A: I don’t know, but I’m going to find out in 2014.

Trust me!

If you’ve ever run a website where you use credit cards as part of the signup process, you no doubt are familiar with the perceived importance of using trust badges to help solidify your online presence. If you’re not familiar, trust badges (aka trust seals) are widgets you add to your website for consumers to get third party validation of your product or service. There are several flavors of badges:

  • SSL certificate provider badges to verify your product employs the necessary encryption to protect data (ex: Verisign, Geotrust, Trustwave)
  • Payment provider badges to verify your product follows payment processing industry standards (ex: Authorize.net)
  • Customer satisfaction badges to show customer happiness collected via surveys and other feedback mechanisms (ex: Bizrate)
  • Business accreditation badges to verify your company is free and clear of consumer complaints (ex: Better Business Bureau)
  • Privacy accreditation badges to verify your company has a privacy policy that is well written and protects consumer privacy (ex: TRUSTe)

We’ve used several of these badges at Signal since 2008 when we added support for self signup. In large part, these badges have always operated in the mode of ‘set it and forget it’. We’d renew the service each year after grumbling a bit about the cost, then forget about it for the next 10-11 months until we received notice that it was time to renew. I recently renewed one of these badges and found myself thinking “It’s 2014, why I am not tracking these things”. So with that, here are three things we’re doing to track effectiveness of these badges going forward:

  1. Measure ROI. We foolishly have not tracked click throughs for these badges until yesterday. Solving this problem was easy, just add trigger a Google Events upon click. Now we’ll be able to measure impressions, clicks and conversions for each button. My guess is we won’t see much data here, but we’ll know soon enough.
  2. Measure conversion. A series of A/B tests should help us understand conversion for signup pages with and without the badges.
  3. Ask for feedback. We’re already asking customers why they chose Signal when they first sign up, why not take a random sample of these respondents and ask them about the badges. I’d like to understand whether or not these badges played a role in their evaluation criteria, or gave them any additional confidence during the signup process.

What’s your experience? Are they worth it?