Do Shoppers Trust Your Content? Find Out How Your Typeface Decides!

Building trust is critically important to making visitors fill their carts. No doubt, you’ve already tried to inspire confidence by creating professional-looking pages, posting positive reviews and gathering other trust signals that reassure online shoppers. No matter how hard you’ve worked to tweak every factor, there may be one you’ve overlooked.

An experiment performed through the New York Times by Journalist Errol Morris found that font plays a role in how honest or accurate readers consider information to be. The data didn’t reflect minor differences either—certain fonts were substantially more trustworthy than others. You may be surprised to find out which one was the most trustworthy, though I expect you’ll see the least trustworthy coming from a mile away.

Test Subjects Reveal More than they Realize

The test was administered in a very crafty way:
Readers were asked to respond to a survey and about their sense of optimism by rating the accuracy of various statements. Respondents only rated the authenticity of information they were given, unaware that the surveys provided to each person were in one of six different fonts, and that was the data actually being measured.

There were almost 50,000 different responses, giving those collecting and analyzing the results more than enough data to work with. That data revealed that font plays a heavy role in whether readers trusted the information. These are the six that were sampled for the survey. Can you guess which one they trusted the most?

Comic Sans
Computer Modern

And the winner is… Baskerville!

That’s right, that old standard is the one readers trust more than any other. It was followed by Computer Modern, Georgia, Trebuchet and Helvetica. As you’ve probably already guessed, the much-maligned comic sans was the least trusted and the made readers nearly hostile to the information presented to them.

Lessons to take to Your Product Page

So, is that the end of discussion? Time to call in the designers and declare eternal allegiance to Baskerville? No, probably not.

The sample presented here doesn’t even test many of the common fonts that the legions of store owners have found to work great in their own testing. What this experiment does tell you is that split-testing your copy has the potential to make a HUGE difference.

You can begin experimenting today by testing pages with different fonts and comparing them against each other. If your results are even remotely as dramatic as those in this survey, you could see some serious improvement in conversions. Let us know how it goes!

This article was written by Chris Gragert from Magistrate (
The Magistrate: Cutting-edge marketing services for e-commerce and agencies.