Case Study: We Tested an eCommerce Trust Badge That Got More Checkout Conversions Than Norton and McAfee

The best trust badge for eCommerce is…

We’ve continually tested various trust badges from several 3rd party brands for over a decade as part of our analysis of eCommerce websites.

The two badges that performed the best in our 2018 tests were Norton and McAfee. But in this post, we’ll reveal a brand that achieved a conversion lift above Norton and McAfee in our 2019 testing of trust badges.

Which leads to the question:

What Is the Best Trust Badge for eCommerce?

This year, we tested Norton and McAfee trustmarks against TrustedSite on a handful of our clients’ large-scale eCommerce websites. Those tests repeatedly concluded that TrustedSite was the trustmark most likely to lift conversions on those websites.

While website security badges aren’t the only factor when it comes to trust, (or SEO, or sales) we have seen the conversion rate on our clients’ eCommerce websites improve when a trustmark is present through the customer’s journey on the site. In other words, it’s important to display the trustmark on each webpage — including the homepage, any landing page, the shopping cart, and checkout.

While our tests got the best result from displaying the TrustedSite mark, every website is unique. This same result may not necessarily occur on a different website due to various brand and audience factors. We recommend that every online store add a secure trust badge like TrustedSite to see what happens and test it against other badges.

Note: We’re experts at testing for small adjustments that can increase conversion rates on your eCommerce website. Get in touch with our conversion experts here.

Background: Our 2018 Comparison of Trust Badges

In 2018, we tested a full set of widely-used trust badges on our clients’ eCommerce websites. 

These tests were for 3rd-party “security” types of trust badges rather than icons representing things like a money back guarantee or payment badges (such as credit cards, PayPal, or Amazon).

The logos we tested included:

  • McAfee SECURE
  • Norton Secure
  • Authorize.net
  • TrustGuard
  • Trustwave
  • GeoTrust
  • BizRate
  • BBB (Better Business Bureau)

What we learned: In those tests, we found that several of these widely-used security badges lowered conversions, while some didn’t affect conversions at all. Meanwhile, the “McAfee SECURE” and “Norton Secured” trust badges conclusively increased sales for our clients’ websites.

Once we found that the McAfee and Norton trust logos were the most likely to increase conversions for our clients, we wanted to narrow it down even further to one brand or the other.

McAfee vs Norton

In our tests of McAfee vs. Norton trust badges, McAfee’s trust badge was more likely to increase conversions than Norton’s each time…at least for now.

“Trust” is something that we recommend eCommerce stores work on continuously. What works to build trust today may not work as well later on. The only proof to find out is through testing. 

What does this mean in the context of displaying trust badges? Once time passes, it’s time to re-test them and see which trust badges work best.

McAfee vs Norton vs TrustedSite

With this in mind, we tested the Norton and McAfee security logos against TrustedSite. This test made sense as the two best-performing logos we’d tested against a badge we hadn’t yet tested them against.

About these companies: TrustedSite has operated the McAfee SECURE brand since 2013. At the same time, TrustedSite offers certification services and website trust seals under its own brand. Meanwhile, Symantec is the parent company of Norton Secured (and of Digicert, under which Norton Secured is offered).

On the four enterprise eCommerce websites we tested these seals on, TrustedSite repeatedly displayed a conversion lift when pitted against Norton and/or McAfee.

Below are the results of the four tests, followed by a summary of what this testing has taught us about “trust” as it applies to eCommerce today.

Test 1: Freeze Dried Food eCommerce Website

For this test and the other websites we tested, a constant was the TrustedSite seal’s placement floating in the bottom left of the website’s pages. The trust badges appeared on: the homepage, category pages, product pages, the cart page, as well as on the checkout payment step.

For MountainHouse.com, the TrustedSite badge was also displayed on mobile as a sticky floating security badge.

Mountain House's homepage has a TrustedSite security badge on the bottom left.

MountainHouse.com was a unique case where we had tested McAfee previously but it was never implemented. This new test was TrustedSite vs. no badge at all.

Results: The TrustedSite badge gave a 38.77% lift to conversion rate* at 99% confidence.

*Note: Controlled test results can sometimes slant dramatically. Conservatively, we may see a 25% lift to conversion rate in real life with the 38.77% lift to conversion rate in this test.

The tests below compare TrustedSite to McAfee and/or Norton.

Test No. 2: Burt’s Bees eCommerce Website

This test was exclusive to McAfee vs. TrustedSite because our control was an existing McAfee trust badge. The full test consisted of:

  • Control: Existing McAfee badges
  • Variation 1: Replace all existing McAfee badges with TrustedSite badges
  • Variation 2: No floating badges, replace cart and checkout badges with TrustedSite badges
  • Variation 3: No trust badges

Burt's Bees saw an increase in conversions by switching their trust seal to TrustedSite.

Results: Variation 1 was the winner: replacing all existing McAfee badges with the TrustedSite badge resulted in an increase to the conversion rate of 8.72% at 93% confidence.

Takeaway: All the TrustedSite variations outperformed the control. Plus, all variations using trust badges, TrustedSite and McAfee, outperformed variations that had no trust badges.

We can say with confidence that for Burtsbees.com, visitors prefer to see a trust badge and TrustedSite instills more trust in this audience than McAfee.

Test No. 3: Auto Accessories eCommerce Website

Carcovers.com had previously tested Norton vs McAfee on their website. Norton got more conversions than McAfee in the past test. This new test for CarCovers.com compared TrustedSite vs Norton.

Car Covers saw an increase in conversions by switching their trust seal to TrustedSite.

Results: TrustedSite won 2.6% increase to conversion rate at 80% confidence.

Calculations shown for the 2.6% increase to conversion rate at 80% confidence.

Takeaway: Even a small increase in your conversion rate can yield a great ROI from the testing required to get it implemented. While it could seem like a minute change, testing something as small as a trust badge and getting that 2.6% increase assists the bottom line for any business.

Test No. 4: Identity Protection eCommerce Website

Out of these tests, the audience for IDShield.com may very well be the most discerning when it comes to online trust.

The reason being: ID Shield is an identity protection service, and most of their potential customers would be concerned about their online security.

ID Shield saw an increase in conversions by switching their trust seal to TrustedSite.

Results: For IDShield.com, TrustedSite won against McAfee with an increase to conversion of 50.5% at 95% confidence.

Calculations shown for the conversion of 50.5% at 95% confidence.

Takeaway: It can be hard to attribute why one site’s visitors might prefer to see a TrustedSite badge over McAfee. However, through testing, we can confirm with confidence that this is the case for this particular audience at this point in time.

Why Trust Badges Are Still Important for eCommerce

There are four major takeaways we’ve learned about the world of trust:

  1. Consumers prefer to buy from brands they trust.
  2. “Trust” is about more than online security and personal information.
  3. Different trust badges have different levels of consumer trust.
  4. The best trust badge for eCommerce is revealed through testing.

1. Consumers Prefer to Buy From Brands They Trust

The advancement and availability of creating an eCommerce business has dramatically increased, causing consumers to be exponentially inundated with more offers, emails, and websites that they have no familiarity with.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest corporations are involved in widely-publicized data breaches of their customers’ personal information on a regular basis.

Trust concerns today are about the visitor’s experience and point of view, not just about the brand and its level of establishment with the visitor.

Take Burt’s Bees for example — a large, well-known brand that saw a significant increase in conversions when displaying trustmarks. Brands tend to speak to the level of product trust, not necessarily the online purchase experience on their eCommerce store.

Thus, consumer’s sensitivity around ensuring a site and transaction can be trusted has made the presence of trustmarks more important.

2. “Trust” Is About More Than Online Security and Personal Information

Risks have shifted. What used to be concerns around site security alone, has now moved into eCommerce performance, scam avoidance, business practices, shipping fulfillment, and protection of customer data.

Trust expands from security into:

  • Business trust
  • Product trust
  • Order fulfillment
  • Identity protection

Based on the test results and performance we’ve seen, there is still a very real need for trust badges, particularly badges that address multiple areas of business trust in addition to security.

For example, the TrustedSite system of trustmarks addresses both security (scans for malware, viruses, and valid SSL certificates) and trust concerns (verified business information, shopper identity protection, and issue-free orders). A comprehensive trustmark like this is intended to put consumers at ease throughout every step of the online shopping experience.

3. Different Trust Badges Have Different Levels of Consumer Trust

Our tests have shown us that even if security isn’t top-of-mind when customers are about to enter their credit card information on the checkout page, it’s at least back-of-mind

We know this because:

  • The conversion rate was lower in control tests we ran on eCommerce sites without a trust badge displayed.
  • Trust badges from lesser-known online security brands can lower conversion rates.
  • Trust badges from brands with more widespread recognition are the most likely to increase conversions.

Testing is the ultimate proof of customer concerns. Our recommendation is that sites should be open to testing more well-known and widely used trust badges like TrustedSite, McAfee, and Norton because consumers are more familiar with them and their protection.

4. The Best Trust Badge for an eCommerce Website Is Revealed Through Testing

The tricky thing about “trust” is that it takes shape differently for every eCommerce brand and audience. In comparing trust badges, we’ve learned that different badges vary in their effect on eCommerce conversion rates.

There are multiple factors at play. In addition to the actual logo graphic and messaging the audience sees, the eCommerce brand, its website, and the audience all interact as factors.

Building toward more audience trust is something we learn about and work on continuously by necessity because every website and brand is unique. So the biggest caveat we can give is to run a test on your own website rather than assume you’ll get a similar result to another site’s test.

Test These Badges on Your Own Site

If your business has the means, we recommend starting a test with well-known and trusted brands like Norton, McAfee, and TrustedSite against a control test of no badge at all.

The control test is important: We have conducted tests where a trustmark seemed to raise online shoppers’ security concerns.

You may also consider including more specialized trustmarks that are relevant to your particular industry alongside these general marks.

Note: We can find small changes that lead to big results on your website. Contact our conversion optimization team here.

How Denver Increased Engagement for Ad Visitors

With the launch of their “always on” regional “Reclaim the Weekend” ad campaign, VISIT DENVER faced the challenge of how to keep their main landing page relevant. The regional effort, which promotes visiting Denver for a long weekend, targets a wide variety of personas that change monthly. Instead of creating multiple new landing pages every… Read More

The post How Denver Increased Engagement for Ad Visitors appeared first on Bound.

With the launch of their “always on” regional “Reclaim the Weekend” ad campaign, VISIT DENVER faced the challenge of how to keep their main landing page relevant. The regional effort, which promotes visiting Denver for a long weekend, targets a wide variety of personas that change monthly. Instead of creating multiple new landing pages every month, VISIT DENVER used personalization with Bound to match the hero slideshow content to the appropriate persona.

VISIT DENVER developed and rolled out three waves of ad personalization within their first year with Bound:

Wave 1

The first step was to personalize the slideshow for visitors coming to the landing page directly from the ad. This involved not only showing the appropriate group of slides but also starting the slideshow with the content targeted to that persona. While these visitors only had a 4% increase in clicks specifically on their persona-targeted slides, overall page engagement was significantly increased. Compared to other visitors, the ad persona segments had a 53% increase in visit duration and a 45% decrease in bounce rate when entering the site through the Reclaim the Weekend landing page.

Wave 2

The second step was to use Bound’s Media Optimizer tool to personalize the slideshow for visitors who were exposed to the ad. The pixeling capabilities of Media Optimizer allowed Denver to target Reclaim page visitors who had seen, but hadn’t clicked on the ad, as well as visitors who came back to the site after their specific persona campaign ended. Not only did these pixeled visitors have great page engagement, but they also had a 100% increase in clickthrough rates on the slideshow and were 28% more likely to click specifically on the persona-targeted slides. With this information, Denver had the data needed to show that visitors were still interested in persona-specific content even if they had not clicked on the ad. 

Wave 3

The third step was to build on the learnings from the first two phases of personalization and launch a fly-in campaign. The fly-in targeted visitors exposed to the persona who had never clicked on the ad or otherwise reached the Reclaim page. Using the fly-in, Denver was able to successfully direct 2% of these visitors to the page and continued to increase website engagement. Visitors exposed to the persona fly-in had a further 23% increase in visit duration and 18% decrease in bounce rate.

By identifying visitor interests based on ads, even if those visitors never directly engaged with the ad, Denver has been able to increase views on their key ad landing page and continually increase their landing page engagement. This has increased overall site performance and has allowed Denver to optimize the experience for these high-value website visitors. 

Want to learn more about personalizing for your targeted ad visitors? 

The post How Denver Increased Engagement for Ad Visitors appeared first on Bound.

Our Winning PPC Strategy for eCommerce: How We Increased Google Ads ROAS by 76%

Increase your PPC ROAS and spend less on ads with the strategies in this eCommerce PPC case study.

In our conversations with hundreds of eCommerce business owners, many have told us that their Google ads (formerly Google Adwords) campaigns aren’t performing as well as they originally thought they would, and could be working more efficiently for a lesser cost.

When setting up their PPC advertising strategy, many of these eCommerce stores assume that setting up their feed and launching one Shopping campaign containing all of their products is all that it takes to create a profit.

They are disappointed and sometimes mystified that their ads don’t drive a good return and the work that went in setting them up was wasted.

That’s when I explain that if managed correctly and implemented by pros, Google Ads can actually be a great revenue driver that will grow your business… But it takes more than just keywords and ad creative.

Background:

This is exactly what one of our clients in the camera equipment niche came to us with. Unfortunately, the agency they had been working with prior to us hadn’t been doing a great job on their Google PPC.

After we took over their PPC efforts, between Feb 1st, 2019 – August 31st, 2019, we got them a 76% increase in ROAS, from 5.61x to 9.89x, compared to July 1, 2018 – Jan. 31, 2019 when they had been working with the other agency:

Google analytics: 76% increase in ROAS, from 5.61x to 9.89x.

Year-over-year, we got them a 56% increase in ROAS from 6.34x to 9.89x:

Google analytics: 56% increase in ROAS from 6.34x to 9.89x.
You can see a breakdown of the Google Ads strategies that we use for our clients in this linked article. 

In this case study, we’d like to demystify the actual work involved and the combination of eCommerce PPC marketing strategies that we used to get results for this online store.

You’ll see:

  • The Google Ads Strategies We Implemented for a 9.89x ROAS
  • Our Tiered Bidding Strategy: Implementation and Best Practices
  • Other Shopping and Search Ad Best Practices We Recommend to Reduce Spend

As eCommerce growth experts, our clients include not only 7 and 8-figure businesses, but 9-figure annual revenue eCommerce companies as well. Talk to us today to see if we can help you optimize your eCommerce brand’s paid search, SEO, and conversion rates.

1. The eCommerce PPC Strategies We Implemented for a 9.89x ROAS

While every client presents unique aspects of their business and different challenges, we’ve learned through working with hundreds of clients about how important it is to follow a system in order to create results, which is what we did.

Audit and Analysis

When we begin running PPC for eCommerce sites, the first thing we do is audit the client’s product feed, campaigns, and other performance indicators to see what is working and what is causing issues.

This site had high search volume and a very extensive product catalog of cameras, lenses, and other camera-related equipment. Due to the store’s scale, we discovered that there were problems like incomplete/missing information about products in their Google product data feed. Their current PPC campaigns were also too broad given the different product categories on the site, which created wasted spend.

The work we determined would increase ROAS for this client included:

  • Product data feed setup and optimization
  • A Google Shopping campaign restructure
  • A Google Search ad campaign restructure
  • Google Display ad optimizations
  • Implementing the campaigns that worked in Google to Bing Ads

By optimizing each of the above, we positioned our client’s products in a way that encapsulates the customer’s entire buying journey. This resulted in less spend per click and more sales.

Here’s How It Worked:

Product Feed Setup and Feed Optimization

The product feed contains your products and their related information including: product category, brands, quantities, sizes, colors, materials, etc.

Google Shopping Ads and Display Ads are based on information that Google pulls directly from your store’s Product Feed:

Google shopping ads and Google search ads (results for "washing machines")
(An example of Google Shopping Ads and Search Ads)

This is why optimizing the Google Product Feed is so important.

For this client in the camera equipment niche, that meant making sure that information like the camera brands, their lens sizes, and so on were all present, accurate, and easily found by Google.

The site had huge potential to be shown for many different specific product queries, but Google wasn’t able to match those search queries to the product in this store’s catalog.

Fixing this meant that now when somebody searched Google for a product in our client’s catalog, such as a specific camera lens model, our client’s product was more likely to appear right there as a Shopping ad. (We optimized the product feed in a tool called Feedonomics).

Shopping Campaign and Search Ad Campaign Restructures

A mixture of Google Shopping ads, Google Search ads, and Google Display ads is beneficial to most big online retailers.

Implementing all three often leads to enhanced product visibility across the buyer’s entire journey, from research through to purchase.

With the product feed optimized, we began restructuring the client’s search and shopping structures.

This particular industry has high search volume which makes it easier to gain traffic, but also harder to figure out the specific combination of search queries that drive the highest return.

So because of this, we created separate multiple tiered campaigns segmented by product type—creating different tiers for different product categories. In this case, a lens tier, digital camera tier, video camera tier, film camera tier, etc.

Display Ad Optimizations

Products ads that follow customers around the web might seem annoying on first glance, but in fact, retargeting ads do convert very well and have a great ROI. Why? Because they get customers at the end of the buying cycle (once they’ve already visited the store and looked at products).

People were visiting our client’s store, but they weren’t being remarketed to. The dynamic remarketing feature from Google Shopping enabled us to automatically show ads to people who came to the client’s site without completing a purchase.

Dynamic remarketing makes use of your product feed to determine what products Google displays on its ad network. It can intelligently group different products together based on what’s likely to convert best.

An example of a dynamic retargeting ad:

A dynamic retargeting ad

Using dynamic remarketing is a fairly straightforward strategy to skyrocket eCommerce performance, and we believe it’s a must for any online retailer.

Bing Account Changes

Once we saw what was working in Google, we began transferring the Google Ads changes to attempt replicating their success in Bing Ads.

While Bing has a far lower search engine market share (2.63% as of this article’s writing), we’ve found that what works well in Google Ads can often work in Bing Ads (now called Microsoft Advertising). Why not duplicate the strategies that work in Google to capture shoppers from another search engine?

2. Our Tiered Bidding Strategy: Implementation and Best Practices

When it comes to any PPC campaign, patience and being willing to adjust along the way are important. You’ll determine the highest return queries and adjust your bids to prioritize them as an ongoing process.

In this case, we identified the highest return search queries based on this store’s different product categories, and created a tiered campaign for each category.

Here’s a visual representation of that tiered strategy. The search queries each tier drives are based on negative keywords, and we created multiple tiered campaigns for each product category:

Tier 1: High priority, low bid, catch all; Tier 2: Medium priority, medium bid, higher ROAS; Tier 3: Low priority, highest bid, highest ROAS.

The Basic Steps to Establish Your Tiers

  1. Run Search Query Reports: Look at historical performance in Google Analytics by running search query reports, going back 6 months (or longer). Identify the queries or query combinations that have driven the highest revenue or ROAS in the past.
  2. Filter those queries in Google Analytics to see if they have a high churn or not. Decide which high return queries you want to filter into Tier 2 or 3.
  3. Mark any interesting patterns. For example, we saw a pattern of queries containing certain modifiers that tended to convert well, and we made sure to figure out the revenue and ROAS for those terms.
  4. Keep building it out on a spreadsheet to organize what you find. Organize those patterns to create the list containing the search query, revenue, and ROAS numbers.
  5. Segment the tiers according to the revenue and ROAS numbers: We optimized Google Shopping campaigns through the use of priority settings, bid stacking and negative keywords.

    The basic premise is to apply low, medium, and high bids on search terms with low, medium, and high returns. Thus optimizing the cost-per-click (CPC).

Conversely, we apply high, medium, and low priority levels to low, medium, and high bids/returns. For context, the priority setting determines the order in which Google will cycle through the campaigns. High priority literally means Google takes this campaign into account first because it will be Google’s highest priority.

To Illustrate:

Tier 1: We placed low bids on our catch-all campaign that drives all general queries. We added negative terms to avoid targeting queries that we wanted to bid higher on in the other tiers. Set to a high priority setting.

Tier 2: We placed medium bids on search queries we found to have a higher return than those in tier 1, but lower return than the queries we want to filter to tier 3.

As in tier 1, we added negative keywords for the queries we wanted to filter to tier 3. This tier was set to a medium priority setting.

Tier 3: Knowing what the most profitable search queries are, we place the highest bids on them. This tier was set to a low priority setting.

The tiered system works because in recognizing the performance of a store’s different relevant search queries, you can have much more control over how much ad spend is allocated to each query.

3. Other Shopping and Search Ad Best Practices to Reduce Spend

  • Always send the best performing / highest return queries to tier 3. By identifying the highest return queries, we are able to ensure less wasted spend by spending the least amount of money on low return queries and allocating the largest percentage of money to terms we are positive will actually drive a high return.

  • Use negative targeting. Negative keyword segmentation in a tiered system allows us to pay less ad spend for lower returning queries.

  • Optimize by device. After the tiers had run for enough time and gathered significant data, we analyzed performance by device to ensure no wasted spend.

  • Cut wasted spend on the least performing hours / days of the week. After gathering significant data, we ran a time of day analysis to ensure we were optimizing for our best performing days and hours.

  • Launch Search Competitor campaigns alongside your own search ads to target the competition (rest assured, they are likely doing this too).

  • Optimize by demographics We ran demographic based analyses for age, gender & household incomes then implemented bid adjustments accordingly.

  • Optimize your display ads to capture who they retarget. In addition to optimizing their bids and budget, it’s important to update the ad copy to better target users at different stages in the buying funnel. For example, newer users require more brand focused CTAs, while previous purchasers do not. We also started testing new ad features from Google such as Smart Display ads. We often test Google’s new features for our clients because we’ve seen that being one of the first to use new ad features is a competitive advantage (because competitors may be slow to adopt new features).

Takeaways

PPC is a dynamic advertising practice—meaning that management is ongoing—it’s not a “set it and forget it” platform.

Results

Adjusting our PPC strategy allowed us to achieve a year-over-year 56% increase in ROAS from 6.34x to 9.89x.

PPC Strategy for eCommerce: Within Google analytics, you can see their increase in ROAS from 6.34x to 9.89x.

When Inflow took over, their PPC strategy greatly increased, causing a major ROAS!

I hope this case study helped paint a picture of how a Google Ads strategy based on a systematic review and restructuring can quickly yield a higher ROAS.

eCommerce brands who work with us receive a tailored set of strategies like these to maximize their Google ads campaign budgets.

If you would like us to evaluate and improve your online store’s PPC campaigns or identify additional growth opportunities, please get in touch with us today to see if we can help.