New Survey Reveals That Americans Value An A+ BBB Rating More Than a 5 Star Rating on Facebook, Google or Yelp.

At IronMonk, clients often ask us what they can do to improve their online reputation and conversion rates. Our answer has pretty much always been “work on those reviews!” because we always believed that getting tons of five-star ratings on popular review aggregators like Google, Yelp and Facebook was the best thing one can do to ensure a flawless reputation and improve conversion rates.

However, one client recently asked us if spending money on their BBB badge or paying to get a sponsored article published on Forbes was worth it. Now, as a data-driven agency that always believes in numbers, we decided to conduct a survey asking 2,001 Americans what popular website badges, seals, and rating sources gave them a positive first impression when appearing on a company’s website. We used the Google Publisher Network through Google Surveys, and targeted males and females between the ages of 18 and 65+, from coast to coast. We asked the following question with several possible responses:

Which of the following gives you a positive first impression when you see it on a company’s website? (pick the one you value the most)?

  • A+ rated on the BBB
  • 5-Star Rating on Google Reviews
  • As Seen on TV
  • Featured on Forbes
  • 5-Star Rating on Yelp Reviews
  • 5-Star Rating on Facebook Reviews
  • Ranked in the INC 500 or INC 5000

Full link to the survey with filtering and sorting options: https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/f2f5b9e8-3e21-47aa-97d8-bba89ffbe779/page/p7sfB?s=i5wqhUcLkso

Americans Value an A+ BBB Rating The Most, and INC 500 Ranked as The Least Popular Option

None of us expected such a result! Americans value an A+ BBB rating way more than a 5 star Google rating, a Forbes feature or even an INC 500 award. It’s an unexpected result because businesses know how much more difficult it is to get awarded by the INC 500 committee, and yet this huge “achievement” is clearly less valued by the American population than an A+ BBB Rating.

One can only congratulate the BBB for having done such an amazing job at marketing themselves and their “badge” because it clearly left a long-lasting impression in the mind of the American consumer.

PS: We have no affiliation with the BBB, or any of the other companies mentioned in this survey.

Older Americans Value An A+ BBB Rating Even More

Multiple interesting insights were gained when demographic filters were applied to the survey results specifically factoring age. Older survey participants from middle-age to seniors all selected this response as the element that they valued most on a company website, in terms of giving a positive first impression. In fact, the percentage increased with each successive cohort: 29.1% of 45 to 54-year-olds, 30.4% of 55 to 64 year-olds, and an astounding 40.7% of those 65+. Intriguingly, for each of the three demographic cohorts under 45 years old, this response came second – 5-star Google reviews were the most popular response among young people. 

These results are unsurprising, given that for over a century the Better Business Bureau has been a rating source that consumers can rely on to find trusted businesses and organizations. Based upon the survey with regards to online reputation, older American consumers especially value the presence of an A+ BBB when it appears on a company’s website.

Younger Americans Value A 5-Star Rating On Google Reviews More

The younger population didn’t agree with the older one on this survey! In fact, Among survey respondents between 18 and 44 years old, 27.1% stated that they valued a 5-star rating on Google Reviews the most when it appears on a company’s website. Thus, this was the most popular response among survey participants under the age of 45, with regards to creating a positive first impression of a company website.

When gender was also applied to demographic filters targeting specifically females between 18 and 44 years old, the percentage rose further to 31%. More pointedly, when demographic filters focused specifically on females between 18 and 24 yeard old, the percentage soared to 35.2%. Conversely, 27.1% of males from this same age group selected this response.

Taking into account that younger generations have grown up with the internet, it is unsurprising that people under 45 attain a positive first impression from the presence of a 5-star rating on Google Reviews. Based upon the survey results with regards to the online presence of a company, a large number of younger Americans regard this rating source as the primary gauge of trustworthiness. In our digital age, a positive online presence is imperative for the success of any company, especially when it comes to components such as website design and reputation management.

Young Males Between 18 And 24 Value The “As Seen On TV” Seal Most, When It Appears On A Company’s Website

Of the survey respondents, 13.4% of respondents indicated that they most valued the “As Seen on TV” seal to create a positive first impression of a company website.

When demographic filters were applied specifically targeting males, the percentage increased to 14.7%. Curiously, when the focus was placed solely on males between 18 and 24 years old, the percentage soared to 20.3%. On the other hand, only 12.9% of female respondents from the same cohort indicated this response.

Millennial Males Have A Positive First Impression From The “Featured On Forbes” Badge

Another popular badge that created a positive first impression when it appeared on a company’s website was “Featured on Forbes” – with 11.65% of respondents stating that they valued it most for creating a sense of trustworthiness.

Intriguingly, when demographic results were applied targeting Millenial males between 25 and 34, the percentage increased to 15%. However, when demographic filters targeted females from the same cohort, only 10.2% selected this survey response.

Males Between 25 And 34 Years Old Most Value A 5-Star Rating On Yelp Reviews The Most

Another rating source that created a positive first impression if it appeared on a company’s website, was a 5-star Yelp review – 10.6% of survey respondents indicated that they valued this most on a company website.

When demographic filters were applied to the survey results factoring solely males between 25 and 34, the percentage leaped to 15.1%. Curiously, when females from the same age bracket were specifically targeted, the percentage dropped to 10.1%.

Females Between 25 And 34 Years Old Value A 5-Star Rating On Facebook Reviews The Most

The penultimate survey response garnering only 7.52% of responses, was the presence of a 5-star rating on Facebook reviews if it appeared on a company’s website.

However, when demographic filters were applied to focus solely on females between 25 and 34, the percentage increased to 11.8%. Curiously, this was the third most popular response amongst this cohort.

Middle-Aged Males Value The “Ranked In Inc 500” Or “Inc 5000” Badge The Most

Lastly, only 4.62% of respondents indicated that seeing the “Ranked on Inc 500”, or “Inc 5000” badge on a company website created a positive first impression.

Yet, when demographic filters were applied targeting middle-aged males between 45 and 55, the percentage increased to 6.7%. In fact, amongst all respondents from this age bracket, 6.2% stated that they valued this badge the most on a website to create a positive first impression.

Conclusion

In our digital age, having an excellent online presence is crucial for any company, irrespective of the industry. Moreover, possessing an exceptionally designed, professional website is imperative for a company to create legitimacy and instill a sense of trustworthiness in consumers. By including popular website badges, seals, and rating sources on a company website, this further increases the likelihood of creating a positive first impression. Based on the results of this survey, the A+ BBB badge on a company website is valued the most, especially by American consumers 45 and older. Amongst young Americans between 18 and 44 years old, a 5-star rating on Google Reviews is valued the most when it appears on a company’s website. Considering its importance, businesses should consider things such as company online presence analysis and auditing services to evaluate areas that may require attention when developing a digital marketing strategy.

Link to full survey with filtering options: https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/f2f5b9e8-3e21-47aa-97d8-bba89ffbe779/page/p7sfB?s=i5wqhUcLkso

Details About The Study And RMS Score

Sampling

Audience: Users on websites in the Google Surveys Publisher Network

Method: Representative

Age: All Ages

Gender: All Genders

Location: United States

Language: English

Frequency: Once

Root mean square error (RMSE) is a weighted average of the difference between the predicted population sample (CPS) and the actual sample (Google). The lower the number, the smaller the overall sample bias.

The full study is embedded below through an iframe. If you cannot see it properly, please visit this link: https://datastudio.google.com/reporting/f2f5b9e8-3e21-47aa-97d8-bba89ffbe779/page/p7sfB?s=i5wqhUcLkso

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