iVillage Study: Women’s Online Communities Trusted Far More than Social Networks

Women trust other women, but not so much for social networks. That’s the basic premise behind Women Like Me, a proprietary study from iVillage, conducted with Burke. Among its findings:

• 51 percent of respondents said they trust women’s online communities for information on products and brands, compared with 14 percent of social-network users who trust social networks for the same purpose.

• 47 percent of women’s community users say women’s online communities provide connections to the right people for advice on products and brands, versus 16% of social-networks users.

• Women’s communities were the highest-rated measured channel by their users in terms of trust, at 49 percent, with portals at 46 percent, and social networks tallying just 24 percent.

• In terms of relevance, women’s community users scored 47 percent, compared with 24 percent for portals and 18 percent for social networks.

• In terms of value, the figures were 45 percent, 25 percent, and 15 percent, respectively.

iVillage executive vice president Jodi Kahn said:

Women spend an enormous amount of time online doing their brand homework before they even enter a store. In today’s post-recession world, brand loyalty is at risk, and authenticity is more important than ever. Marketers cannot underestimate the value of a trusted online environment, where women connect with others just like themselves. This is the ideal platform to find engaged consumers, who are more likely to seek brand recommendations and research new products.

VP of research and analytics Jim DeMarco added:

The key to engendering trust and establishing relevance online is aggregating women around the right topics and inviting marketers to be adjacent to that content and part of the conversation. The bottom line is, in order for marketers to instill trust in their own brands, they need to align with media platforms that enjoy a high level of trust among their users.