers tend to attach high credibility to their friends, family and experts over celebrities. 77 per cent of surveyed consumers said that they trust friends and family, another 77 per cent placed high trust on experts, while only 56 per cent said that they trust celebrities. These data points suggest a strong affinity for micro-influencers who can advocate on behalf of brands.

It’s not just the people that trust micro-influencers, it makes fiscal sense as well. In fact, according to the study, the earned value of a dollar in influencer marketing is $14.30 in the food products category, $12.5 in tourism, $12.2 in personal care and $11 in groceries. 

While there is a trust deficit in brands, the digital medium has a solution to bridge this trust gap. “The digital medium had increased the ease with which people can find information about products. That has also made it easier for people to have passion about information and advocate that information,” noted Peigh. The availability of information is increasing satisfaction for customers towards brands, the study found.

The study specific to India also found that Indian consumers are very passionate about brands. “India leads all countries studied when it comes to consumers feeling valued by friends for their knowledge about products; in leading all countries in giving brand opinions to friends and in viewing brand names as more important than ever before. I’d say that today’s Indian consumer is perhaps the world’s most passionate and involved consumer,” said Peigh about the Indian consumer.

The New Realities study in India is in its sixth year. The study began in 2009. The methodology includes the study fields quantitative research in several countries, including China, US, England, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia. Over 600 online interviews (per country) were conducted in seven countries as a part of the study.

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