Trust badges that make a potential buyer feel comfortable and safe about conducting business with your website can be an important ingredient in the mix to increase conversion rates.

The key phrase is “in the mix.” A trust badge alone isn’t all you need. Quality content, clean design, fast loading speeds and properly addressing the customer’s pain points are all just as – if not more – important.

Still, when casual browsers reach the point of converting to active buyers, a trust badge can be helpful.

While the types of badges are numerous, they all essentially offer consumers the security of dealing with a site that is protecting the information they provide, from emails and phone numbers to (most importantly) credit card numbers.

Or a badge can certify that a business is in good standing with a trusted authority such as the Better Business Bureau.

The cost of trust badges varies, but can be as high as $1,000 per year or more. It’s important to research the various badges available and find the one that best fits your business needs and budget. Otherwise the value of the trust badges could be reduced by the implementation costs.

Data on the Value of Trust Badges

The truth is most consumers bail out before making a purchase online. While the numbers vary across different sites, the number of people who bail on the buying process usually falls between 55% and 77%, according to the Monetize Pros website., which tracks online consumer data, has done a study on the reasons why consumers leave the buying process before making a purchase. The top reason? About 56% said they were presented with an unexpected cost. Another 37% report that they were “just browsing” and 36% said they found a better price somewhere else.

Down the list – but still at a significantly high 17% – were “concerns about payment security.” Thus, we start to see the value of trust badges starting to emerge.

Some of the Most Trusted Badges

The Baymard Institute studies e-commerce issues and has discovered that many consumers don’t think about security until they reach the point where they have to enter credit card information.

They found that landing pages with trust badges were perceived by consumers as being more secure. Those without such badges inspired less confidence, according to the institute’s research. The Baymard Institute also ranked the badges that were most trusted by users.

The rankings were compiled through a survey of 2,510 consumers. They combined both SSL seals (which create an encrypted connection between your server and the customer’s web browser) and trust badges, which certify a certain aspect of the company.

Norton, which is the former, scored the highest, with 36% of the vote.

The top trust badges trusted by consumers were:

  • MacAfee (23% of the vote). This company, which Intel bought in 2011, is billed as the largest Internet security company in the country. Intel plans to rebrand the company as Intel Security.
  • TRUSTe (13.2%). A badge from this San Francisco-based company indicates that the business has self-complied with its own privacy statement and the TRUSTe requirements.
  • BBB (13.2%). This “accredited business” badge indicates that the business is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and that there are no complaints against the business on file.

Testing the Value of Trust Badges

There remains some debate among online marketers about the value of badges. The only true way to know the value of a trust badge is by testing. Accurate data on conversion rates prior to adding the badge and after it is in place can help determine whether it’s worth the cost.

It’s also important to check placement of badges. Some typical places to try out badges include:

  • The bottom of a sign up page. You are asking people to trust you with their information – email addresses and phone numbers, for example – and this can be a good place to make them feel safe about doing that.
  • On the checkout page that requires buyers to give credit card information. This is often the biggest mental hurdle for a potential buyer to leap – giving credit card numbers to your site. A trust badge indicates that the information is safe and that you don’t plan to use it for any other purpose.
  • On the product page itself, ensuring that the price is guaranteed.

Some businesses have reported gains when using trust badges. For example, – an online crafts retailer – reported sales increases of about 5.5% when it added trust badges,. Others have reported a sales drop amid concerns that the badges draw attention to security and cause skittish buyers – who might not have even been thinking about security – to bail out. Thus the value of trust badges must be carefully tested.

Whatever your experience, make sure to go with trusted brands when choosing a badge and test to make sure you are getting the most for your money.