PPC Management Software for eCommerce: Is It Worth It?

Should you invest in a PPC management software platform? This post will help you decide if these tools are worth it.

When eCommerce businesses want to scale up their pay per click (PPC) campaigns, they may wonder if PPC management software can help.

Companies selling this type of software promise simpler and quicker campaign management, automatic recommendations and bid adjustments, along with savings on hiring costs for PPC consultants.

This begs the question: Are PPC campaign management tools really better than hiring a PPC consultant?

In this post, you’ll get our take (based on 11+ years of running eCommerce PPC) on whether you should use this type of software to manage your PPC campaigns, or if you should invest in hiring a PPC expert instead.

You’ll learn about:

  • What PPC management software tools are and their capabilities
  • The pros, cons, and use cases of these tools
  • How to choose between PPC software and a PPC consultant

Note: Our paid advertising experts would love to learn more about the PPC goals of your eCommerce business. Get in touch.

What Is PPC Management Software?

Businesses use PPC management software to monitor their campaigns and optimize ad spend.

Running campaigns for a large number of SKUs and ad groups across different digital advertising channels can be labor-intensive. When you have 1000s of product ads at once, PPC management software can make it easier to track and optimize your marketing spend across each SKU.

Here is a short introduction to the different PPC channels, most popular PPC management tools for them, and the campaign types they can manage:

Top PPC Advertising Channels

As 3rd party tools, PPC management software is mainly built to integrate with the most widely-used PPC advertising channels:

  • Search engines (Google Ads, Bing Ads, Yahoo Ads)
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram)
  • Online marketplaces (Amazon, Etsy)
  • Remarketing on sites across the web

Popular PPC Management Software Tools

Some of the most well-known brands geared toward automating PPC campaigns on one or several channels are:

Types of PPC Ad Campaigns

PPC channels provide their own varying types of campaigns and ad formats. PPC management software companies build their software around tracking and optimizing for these campaign types:

  1. Search ads campaigns
  2. Product listing ads (like Google Shopping ads)
  3. Display ads
  4. Social ads
  5. Remarketing ads / Retargeting ads
  6. Local service ads
  7. Gmail sponsored promotions

Now that you have the basics in mind, let’s get into comparing these automated PPC tools against the alternative of hiring an experienced expert.

PPC Management Software or a PPC Manager?

One of PPC management software’s biggest appeals is its promise of automation.

With the rise of automation in a variety of digital marketing tools, letting a computer take over the time-consuming parts of running paid ad campaigns can be appealing.

While artificial intelligence (AI) seems like where the world is moving generally, leaning on an AI tool isn’t necessarily the way to go when it comes to running your paid ad campaigns.

For a piece of software to have a place in your company’s tech stack, it should provide a return on its cost. In addition, that software needs to seamlessly integrate with the needs of your business.

AI or not, without the product/market fit, your company will struggle to make that software deliver (when it should be making things easier).

In that case, will software or a consultant be more suited toward:

  • Making quicker optimizations
  • Providing automatic recommendations
  • Scaling ad testing

…based on the particulars of your business?

Based on our experience, for most businesses, an experienced PPC consultant is better.

Why We Recommend a PPC Manager Over PPC Software

To be upfront: We don’t use PPC management software and tend to steer clients away from it.

This is because we still see the best results from human-managed campaigns, and the creativity that goes into them. In reality, PPC management software can’t match the creativity needed to perform effective analysis and create compelling ad creative.

To get the best performance from campaigns, you’re much better off with an experienced analyst. Unlike software, an analyst considers variables ranging from the individual particulars of your business, industry, and competitive landscape, all the way to the current ads, historic performance, best products, and more.

Then, that person is able to create strategic ad placements that also have effective and targeted creative.

This is a lot to ask from an automated tool. If you need to do the analysis and creative work, and you don’t have 1000s of SKUs to advertise, then why do you need the campaign management tool?

A fair question. So, do these software have any good use cases? Let’s look at the pros and cons of using them.

PPC Management Software Pros and Cons

PPC Management Software Pros and Cons (listed below)

Pros:

  • Automated bid management rules: You can set up automated “if this, then that” rules by setting parameters around KPIs like ad spend, campaign spend and CPA. These rules have to be developed by a person, but the management tools can help in automatically adjusting them. However, grown up ad platforms like Facebook and Google already have real time bid adjustment features built in.
  • Friendlier reporting interfaces: This is one big time-saver offered by these tools if you need a certain type of interface beyond the native reporting on the PPC advertising channels.
  • Multivariate A/B testing at scale: Some of these tools are built for bid optimization and budget management at scale (Facebook can’t do 1000s and 1000s of SKUs and campaigns). Good for large enterprises, but an average business or agency won’t need this.

Cons:

  • Questionable results: While it sounds great to hit “play” and let software do your advertising work, we have seen that the results from these campaigns aren’t usually very impressive. To get good results still requires significant human input, strategy, and analysis. Automated rules can be programmed natively into the platforms, if they are on Facebook and Google.
  • Setup requires investment: The ROI of these tools is probably not there when you factor in the cost of the tool, integrating it into your training, and then relying on it to perform well.
  • Features overlap with native PPC channels: As 3rd party tools, they are subject to the whims of the native ad channels which update all the time. When it comes to the biggest channels like Google and Facebook, their platforms have all the features needed to replace external software already built in including automated rules, reporting, and ad testing.

For example: Facebook has multivariate testing internally called Dynamic Ads. Google also has their own machine learning algorithm that can automate Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) by mixing and matching creative, keywords, and copy.

Note: See our recommended Google Ads Automation strategies for eCommerce.

Conclusion: PPC Software or a PPC Expert, Who You Gonna Call?

If you have 1000s of SKUs you want advertised, this type of software could fit well with your needs. If you don’t have that many products, AI can automate things, but it may do so inefficiently.

No business wants to pay subscription or licensing costs for a tool that doesn’t deliver a return on its costs. Unless a tool perfectly fits into your business’s workflow as a natural extension, it could be more work to maintain then the effort it’s worth. This is why AI automation isn’t always the way to go.

On the other hand, we do recommend you use a PPC research tool. Research tools provide a natural extension of what humans can do, in a way that improves the value humans can provide through research.

For example, there are many keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush that provide terms to target with your search ads you don’t see in Google’s Keyword Planner.

For Facebook ads research, a simple 3rd party research tool you can use is Facebook Interest Explorer. This tool will suggest 25 audiences at a time such as your competitors, public figures, books, blogs, and more to help your research process for FB.

Research tools like these can display more information at a time. This cuts the time cross checking keywords and interests to target, and makes your job easier on the research side. Complementing and augmenting, but not replacing the value humans provide in PPC marketing.

Human creativity is the most important factor when it comes to creating campaigns for most ad types on Facebook or Google Ads. AI simply can’t replace it.

To manage your campaigns independently, we recommend that you simply use the internal PPC account management tools already built into these platforms.

If you need to advertise at scale, we recommend that you hire an expert who understands how to both leverage these tools and optimize PPC ads.

Note: Our eCommerce PPC experts are ready to help you meet your advertising goals. Get in touch.

Magento to BigCommerce Migration Guide: How to Replatform Quickly and Painlessly

Are you currently on Magento 1? This guide will make the Magento to BigCommerce migration process a lot easier for you to manage. Read now!

If your store is on Magento 1 or Magento 2, this post will help you:

  • Understand why a migration from Magento 1 to another platform is necessary
  • Decide whether to migrate to BigCommerce or Magento 2
  • Create a migration plan from Magento 1 to BigCommerce

Note: Ready to migrate from Magento 1 or Magento 2? We can help! Learn More.

Why Migrate from Magento 1?

The end of life (EOL) for Magento 1 is June 2020. If you’re still on Magento 1, you need a full migration of your data to another platform to:

  • Secure Your Data Against a Breach

Magento will not release further quality updates and security patches for Magento 1. If you don’t migrate, your store’s data and customer data could become a vulnerable target.

  • Retain Your PCI DSS Compliance

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) require regular security patches applied to your platform. After June 1, 2020, payment card processors that require these standards met (like Visa and Mastercard) may not consider you PCI DSS compliant if you stay on Magento 1.

  • Keep Your Technology Stack Up-to-Date

In addition to security and payment processor compliance, the entire tech stack and digital ecosystem of your business requires current and up-to-date technology for everything to integrate. The global Magento developer community, as well as the marketplace of 3rd party themes, API integrations, and extensions will be focused on Magento 2.

BigCommerce vs Magento 2

When making decisions about their store’s tech stack, merchants tend to base their technology decisions on what can help to scale their business. Both platforms are scalable options, but in very different ways.

Many merchants choose Magento 2 because the open source platform allows for unparalleled flexibility for code changes. Magento 2 can be a great fit for merchants that value near-unlimited customization flexibility.

A BigCommerce store blends much of the customizability of Magento, but with the flexibility of a cloud-based SaaS platform that is easier to set up and manage. That means less development time and cost.

As a metaphor, BigCommerce is like a pre-built structure. You only need to move in your belongings, paint the walls, and decorate. Magento is like buying an empty lot, hiring an architect, and building the structure before moving in and decorating.

Post-migration, BigCommerce’s customizability, integrations, and hosted service make it flexible enough for many merchants to use without running into limitations.

Magento 2 vs Big Commerce: Pros and Cons of both

Magento 2 Pros:

Magento 2 Pros (homepage)

  • Open source framework allows you to change anything (design, development, and customization freedom)
  • Extensive theme, extension, and integration marketplace
  • Large and global community of developers
  • Integration with large marketplaces like Amazon and eBay
  • Scalable
  • Multi-store options (requires some customization)

Magento 2 Cons:

  • With Magento, even a basic store with little to no customization still requires a lot of work from developers to start from scratch
  • Higher development costs long-term for critical updates, security patches, and integrations
  • Magento requires hosting, and extra server capacity for scaling (unless you opt for Magento Commerce Cloud)
  • Difficult to manage for non-technical users
  • Fewer payment gateways out of the box than BigCommerce

Note: Support options on Magento 2 vary depending on which version you choose. Magento 2 Open Source (i.e.: Community Edition) does not include support. Magento 2 Commerce (i.e. Enterprise Edition or Enterprise Cloud Edition) includes support.

BigCommerce Pros:

BigCommerce pros (homepage)

  • Cloud-based so there is no need for separate hosting
  • Lots of integrations and open API makes it easy to develop
  • Easy integration or minimal coding with 3rd party apps
  • BigCommerce integrated security
  • BigCommerce updates automatically
  • Easier to use interface
  • More payment gateways and local currencies accepted out of the box
  • Multi-store options (requires some customization)

BigCommerce Cons:

  • Open API but not open source like Magento 2 Open Source
  • Less SEO support when managing multiple domains/languages
  • Subscription costs

(Note: Magento’s paid enterprise option, Magento 2 Commerce, also has annual subscription costs)

Usually, setting up on the BigCommerce platform requires less time and expense than migrating to Magento 2. When time is a factor and site downtime isn’t convenient, the amount of coding needed with Magento can be a big drawback.

If it’s a good fit for your business, BigCommerce can give your development team the flexibility to work on more impactful projects that improve the customer experience and conversions.

In this BigCommerce SEO case study, we document how we found impactful SEO improvements for a client when they moved to BigCommerce from Magento. That client’s setup on Magento involved a split between their online store and their blog content. This was less than ideal for their SEO, and it added some complexity that we were able to resolve when they wanted to replatform to BigCommerce.

BigCommerce has provided several case studies on their website showing increased ROI, conversion rates, and profitability after stores replatformed to BigCommerce from Magento.

Magento to BigCommerce Migration Case Studies:

"Thompson Tee fits perfectly with new ecommerce platform and experiences a 94% increase in ROI"

Magento has also documented many successful case studies of retailers who migrated from Magento 1 to Magento 2 and saw great results.

Magento 1 to Magento 2 Case Studies:

Magento 1 to Magento 2 Case Studies: "How BMN Bouwmaterialen Boosted B2B Revenue by 159%"

Why Migrate from Magento to BigCommerce?

Our agency assists stores that are hosted on a wide variety of platforms, including Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce (WordPress), and Shopify Plus.

Note: Here is our comparison of Shopify Plus vs Magento.

That said, we believe that many of the businesses on Magento would benefit from migrating to a SaaS platform like BigCommerce.

Ideally, your eCommerce platform should help your business to perform better in the long run and save on costs in the present.

For some stores, Magento 2 is a more costly, complex and development-heavy platform than they need. On the other hand, if there is a very large number of SKUs to manage and ongoing customization is needed, Magento may be a better option. BigCommerce supports pretty large catalogs, but if you start getting beyond 600 SKUs on a single product, Magento is probably a better fit.

For large stores that need an easier-to-manage platform, BigCommerce is a good option. Your store can get up and running quickly because it’s flexible and scalable as an open SaaS platform.

To get even more insight into a Magento to BigCommerce migration, we spoke to 11-year eCommerce veteran and BigCommerce Marketing Competitive Intelligence Manager, Mindy Regnell.

Mindy started her career in eCommerce as a support rep for the largest reseller of Prostores, which was owned by Magento.

After moving to BigCommerce, she worked as part of the data migration team helping customers move over their key customers and product data. During her almost 4 years on the team she worked on several large projects including the end of life for both ProStores and Magento Go.

Before joining the product marketing team, Mindy helped merchants with thousands of different data migrations across 25+ platforms during her career. We’ve collected some of her best advice below for migrating to BigCommerce.

Considerations and Questions to Ask Before a Magento Migration

In general, the shorter your replatforming timeline is, the more flexibility you need. For a large eCommerce store, a data migration and eCommerce website redesign to fit the new platform can take from 3-6 months.

The first step is to prioritize your needs with the answers to these questions:

  1. Will you be creating a brand new site design for a new store, or recreating the same site on a new platform?
  2. What features and functionality are necessary? (If this is intricate you may build out an eCommerce RFP template.)
  3. What are the top platforms that meet your feature/functionality needs? (It’s important to consider all the relevant options for platforms based on your timeline and budget, as well as any needs for customization and extensions.)
  4. What will your migration strategy be once the above is decided? What is the backup plan if the timeline isn’t met? (And what is the backup-backup plan?)
  5. How will you make sure that your website’s SEO authority in Google and its conversion rate are maintained post-migration? (See our eCommerce SEO migration checklist for information on how to do this.)
  6. How will you execute on moving over all your data? The high level strategy for moving data are three general steps signified by the acronym “ETL:”
  • Extract the data from your current platform
  • Transform the data to prepare it for your new platform
  • Load the correctly formatted data via CSV, or using an API / migration tool (which is faster)

Keep in mind: the amount of data you have affects how long the data transfer takes.

Magento to BigCommerce Migration Process and Implementation Strategy

If something goes wrong with data after launching, it can be a big problem. This is why we recommend you start with moving the data and a light site design before anything else.

The overall implementation strategy consists of:

  1. ETL Data Migration and Pre/Post Migration Testing
  2. Set Up Integrations
  3. Develop Your Site’s UX and UI

Here is the full overview of steps for that:

#1: Determine what features and functionality you absolutely need. You can split these into “must-haves” vs “nice to have” vs “dealbreakers.”

#2: Budget your migration in conjunction with that essential list of “must-have” features.

#3: What “must have” changes or features might you need in the future? Ideally you can implement those at the same time as the current migration but if not, put them 2nd on the “must-haves” priority list to develop after migrating.

#4: Create a timeline, and make sure to give yourself a conservative amount of wiggle room on that timeline so that you don’t start the project too late and miss the deadline. You also want to make sure you allow time for testing, and any updates needed after doing that testing.

#5: Outline the implementation tasks between what in-house tasks your team handles and what an outside developer or agency will handle.

#6: Check what plugin API’s and integrations you currently have in place on Magento. Do you need them all with BigCommerce, or does the move make some of them null?

For example, BigCommerce has the following features built in that Magento stores may need as a custom Magento extension:

  • A blog
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Certain payment gateways
  • Checkout options
  • Product categories filtering

#7: Back up everything — you’ll be glad to have it. Map and move your data over.

Note: Check how your images on Magento are backed up on the server (image URL or file) so that you can make sure those important images for all your product pages are backed up.

#8: Execute the core pieces first: Payment gateways, key integrations, and a light site design to get it up and running.

#9: Test the site before launching live.

#10: Launch! Then keep working on the design and 2nd-priority features to add to the initial light version.

Conclusion: Which eCommerce Platform Do You Need?

Rather than a clear winner, both platforms have their uses:

Magento 2:

When you need a highly customizable eCommerce platform, Magento allows for more customization than BigCommerce.

On the other hand, an open-source platform like Magento may be more burdensome for businesses that don’t need unlimited customization.

BigCommerce:

When speed, scalability, and ease-of-use is important, you can quickly integrate your data to BigCommerce and customize their theme to fit your brand.

BigCommerce supports the type of customization that historically required an open source platform. The company’s advancements in APIs and headless commerce allow for a lot more customization than was previously thought possible on a platform that isn’t open source.

At the same time, it doesn’t require as much customization as an open source platform. This is why you can save on development and hosting costs by using BigCommerce.

We hope that makes it easier to choose between these two platforms.

All that being said, there are some other considerations when replatforming besides front- and back-end data: improving SEO and conversion rate.

We know that outside help is often needed for eCommerce businesses to execute on a large replatforming project. If you’re interested in a marketing-focused migration service to improve your technology and revenue, we’d love to help! Learn more here.

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.