Nearly 80% of Indian consumers trust the ads they are served, although levels of trust vary considerably across channels, a new industry report has revealed.

A study commissioned by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), and conducted by Nielsen, confirmed that ads on traditional media continue to secure high levels of trust among consumers.

Ads displayed in newspapers (86%) are the most trusted, closely followed by those on TV and radio (83% each), while online video ads are trusted by 72%. Two-thirds (67%) of Indian consumers trust ads on social media, but only half (51%) trust text/SMS messages.

As well as being one of the most trusted channels, TV (94%) is the most common medium for consumption of ads, followed by digital (82%), print (77%) and radio (29%), Campaign India reported.

The study, which was conducted with people across age groups at 20 centres in India, also uncovered two further interesting findings – that viewership of ads on digital is the same in rural areas (82%) as in cities (83%); and that about 70% of respondents say they trust ads endorsed by celebrities.

Respondents also had a very high level of trust for ads from educational institutions (82%) and yet the ASCI found that a significant portion of misleading ads come from the education sector.

Manisha Kapoor, secretary-general of the ASCI said: “ASCI’s job of monitoring the education sector is even more crucial, given these findings. In India, the poorest of people prioritise education spends over other necessities.

“Most educational institutions promise job guarantees or make false claims of being the No 1 or guaranteeing 100% placement without any objective data or evidence. We are doing our best to make sure that such false advertising is removed from the market."

Meanwhile, ISA chairman Sunil Kataria said of the overall findings: “Brands are built on the back of long-term communication with consumers and audiences. It is in the advertisers’ own self-interest to make sure that all communication is honest and truthful, so consumers can trust advertising messages, and thereby, brands.

“This study helps advertisers, agencies, media owners and planners understand what works well and introspect on what needs improvement.”

Sourced from Campaign India, ASCI