Consumers value an A+ BBB rating on a company’s website more than a 5-star Google rating

by | Sep 25, 2020 | Public Relations

In these increasingly disputable times, brand loyalty begins and ends with trust, as communicators know—but who do consumers trust to determine a brand’s own trustworthiness? Well, consumers do trust Google ratings, and a 5-star rating there is often considered a brand’s ultimate trust confirmation—but new research from digital marketing agency IronMonk Solutions reveals that there is a more respected seal of approval, especially among the most powerful consumer segments.

The firm’s new survey of 2,001 Americans, conducted by Google Surveys, explores the American population’s opinions when it comes to what badge, seal, media feature or award they value the most when seen on a company’s website. The survey asked the following question:

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+ rating on the Better Business Bureau (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

According to the findings of the survey, when asked which rating source, seal, media feature or badge they valued most when it appeared on a company’s website, 27.61 percent of respondents selected an A+ BBB rating. Curiously, when demographic filters were applied to the results focusing specifically on age, the percentage rose at an exponential rate with older demographics: 29.1 percent of 45-to-54-year-olds, 30.4 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds, and an astounding 40.7 percent of those 65+.

Preferences across all age groups:

Americans value an A+ BBB rating on a company's website more than a 5-star Google rating

The next most popular response among 24.6 percent of participants was a 5-star rating on Google Reviews. However, intriguing insight was gained when demographic filters were applied factoring specifically age. Of the survey respondents between 18 and 44 years old, 27.1 percent indicated that they valued a 5-star rating on Google Reviews the most when it appears on a company’s website. The percentage increased further with female respondents, especially those between 18 and 24 years old, at 35.2 percent.

Seeing that those under 45 have essentially grown up with the internet, it comes as little surprise that the younger demographic view this rating source as the principal measure of trustworthiness regarding a company website.

Preferences of those ages 18-44:

Americans value an A+ BBB rating on a company's website more than a 5-star Google rating

“This is one of the most interesting surveys that we’ve conducted so far. The fact that the BBB is valued most, especially with older people, more so than younger ones is very curious,” said Amine Rahal, founder of IronMonk, in a news release.

Of the respondents to the survey, 13.4 percent stated that they got a positive first impression when they saw the “As seen on TV” seal on a company website. Interestingly, males seemed to value this seal more, especially among 18-24-years-olds. Only 12.9 percent of females from the same demographic chose this response.

The “Featured on Forbes” badge was the next popular response, garnering 11.65 percent. Curiously, when demographic filters were applied focusing on males between 25 and 34, the percentage increased to 15 percent, while only 10.2 percent of females from the same cohort indicated that they valued this badge the most on a website.

Breakdown by age:

Americans value an A+ BBB rating on a company's website more than a 5-star Google rating

The overall conclusion of the survey was in this digital age, an excellent first impression is vital for any company. Given the fierce competition, to succeed a company must have a professionally-designed website that includes popular website badges, seals, and rating sources, thus instilling a sense of trustworthiness in consumers.

Read the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter