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Trust Seals
Do Trust Seals help, are they worth the cost?
reuben




msg:3501833
 11:20 pm on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

There has been some discussion in the forum about the value of trust seals and I wanted to post the results of some testing that's been done on my site.

I use trust seals from one particular company and they have proven to me without a doubt that trust seals work. As visitors come to my site one can see the seals and the next one can't.

Here are the results for the active split test from the last 10 days.

Status, Views, Sales, Percentage, Increase
Seals off, 775, 19, 2.45%
Seals on, 776, 37, 4.77%, 94%

Anyway, those of you who have said it's not worth it may want to reconsider. I suggest that you try testing various seals on your site. And, why not test them against each other? I know they are not cheap, but I know without a doubt that they are worth it.

Hope this helps...

Regards,
Reuben

[edited by: lorax at 9:42 pm (utc) on Nov. 12, 2007]
[edit reason] removed company name [/edit]

 

jsinger




msg:3501864
 12:54 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

May say more about your site being very untrustworthy-looking before you added the seal.

Welcome to WebmasterWorld. That's quite a post for your first one. (Post numbers represent a sort of trust seal, too)

I stripped off most trust seals from our site two years ago and saw no drop. Not one customer, among tens of thousands, mentioned our lack of seals.

reuben




msg:3501891
 2:27 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi jsinger,

Thanks for the welcome. :-)

It's funny you should say that, because Hacker Safe called me the other day to try and get me to buy their seal, and one of the points they made is that larger more established sites tend to see less of a difference, which may be why you didn't see a big change in your sales. You say you did not lose one customer. I'm wondering if you did split testing? Because that is the only way I know of to be sure if it really makes a difference or not.

As you can see from my stats my site converts over 2% without a trust seal, which I thought was really good all these years. I've worked hard to get decent traffic to my site. Who would have thought that taking the time to add some seals to my site would almost double my sales. Definitely not me. I don't know if that would happen in everyone's case, but I know without a doubt it would be worth testing.

The reason for the long post is, I've been following the thread about Trust Seals and it was all negative and I have had such a good experience I thought I should speak up.

[edited by: lorax at 9:44 pm (utc) on Nov. 12, 2007]

jwolthuis




msg:3501923
 3:41 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

We appreciate your candid results regarding your A-B testing over the last ten days. But waht is not clear is whether you are promoting <snip> specifically, or trust seals in general.

Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

[edited by: lorax at 9:45 pm (utc) on Nov. 12, 2007]

jsinger




msg:3501960
 5:57 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well if you're not in the trust seal business, we all welcome your A/B test results. Wish we had more of them on here.

I'm not sure your results on only 56 sales is statistically definitive. It's certainly POSSIBLE to flip 56 coins and come up heads 37 times.

[edited by: lorax at 9:47 pm (utc) on Nov. 12, 2007]

reuben




msg:3501967
 6:26 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the heads up, I'll go back and edit my post. As for the stats, I would be glad to update the results from my site every few weeks if anyone's interested.

Also, I looked at Hacker Safe. They show a 15% average increase on their site, but I couldn't afford them. Besides I don't need PCI scanning which is what they do.

reuben




msg:3501968
 6:29 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

It looks like my time to edit the post is past. Maybe the mod for this thread can fix it for me.

Thanks,
Reuben

Ledfish




msg:3502055
 11:14 am on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have looked at this a few times and I have also had a few calls from people trying to sell me on the hacker safe seal. Problem is that once I do an ROI analysis and look at the extra dollars it would bring in rather than just the percentages, the seal does not appear to pay for itself based on the cost they are quoting.

[edited by: lorax at 9:49 pm (utc) on Nov. 12, 2007]

oziman




msg:3502076
 12:41 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

If anyone is interested we can start doing some split testing next week (we're revamping our entire shopping process so want to see what the numbers are like before we start split testing specific issues).

Cheers.
oz

vincevincevince




msg:3502078
 12:44 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd be interested in seeing split testing of a 'real' seal vs. an unlinked image of the same seal vs. a designer-created seal.

oziman




msg:3502081
 1:05 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd venture close to none:-)
The only seal we have is the seal that came with our SSL and that's more for PPC stuff..

As for testing, when everything else is in place I'll post a note or sticky you.

jsinger




msg:3502149
 3:14 pm on Nov 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

*IF* a seal really made such a stunning difference, I would look for other site problems.

Seals have long existed for hotels and restaurants. But a shabby, dirty looking place would benefit more from displaying a quality seal than an establishment that radiates trust on its own. Most posters here probably run sites with a "5-star" look.

trinorthlighting




msg:3502691
 1:09 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

The only seal we have had very good luck and actually saw an increase of sales was the better business beaureu seal. That one worked well for us.

p5gal5




msg:3502836
 4:21 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I also agree that a greater increase in conversion may come to a site that doesn't look as professional.

I recently did a homepage redesign and saw an increase of 22% in conversion. I couldn't decide where to put my reliability seals, so I just left them off in the interim. 2 weeks later, I decided to put them (innocuously enough) in the header. Seals I have:
- BBBOnline
- Hackersafe
- Customer Service chat icon
- Bizrate rating (highest-rated smiley-face)

Conversion rate went down 17%.

I thought to myself, was this decrease in conversion because these items were in the header? That it distracted from products/categories? So I put the seals across an aesthetically-pleasing, evenly-spaced row slightly below-the-fold for the average enduser.

Conversion rate went down 23%.

Needless to say, I've left all credibility seals off the homepage. I've left them on internal pages (for now), but it's more because of 1. attachment to the seals (they're supposed to mean something...right?) and 2. pain-in-the-a** factor of testing across multiple pages and subdomains (cart.site.com as opposed to www.site.com).

ccDan




msg:3502956
 6:10 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Conversion rate went down 17%.

I think the various seals can make a site look spammy and less trustworthy.

It's like going to a B&M business. Would you prefer to do business with the company that looks neat and organized or the one with a bunch of clutter all over the place, even if awards and trusty memberships are among the clutter?

Clean and simple trumps clutter.

Those trust seals just give the potential customer one more distraction from making a purchase. If your site emanates trustworthiness without trust seal, that feeling of trust is in the potential customer's subconscious mind. By then hitting them with a trust seal, you bring the matter of trust into their conscious mind. In so doing, you are giving them a reason to consider not trusting you rather than the other way around.

And that can explain a drop in the conversion rate.

Conversely, I agree with others that if a trust seal increases your conversation rate, there is likely something else about your site that the trust seal compensates for. It may more cost-effective to try to figure out what was wrong with the site and fix it, rather than to spend extra money compensating for an unknown defect.

reuben




msg:3503021
 7:20 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm not saying all seals are going to make a difference and who knows, the combination of seals might be making a difference. All I know is that trust seals are making a big difference for me.

It might help to know that I sell religious products, so the trust factor should already be higher. Right?

Is my site beautiful (honestly no) but as I said before it is converting over 2% without seals so it can't be that bad. I guess what I'm saying is suggesting my results are because of a bad site doesn't seem fair.

FYI, I've added the seals to another site and started to test the results which already look favorable. I will be glad to post the results from both sites here every Friday if that's ok.

Thanks,
Reuben

jsinger




msg:3503041
 7:42 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

It might help to know that I sell religious products, so the trust factor should already be higher. Right?

Religion plus fairly low priced products would engender trust, yes. I work near two religious goods stores and never saw a BBB window sticker on either. It would add nothing.

2% conversion is good. 4.7% (i think that's the number you gave) is astounding and **suggests** you're just getting one of those random streaks of very good luck that make us all feel like geniuses for a time :)

Consider becoming a WebmasterWorld financial supporter and asking for a site review. No one is bashing your site; we haven't seen it. Just throwing out thoughts.

Rugles




msg:3503105
 9:03 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

It might help to know that I sell religious products, so the trust factor should already be higher. Right?



Not sure why you would think that. There has been plenty of fraud in the religious areas of commerce.

[edited by: lorax at 9:50 pm (utc) on Nov. 12, 2007]

jsinger




msg:3503151
 9:48 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not sure why you would think that. There has been plenty of fraud in the religious areas of commerce.

I know, but I didn't want to go off on such an incendiary tangent.

I've said on here, similarly, that **I** personally see BBB seals as a warning that someone might have something to hide. But my fraud shields are usually in battle mode.

I'd be VERY leery of a stock broker who was always quoting scripture. Buying a $20 bible online is not the same as investing 20k with a slick-haired WWJD financial adviser. I haven't heard of anyone getting short changed by buying a bible missing Deuteronomy or Mark :)

[edited by: jsinger at 10:16 pm (utc) on Nov. 12, 2007]

reuben




msg:3503155
 9:51 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wow, you guys are a hard crowd. ;-)

I just looked around at different seals and decided based on cost, look and guarantee.

lorax




msg:3503160
 9:55 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Danger Will Robinson... Please avoid plugging any company or product here folks - keep your numbers generic like the opening post. If you want to compare specific company results, please do so off the board. Thanks.

menial




msg:3503167
 10:08 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

[edit reason] removed company name [/edit]

That nicely sums it up.. I don't believe trust seals are worth the money - if they were cheaper (like the annual cost of SSL, for example), that could make a difference. I remember there was another member here who wanted to prove that his sales went 150% just because of a seal..

ccDan




msg:3503172
 10:12 pm on Nov 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've said on here, similarly, that **I** personally see BBB seals as a warning that someone might have something to hide. But my fraud shields are usually in battle mode.

"If a man speaks of his honor, make him pay cash."
~Mark Twain

Works the other way around too, but pay with a credit card that offers you some protection!

reuben




msg:3507326
 3:47 am on Nov 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi All,

Here are the results for the trust seal active split test to Friday 11/16/07.

Status, Views, Sales, Percentage, Increase
Seals off, 1236 35 2.83 %
Seals on, 1236 53 4.29 % 51.6%

The overall increase is down from 94%, but still very good.

The other site I just added trust seals to is currently showing a 18.2% increase. This is site with a newer, sharper look, so that would give some credence to the comment about the look of the site making a difference.

Regards,
Reuben

rocknbil




msg:3507629
 6:20 pm on Nov 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Recent touches on these topics with my clients . . .

I've said on here, similarly, that **I** personally see BBB seals as a warning that someone might have something to hide.

One of my customers insisted on this. In case you don't know, there is a bit of a rigorous process he had to go through to be approved to display the BBB seal on his site. I didn't think it would be worth the trouble. But his memberships increased 10% immediately after using the seal. I suppose it depends on the market, this one was real estate. Which relates to . . . .

A second customer wrote: "I get calls from customers who are concerned because they don't see anything saying the site is secure. Is the site secure?"

The site in question has a 128 bit cert in force on the checkout pages. I explained about the lock icon, then it hit me . . . they are looking for some sort of gizmo or widget on the page that says "we're secure." We all know a graphic is just a graphic, all it does is increase load time - but these things mean something to the less than aware visitors.

Just a benchmark, not everyone visiting is as savvy as a developer.

This is site with a newer, sharper look, so that would give some credence to the comment about the look of the site making a difference.

"Correlation does not equate to causation" (or the other way around) - were your changes only visual or did they improve the usability of the site? :-)

reuben




msg:3507652
 7:06 pm on Nov 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

The new site is a better looking site, but I don't think it is much easier to navigate.

I agree, it seems that some visitors are looking for that extra assurance they get from a trust seal. My tests include three seals; security, privacy and business verification. May be it is the combination of seals that's making a difference. I could have tested one seal by it's self but didn't because... well I just didn't think about it. :-)

jsinger




msg:3507778
 11:22 pm on Nov 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Did this site:
1) have a contact phone?
2) have an 800#
3) list a real contact street address?
4) state sellers experience selling the product?

In my own online shopping I reject any site that doesn't have at least 3 of those 4.

reuben




msg:3508935
 4:57 pm on Nov 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, we have always displayed:
-Our toll free number, top right in the header.
-The full business address in the contact us page and in a link at the bottom of every cart page.
-Information about our service (how long we've been doing business online, our 120 day guarantee, etc.) is on our front page.

arubin




msg:3509476
 5:06 am on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thank you for posting. I love this statistical analysis and post the results of the sort of tests that I conduct on my sites on my blog. But the sample size doesn't allow us to draw any meaningful conclusions. I'll show you why:

Using your second, larger set of numbers:

For your seals off case, at a 90% confident level your margin of error is +/- 4.677% So you can be 90% confident that your actual conversion rate is from 0 - 7.51%

For your case with the seals, at a 90% confident level your margin of error is 4.674% So you can be 90% confident that your actual conversion rate is from 0 - 8.964%

If you want to graph it, the area of overlap is majority of the possibilities.

May sound boring, but basically the variation your seeing will actually translate to a flat or decreased conversion rate a large percentage of the time.

It doesn't take that large a sample for a jump in conversions of the size you are reporting. If you can keep the test running longer you can get some meaningful data. If you can post it again then you'll be doing everyone a service.

reuben




msg:3509492
 5:31 am on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'll post again next Friday.

This 83 message thread spans 3 pages: 83 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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