Trust Badges and Conversion Rates

8 replies
Most of us have probably trained our eyes to ignore the HackerSafe, BBBOnline, TrustE, etc. type badges and shields that are designed to "instill trust in buyers" and blah blah blah. Personally I've always thought they were B.S., although there are some statistics that show they have an impact on low information buyers.

Long story short, I just wrapped up a 6 month-long multivariate test with three variations, spanning over over nearly 1 Million unique visitors. I was pretty surprised by the results. In this test, visitors were served one of 4 variations of the landing page, in an even rotation, and the server tracked the conversion rates of each page.

Version 1: No trust badges.
Version 2: "Stolen" (non-clickable) TrustE and HackerSafe badges - just a saved image loaded from our server.
Version 3: "Actual" TrustE and HackerSafe badges, purchased and properly configured for this site.
Version 4: HonestyinCommerce.com and UpFront Badges (free ones anyone can use) instead of the Hackersafe and TrustE Badges - fully clickable and configured correctly for the site.

EVERYTHING ELSE on the page was identical - same offer, same layout, same traffic sources (mostly Google directly). This was the only variate being tested, and this was a well known brand selling a single physical product with shopping cart/checkout functionality. Want to take a guess at the conversion rates?

Version 1 (none): 4.3% (baseline conversion)
Version 2 (fake): 4.8%
Version 3 (real): 4.9%
Version 4 (free): 5.1%

I'm pretty shocked to say the least - I figured that the TrustE and HackerSafe-badged pages would perform better (and I've written about this before), but I was pretty surprised that the "fake" and "real" versions had basically no measurable difference. People are SEEING the fake ones, but they aren't CLICKING them - or if they do try to click it and it doesn't work, it didn't affect their purchase decision at all.

Also surprised to see that the page with the free ones out-performed the paid ones (which I think were about $1,500 per year each) - could this be because people have trained themselves to ignore the hackersafe/truste ones, since we see them everywhere, and the less-mainstream ones stand out more?

I mean, the conversion rate was essentially 18% higher just by putting a free trust badge on the site.

Anyone else have experiences like these?
#badges #conversion #rates #trust
  • Profile picture of the author RatRaceWatch
    Never thought about looking into that, but those are some pretty big differences in conversion rates especially with traffic on that scale.

    With e-commerce and online transactions becoming more common as the brick and mortar stores get shut down, people are going to want more security and a show of good faith that any transactions done on a website are protected.
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  • Profile picture of the author Broyde
    Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

    some statistics that show they have an impact on low information buyers.
    Do you mean by this information that is low priced? The cost of the item would also have an impact on people's trust in the badge I think. I think that if I was buying something expensive then I would want to make sure that the trust badges link to a buyer protection bureau.
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    • Profile picture of the author ronrule
      Originally Posted by Broyde View Post

      Do you mean by this information that is low priced? The cost of the item would also have an impact on people's trust in the badge I think. I think that if I was buying something expensive then I would want to make sure that the trust badges link to a buyer protection bureau.
      This was a $99 power tool. By "low information" I mean buyers who aren't internet/web people and don't understand that sticking a badge on your site that says youre honest doesn't mean some third party is actually supervising your operation.

      The data seems to suggest that any "third party validation" gives buyers a nod that there is some assurance their transaction is safe, whether they know anything about the trust provider or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
    ronrule owns the service that won and failed to disclose it. This of course leads one to question whether or not there was even a test or if the figures were fabricated.

    Mods - please leave this thread up so that Ron can publicly address this.
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    • Profile picture of the author ronrule
      Originally Posted by DubDubDubDot View Post

      SPAM thread

      ronrule owns the service that won and failed to disclose it. This of course leads one to question whether or not there was even a test or if the figures were fabricated.
      There are no links in this thread, what are you talking about? I don't own the site that was tested (client site, infomercial product advetised on TV and received mostly branded searches). Didn't mention it by name either. My company does own HiC (which has been around since 2010, also not linked to, nor promoted), but not UpFront. Both were used in the test so as not to appear biased with the client. This was a test to determine if there was any difference in free vs. paid trust badges, and any difference between "correctly linked" trust badges and just displaying the image. Not really sure why you would call it spam, but I can edit the original post to clarify if it makes you feel better. :rolleyes:
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      • Profile picture of the author DubDubDubDot
        Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

        I don't own the site that was tested
        The "test" wasn't about the sites these badges were on; it's about the badges themselves.

        Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

        Not really sure why you would call it spam,
        Because this doesn't have the same ring to it:
        "Hey everyone! My FREE trust badge service converts better than paid options! See the proof and then go sign up!!!!!"
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Yes, you figured out my evil plan to stage an elaborate build-up it up and then not link to it :rolleyes: Not sure what you're trolling for, but looking at your other posts it seems to be a pattern with you. Try contributing something of value once in a while instead of calling everyone who's trying to contribute "spammers", it will make you look like less of an ass.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I learned about similar results from Andy Jenkins (Stompernet?)
    about 5 years ago and since then have used the badges. Even
    wrote the copy for one of those companies so I did the research
    as well. But the free vs. paid badges results surprised me.

    Thanks for sharing these results.

    -Ray Edwards
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