Author Topic: Trust Seals - Overhyped?  (Read 579 times)

martinibuster

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Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« on: February 27, 2018, 04:10:11 PM »
I was researching past studies on trust seals and noticed that the actual scientific studies on them don't really conclude that they're the no-brainer conversion factor the industry commonly says they are.

A couple studies I read this morning they concluded that multiple trust seals actually work against conversion goals and that one to two seals perform best. More than one study indicates that multiple trust seals don't really work.

I'm also not seeing anything out of Google that indicates trust seals are useful for conversions. Maybe I haven't found it. But if it doesn't exist, is it because the science is ambiguous about the efficacy of 3rd party trust seals?

ukgimp

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2018, 04:18:11 PM »

martinibuster

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2018, 04:35:29 PM »
Are you being satirical by linking to a Neil Patel published article?  :o

Or are you seriously linking to that as proof of anything?

« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 04:42:07 PM by martinibuster »

ergophobe

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2018, 04:38:18 PM »
Do you mean this sort of thing?

https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/trust-seal-ecommerce/

Quote
A survey conducted by Econsultancy/Toluna confirmed the power of trust seals when it asked participants which factors help them to decide whether or not to trust a website.

No comment


martinibuster

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2018, 04:48:05 PM »
Exactly. That article quotes various surveys. Hardly scientific. Hype.

That article reads as if it is hyping VeriSign.  Not saying it's an infomercial but it sure reads like one. Definitely not a serious inquiry into the efficacy of trust seals. 

Pop SEO produces shallow articles that start with an assumed premise then run with it unquestionably. That's how dubious theories are perpetuated and end up in the mouths of pop marketing gurus.  This discussion is precisely about questioning these ideas that apparently are going unquestioned.

Seriously now.
I've taken an admittedly quick look at actual scientific studies and the whole trust seal thing is looking a little dubious.  Is that why this isn't something Google is on record encouraging, because they are aware of the dubious efficacy of trust seals?

And before someone quips that it's because Google doesn't sell them... don't. That's about as clever as a grandpa joke.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 04:58:10 PM by martinibuster »

DrCool

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2018, 07:01:20 PM »
I know we have done some A/B testing with different seals to see what has an effect on sales and conversion rate. I don't have any of the specifics of the test available but there were some noticeable differences when we showed different seals. Most of our sites have Norton, McAfee, and BBB but our main site is just BBB.

martinibuster

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 07:07:06 PM »
One of the interesting insights I read is that multiple simultaneous seals, typically 3, had no effect.  The assumption is they were ignored.

ergophobe

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2018, 10:10:08 PM »
I'm also not seeing anything out of Google

That's not the type of thing I would expect to see out of Google.

Also, I would say it all depends on context. Is Amazon or Best Buy going to benefit from a Trust Seal? No. They already have trust.

Is a BS diet product going to benefit from a trust seal? No. The people who are falling for their BS don't have any tools to evaluate trust.

Is a big, famous hotel with lots of reviews on Trip Advisor going to benefit? No. People will trust or not trust them based on the TA reviews.

Is a little vacation rental going to benefit? Maybe, though most people, again, are looking at review sites.

Is someone selling sports paraphernalia going to benefit? Maybe. In that case, you have a brand that doesn't have the 99+ percent recognition of Amazon and doesn't have any third-party review sites. So that's the type of business that I think *might* benefit.

Which is my typically long-winded way of saying that anyone who says "Trust seals improve conversions" is probably full of it. But someone who says "Trust seals helped conversions on my site" may be onto something. But since your site isn't her site, what is the value of that info? I think the value is that it tells you it might be worth testing.

And, while I'm ranting, one of the problems with tests is that you need a lot of conversions, because the trust seal is probably going to make only a minor difference and it will take thousands of conversions to see something solid. So to get a conclusion that has any statistical significance and decent statistical power implies a website with a certain volume. On a website I work on for a medium business that does about $10 million/year, we need major changes to see any statistically meaningful effect. We just don't have enough conversions to get significance on anything but the most substantial changes.

martinibuster

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 02:59:57 AM »
Is Amazon or Best Buy going to benefit from a Trust Seal? No. They already have trust.


>>>Is a big, famous hotel with lots of reviews on Trip Advisor going to benefit?

Well, a seal from TA would be a kind of trust seal. And if the reviews are good then they would be helpful in that situation.


>>>In that case, you have a brand that doesn't have the 99+ percent recognition...

Right. And you know, not sure if the trust seal would work at all.

What MIGHT work is a payment seal indicating they accept PayPal. That's a variation of a trust seal, imo.

I feel fine giving up money through PayPal because I can always get my money back if the transaction goes south. In fact, I had that happen once with a fly tying related vendor who didn't deliver and had no way of being contacted. So I got my money back through PayPal.


>>>And, while I'm ranting...

Can you pass me a beer while you're ranting, too? :)

>>>...one of the problems with tests is that you need a lot of conversions...

The survey type studies about this are kind of BS'y. Conversions, imo, are the gold standard for testing those ideas out. 

And that Crazy Egg page, sure reads like sponsored content. But even if it's not, the conclusions they reach are not scientific at all because they didn't test conversions against a control seal (like a fake seal) on it's own, as well as against a real seal. If all three received similar conversion rates that's something  meaningful, it means it doesn't matter what seal you put in there.

If you add two seals and the conversions go down, then that will mean that one seal is better than three seals and that displaying three creates information overload.



ergophobe

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2018, 03:25:34 AM »
Well, a seal from TA would be a kind of trust seal.


Sure. My point, though, was that just a TA seal means little or nothing to people. It's the actual reviews that count.'

Quote
>>>And, while I'm ranting...

Can you pass me a beer while you're ranting, too? :)

If you buy the plane ticket, I'll buy the beer ;-)

But then of course, you might have to listen to a lot of rants even though I've given up The Ranter persona.

ukgimp

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2018, 12:05:10 PM »
Quote
Are you being satirical by linking to a Neil Patel published article?  :o

Or are you seriously linking to that as proof of anything?

I'm reasonably good at science and stats etc :-)

I was not commenting on the merits if that article, just trying to confirm that was what you meant by seals.

I would suggest that is depends on lots of things, very specific to your niche / locale /website. Only way to know for certain would be to test.

ukgimp

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2018, 12:11:23 PM »

martinibuster

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Re: Trust Seals - Overhyped?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2018, 05:52:37 PM »
Good find! That's substantially better!

There's a newer survey they conducted here:

This is very interesting:
Quote
In our 2016 tests we also included a completely “homemade / fake” seal not issued by a 3rd party, with no meaning whatsoever beyond the icon itself. Note how the homemade seal performed significantly better than the SSL seals issued by established vendors except Norton.

That's still just a survey asking people to choose between different seals. So it's considerably less useful than actual shopping cart abandonment A/B bests, pre and post adding a trust seal.

Although one can assume that the results may indicate how consumers might behave at checkout, that's not really actual consumer behavior and so might be going out on a limb to draw conclusions from that kind of study.

Nevertheless, isn't their finding about simply using security icons pretty interesting?