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?