“We don’t act when we don’t trust you”

We are a suspicious species. Therefore trust is a very important factor when it comes to online persuasion. Corritore et. al (2003) define online trust as follows: “an attitude of confident expectation in an online situation of risk that one’s vulnerabilities will not be exploited”.

So if we’re confident that our vulnerabilities will not be exploited, we’re more likely to act.

Scientific Review:

Beldad, The Young & Steehouder (2010) did a meta analysis and identified the following key elements that increase online trust:

  1. Perceived ease of use of the website
    When a website is easy to use we trust it more.
  2. Information quality
    We’re likely to trust websites that are free from errors and contain accurate, current and complete information
  3. Graphical characteristics
    A websites’ Look & Feel can augment our feelings of trustworthiness (e.g. colors of low brightness are perceived as more trustworthy than bright colors)
  4. Social presence cues
    The perceived presence of ‘others’ increases online trust (be aware: photos of people usually do nothing for online trust!)
  5. Customization and personalization capacity
    When we can adjust products to our preferences, our trust increases
  6. Privacy assurances and security features
    The mere presence of a privacy policy and secure connections are enough to make us trust a website
  7. Third party guarantees
    Especially when we visit a website for the first time, third-party guarantees can bolster our trust


Online Persuasion tips:

Increase your customers’ trust in you by creating a website or app that:


  • Is very easy to use
  • Has perfect quality content
  • Looks & feels solid
  • Shows the presence of others (e.g. FaceBook likes)
  • Allows for customization
  • Is secure
  • And uses 3rd party trust logo’s


A/B Test:

HP-Group, a digital marketing agency tested trust for their client  Express Watches (a UK based online retailer of Seiko watches). To ensure that customers trusted the originality of their Seiko watches, HP-Group placed a trust logo. It more than doubled the conversion!

Trust-logos a/b tested

Trust-logos a/b tested

Further reading on Trust: